photo of Debbie AugenthalerDebbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC

Debbie is a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. Her husband, Jim, died suddenly in her arms when she was only 36 years old. He had been healthy and vibrant – the doctors compared the probability of his death by heart attack to being struck by lightning. That lightning strike ended her life as she knew it and thus began the “baptism by fire” that brought her to her new future.

Debbie’s award-winning book, You Are Not Alone, is the book she wishes she’d had when she was grieving, and is glad to have now to offer clients experiencing life-altering losses. With the connection of a shared experience, Debbie guides the reader through grief to transformation and a new beginning. You Are Not Alone is the 2018 Winner of the Foreword INDIES 2018 Book Awards, Grief/Grieving, and an Award Finalist in Health: Psychology/Mental Health for the 2019 International Book Awards.

As a psychotherapist specializing in trauma, grief, and loss, Debbie’s clinical training is steeped in Western traditions of healing. Interweaving the knowledge gained from her graduate studies, clinical training, working with many clients, and her life experiences has made her very curious and interested in how people have been dealing with grief and loss since the beginning of time. She has been on a wonderful journey of studying Eastern philosophy, energy healing, and exploring spiritual practices from cultures around the world, learning about the wisdom of the ages and the many different ways people have ritualized grief and healing. Ancient healing traditions incorporate the connection to that which is beyond our physical world, the connection to spirit, to earth, to all that is. To Love. She is building a bridge between the two traditions, using time-honored practices to inform her work with clients.

Debbie helps normalize common feelings and experiences for people who are grieving, and holds space for each of us to experience grief in our own way and time, because grief is not linear. There are many gifts that accompany loss, including spiritual awakenings, discovering the connection with forever love, developing deep compassion, and grateful appreciation for the blessings along the way from grief to healing to transformation and joy. Debbie has walked this path throughout her life and wants to help you on your path from grief to joy.

I believe we are all connected. No one should feel alone in their grief, their sorrow, their hope, their healing, their transformation.

Debbie has an MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. She completed a two year post graduate Advanced Trauma Studies program from the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and is trained in various modalities that inform a holistically based practice including EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Energy Psychology, and Hypnosis.

In 2012 she received the NYU Steinhardt Award for Outstanding Clinical Service.

Debbie speaks regularly in the New York area, and is available to give workshops, trainings and talks to professionals, grief support groups, and books groups around the country. To book Debbie, please visit her Workshops & Talks page.

She has also been featured in numerous interviews, articles, and podcasts. Visit her Press Page to learn more.

Instagram post 17844657631841014 ⁠
The holidays are approaching, and it feels like the first time without Jim. Last year they started just weeks after he died, when I was still in shock. I decide to spend Thanksgiving at a retreat in the woods of California to gather my strength for Christmas.⁠
Among the tall ponderosa pines and the crisp northern California air and the Milky Way vastness sparkling overhead I meet her—an intuitive healer at the retreat center. I know I must schedule an appointment with her when I first see her glide across the green grass as if she isn’t from Earth. Twenty minutes into our time together I know why. Her soft hand gently reaches for mine when the tremors of grief and the tears distract me from her dark, penetrating eyes. She whispers words of wisdom and knowing to the part of me waiting for permission—something I didn’t know I was seeking. But she knew. Her long, black hair brushes against my arm as she comes to sit by my side. Her arm is now around me, my head guided to rest on her shoulder as my own shoulders shake and I sob. She gives me the gift of permission to be exactly where I am right now with my grief.⁠
She tells me I need time to cocoon. She calls me “dear” and tells me to take as long as I need. My weary, wet eyes look into her strong, dry ones when she tells me I will emerge from this experience not just a survivor, but stronger, brighter, and more beautiful than ever—like a butterfly. She promises me this, and her knowing of the future helps me hold onto the hope this is possible, even if I can’t see what she sees.⁠
Before her comforting words I felt like I was failing a societal rulebook for grieving, like I was supposed to be stronger. I had to be reminded that real strength grows out of weakness. Her gentle wisdom gives me permission to be okay with my feelings. I am still in need of tremendous healing. I am tender, vulnerable, and raw. And this is okay.⁠
After her words, my shoulders straighten a little. I feel a gentle tingling as hope pulls like a thin thread on my dormant wings.⁠
She is one of my angels.⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
Instagram post 17864342707538221 I knew how important it was to Jim to be an organ donor, and it gave me some solace. I never asked the doctors what he donated. All I knew was, because he had died �immediately, it couldn’t be his heart or major organs. However, within a couple of months I started receiving letters in the mail from various organizations thanking him for being a donor and what was donated. They thought his family would like to know who and how he helped others after he died. Every time I opened the mailbox and opened a letter of gratitude, I’d feel a fresh punch to my stomach and cry. But then I’d read it again and take comfort in knowing how many people he helped because of his generosity. The letters were a mixed blessing.⁠
If you’re so inclined, become an organ donor. Let your loved ones know your wishes. It’s a beautiful gift to someone whose life will be forever changed.⁠
Here is the link to the National Organ Registry: www.organdonor.gov⁠
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🦋 #grieftogratitude
Instagram post 18037145404218211 Did you experience your own premonitions about losing the one you love before they died? Perhaps you did, and perhaps, like me, you pushed them away.  It helps to talk about this, especially if you have a running commentary going through your mind like I did. The “why didn’t I do this or that” kind of inner talk that can make your grieving even more painful than it already is. Or you may not have had any premonitions, and that’s okay, too. Remember: there is nothing we can do to change someone else’s destiny, no matter how desperately we wish we could.�⁠
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I write about this in my book, You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope. There are many aspects of grief that are often not talked about. I encourage you to find someone you trust to listen to you and to help you through this difficult time.⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
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Purchase the book 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
LINK is in our profile.
Instagram post 17858711725567443 When you have trouble facing reality and are straddling the two worlds—the Before and the After—you cling to the Before, not ready to move into the After. It is overwhelming to face the reality of what’s happened. The liminal space. Often, when in this space, things happen that are magical and mystical. Let small miracles help guide and comfort you as you adjust to a new reality.⁠
Countless people have experienced and found solace in it. Many people talk about being visited by their loved ones. My grandmother always talked about my grandfather visiting her the night after he died. She woke up and he was standing at the foot of her bed to let her know he was okay. No one ever questioned this. There are innumerable stories about visitations, either ones like my grandmother described or powerful visitation dreams. Many people who lost loved ones on 9/11 have spoken or written extensively about this.⁠
Many of my clients talk about these kinds of experiences and want to know if it’s “normal.” “Of course it is,” I tell them. Now I’m telling you the same.⁠
I encourage my clients, and you, to continue looking for signs as the months and years pass. If you’re open to receiving a sign you’ll often have one. Spirit lives on. The connected bond of love doesn’t end.⁠
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An excerpt from the book 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
LINK is in our profile. ⁠
#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
#wuvip #lookforsigns #griefandhealing #griefandloss #gratitude #loveliveson #loveisforever #spirit #itsokaytogrieve #debbieaugenthalerauthor #youarenotalonebook #grief #grieving #grieveinyourownway
Instagram post 18075233299085395 In helping others, even when in the midst our own grief, we can help ourselves. By doing something for someone else, in helping someone in the same way others helped me, I feel my best. For me, this is what living a life with meaning is about—effecting change in the world, in our own way, for the good of ourselves and of others.⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
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Purchase the book 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
LINK is in our profile. ⁠
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#wuvip #nelsonmandela #griefandhealing #griefandloss #helpingothers #maketheworldabetterplace #shineyourlight #itsokaytogrieve #debbieaugenthalerauthor #youarenotalonebook #grief #grieving #grieveinyourownway #griefsupport #griefshare #griefisajourney #griefisaprocess #griefprocess
Instagram post 17878437877443417 Here I am at his grave. Walking over and over behind his casket in my mind as I stand in front of the headstone, staring at his name engraved in the marble. James R., third in line to the left. The chiseled dates telling a story of a life that ended too soon. Yes, visits to the cemetery are my ritual; this is my sanctuary. ⁠
It is winter and freezing as I stand in front of the headstone. The cold wind burns my cheeks, my eyelashes freeze from tears, and I stand in the middle of the iciness of winter, wrapped up in thick sweaters, coats and scarves, but my face, ears, fingers and toes are numb despite the layers. I want to feel it, to feel something, anything besides grief.  I am alone with the cold and icy wind, alone with Jim, and I feel his presence, wondering if he can feel what I feel, the hollowness of our separation. I pray to God for meaning, for understanding, for mercy.⁠
I stay as long as I can, until I can’t feel my lips, until I run out of tissues to catch my dripping nose.  Only then do I return to the car, turn on the heat and sit there with the engine on, hot air melting the cold in my body, me melting with the heat, all of my body melting with the grief until I am almost too tired to drive home.⁠
I repeat this almost every weekend—the drive, the songs, the bitter cold, the thawing out in the car. Sometimes I go twice a week. I go to feel connected to him in a tangible way. The visits permeate the fogginess of my abyss.⁠
So I go to the cemetery to keep it real. This sacred space is helping me to transition to the world of After. The towering trees, sentinels sheltering the grave, whisper comfort with the wind, their changing leaves gently showing me time is moving forward. Time is moving forward.⁠
Even though I talk to Jim all the time, I go to the cemetery to feel a deeper connection as every day I’m learning again how to say good-bye. I know he is watching me. He is part of this ritual. A communion between us exists, and I know it always will.�⁠
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An excerpt from 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
Link is in our profile. ⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler
Instagram post 18103506628056336 People often talk about the gifts they have gained from loss and adversity. I know that many of the qualities I developed from a difficult childhood are qualities that helped me to succeed in my career: I am responsible, hard working, conscientious, loyal. I would never have thought of them as “gifts” until the perspective I gained after Jim died allowed me to see loss through a different lens.⁠
I’d read here and there about people overcoming huge obstacles and calling them gifts, but never really “got it” until a few years after Jim’s death. By then, I was hyper-alert to anything I heard or read about how other people coped with the death of a loved one. At first, if anyone had told me there would be gifts that would follow I would not have believed them. ⁠
Maybe you have your own story of the gifts of loss. Or maybe you’re still in the thick fog of grief and cannot imagine any gift ever coming from what you are now experiencing. And that’s okay. ⁠
And the gifts may come: Gifts of growth, gratitude, compassion, wisdom, an expanding heart, resilience, an ability and desire to help others through similar experiences, awareness of how the smallest gestures of kindness can hugely impact a life. Learning how to love hugely. Telling everyone you love that you love them, that you are grateful for them. Learning that love is always and forever. Love lives on in your heart, it does not die.⁠
An excerpt from 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
Link is in our profile. ⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
Instagram post 17861413963523993 Give yourself time. Be compassionate and kind to yourself. And let people help you. Let them help bolster and support you. Whether it is a family member, a friend, or a professional, it’s immensely helpful to have someone to lean on, who will listen with love and support.⁠
When you’re ready, grieve each loss in your own way, one that feels right for you.⁠
Be as kind and gentle to yourself as you possibly can. It’s what you need right now.�⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
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Purchase the book 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
LINK is in our profile. ⁠
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#wuvip #giftsofloss #griefandhealing #griefandloss #gratitude #loveliveson #kindness #grief #grieving #loss #debbieaugenthalerauthor #youarenotalonebook
Instagram post 18030967177208600 Death ends a life - not a relationship. -Mitch Albom 🦋⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
Instagram post 18090333049075246 Do you know why we use butterflies as a symbol of transformation? A caterpillar’s world is turned upside down, literally—it hangs from a twig or leaf and spins a cocoon, or molts into a chrysalis. Once it’s safely encased, the caterpillar digests itself, dissolving all its tissues. But the cells, the essence of the caterpillar, remain and reassemble, developing into a butterfly. When the transformation is complete, the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. It’s amazing to watch. The butterfly is tentative at first, hanging upside down, letting its wilted wings dry and begin to firm. Then its wings start to flutter, and eventually it gains the strength to fly away.⁠
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#grieftogratitude #youarenotalone #debbieaugenthaler⁠
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Purchase the book 'You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide to Grief, Healing, and Hope' by Debbie Augenthaler. ⁠
LINK is in our profile. ⁠
⁠
#wuvip #giftsofloss #griefandhealing #griefandloss #butterfly #butterflymedicine #findingstrength #takeyourtime #itsokaytogrieve #debbieaugenthalerauthor #youarenotalonebook #grief #grieving #grieveinyourownway #griefsupport #griefshare #griefisajourney #griefisaprocess #griefprocess #griefcounseling #therapy #therapyworks #healing #transformationquotes #transformation #griefquotes

“Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends”

— Hafiz

If you are in need of support, please CLICK HERE for a list of resources.

Crisis Resources

Emergency: 911

These numbers are provided for informational purposes only and may be subject to change.
All numbers are valid for the United States.

To find a qualified therapist, go to Psychology Today’s website, and follow the simple steps to find a therapist in your area. Here’s the link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us    This is a world-wide resource. If you’re not in the US, go to the upper right hand corner of the page and change the country.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

1 (800) 273-8255

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline:

1 (800) 799-7233

  • Family Violence Helpline:

1 (800) 966-6228

  • National Hopeline Network:

1 (800) 784-2433

  • Self-Harm Hotline:

1 (800) 366-8288

  • Planned Parenthood Hotline:

1 (800) 230-7526

  • American Association of Poison Control Centers:

1 (800) 222-1222

  • Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line:

1 (800) 622-2255

  • National Crisis Line, Anorexia and Bulimia:

1 (800) 233-4357

  • GLBT Hotline:

1 (888) 843-4564

  • TREVOR Crisis Hotline:

1 (866) 488-7386

  • AIDS Crisis Line:

1 (800) 221-7044

  • Lifeline Crisis Chat:

(Online live messaging): http://www.crisischat.org/

  • Crisis Text Line:

Text “START” TO 741-741

  • Veterans Crisis

Live chat https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/,
Call 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)
Text 838-255

*This page and my website are not a substitute for psychotherapy or other forms of professional support.

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