When Dr. Christina Liparini began her undergraduate education in 1995, she was pursuing an English degree with dreams of becoming a high school teacher. Early in her education, she realized that the transition into college was not going to be an easy one. At the time, mental health was not yet something openly discussed, leaving Dr. Liparini with few options for assistance as she struggled to adjust to college life. After seeking help from her college’s counseling services, Dr. Liparini experienced a newfound sense of relief. “It was like a switch flipped” for Dr. Liparini, as she became excited by the prospect of pursuing mental health work as a career. Shortly after beginning counseling, Dr. Liparini changed her major, going on to receive a BA in Psychology, an MA in Counseling Preparation, and a PhD in Counseling Psychology.

Throughout her many years of education, Dr. Liparini remained impassioned with a desire to foster community, leading her to a position as a peer volunteer at Good Grief. Serving northern New Jersey for the last 20 years, Good Grief relies on peer support to conduct their group grief counseling and education. Dr. Liparini was immediately drawn to the warm environment in which Good Grief supports its community. Once a home, their facility is adorned with the art, letters, and photographs of Good Grief families and their loved ones who have passed. After serving in a volunteer role, Dr. Liparini became a pro-bono consultant for Good Grief, advising on their program and curriculum.

In this role, Dr. Liparini shares this joy and community of the organization’s support system outside the walls of Good Grief. This includes bringing their model of grief education to New Jersey schools. During these in-school programs, teachers and other school personnel are equipped with the necessary tools to support their students through loss. In a milestone victory for grief education advocates, New Jersey has recently mandated that grief education be taught in schools. The amount of interest in Good Grief’s programming has never been so high, and Dr. Liparini and the Good Grief team are looking forward to meeting this opportunity with the help of their community partners.