Grief and Repair with Holly Truhlar & Desiree Coutinho

I recently had the pleasure to introduce grief therapist and lawyer Holly Truhlar and spoken word poet and activist Desiree Coutinho at a workshop presented at the First Unitarian Church of Hobart. Holly and Desiree then both spoke (Desiree performed her own spoken word poetry) during the worship service that followed the workshop. Below are four videos which came out of that workshop and service. Enjoy!

1. The Sixth Gate of Grief: Exploring the Harms We’ve Done (Holly & Desiree)

Holly Truhlar and Desiree Coutinho explore the tender terrain of impact, regret, guilt, and harm. They talk about harm we’ve caused personally and collectively, and how to process our resulting grief so that we have the capacity to build deep, equitable relationships with other people and the planet. Holly and Desiree start by briefly laying out the Five Gates of Grief as articulated in Francis Weller’s book *The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief.* They then add and explore a sixth gate of grief: the harms we’ve done (or are doing). This exploration includes personal harms we’ve caused, to ourselves and others, as well as collective harms we’re complicit in, such as racism, patriarchy, ecocide, and inequity. They include a short somatic practice and writing exercise as part of this process.

2. Wreckoning & Re-pair with Holly Truhlar

There’s no doubt we’re in a time of (w)reckoning and repair. So, how do we sit with the wreckage of late-stage capitalism and collapse? What are the skills and social technologies we need to practice in order to navigate these threshold times? And, what does it mean to re-pair when so many systems and beliefs need to be completely torn apart? By sharing her own personal and collective grief, Holly Truhlar deepens into these questions. She then thoughtfully explores what repair entails from an attachment and soul perspective.

3. A New Story, a spoken word poem written and performed by by Desiree Coutinho

4. Sometimes a Wild God, by Tom Hirons, read by Holly Truhlar


Holly Truhlar (she/her) blends her Doctorate in Law and Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology to guide people and organizations from dominating and exploitative ways of being into attuned, transformative relationships. She lives and works in the threshold of collective grief and trauma, conscious collapse, and social justice. Since 2012, she’s supported private practice therapy clients and facilitated workshops with groups ranging from two to 200+. She’s most interested in social technologies, such as ritual and Deep Democracy work, that foster large-scale trauma resolution and collective nervous system regulation. She learns the most about relationship and the ways she moves in the world from the animals who inhabit her life, particularly Mr. Bo, a miniature appaloosa mule.

Holly’s website

Some of Holly’s writing: “Mainstream Psychology Can Go Fuck Itself” “The Environmental Movement Has Failed”

Desiree Coutinho (she/her) is a spoken word poet, activist, and community organizer. She is sustained by her connection to the earth, and inspired by the beauty of nature and the resilience of human beings. Desiree is currently working with the Ashland BIPOC Sanctuary to hold POC led grief rituals. Desiree is finishing a Masters of Social Work Program through Portland State University, focusing on collapse psychology and radical social work futures. Most recently, she has been working with youth, exploring social and environmental justice, art as activism, and training young leaders to hold conversations about race. Undoubtedly, her most important role is being a mother. Her daughter is a constant reminder of the change she wants to see in the world.

More of Desiree’s spoken word poetry: “Resilience and Resistance” “Heart to a Feather” “Alternative Histories”

Some of Desiree’s writing: “Reviving Radical Social Work In Collapse” “This ‘Equity’ picture is actually White Supremacy at work”

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post,, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

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