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Counseling Services grief support group for studen...

Counseling Services grief support group for students will continue in spring 2020  

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

As the campus community prepares for the holiday season, students who are experiencing the loss of a loved one can take advantage of a special service.

MTSU Counseling Services, in partnership with Alive Grief Support of Nashville, will host the final grief and loss gathering of the calendar year from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Counseling Services office in Room 236-S of the Keathley University Center.

Similar sessions were held in September and October and will continue on the fourth Tuesday of each month through the spring 2020 semester. The dates are Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 24 and April 28.

Dianne Castellano, a grief counselor at Alive Hospice

Dianne Castellano

Dianne Castellano, a grief counselor at Alive Hospice and a licensed clinical social worker, facilitates each session, which is designed to support students who are grieving the loss of a loved one or the impending loss of a terminally ill friend or family member.

“I think that there’s a sense when you come together with other people who are processing their loss, that’s comforting,” Castellano said.

Mary Kaye Anderson, director of MTSU Counseling Services and a licensed psychologist, said the service is free and totally confidential.

“It’s a safe space for them to process their feelings with others that are experiencing a loss as well,” Anderson said. “It can be a very powerful tool to work through that loss.”

While both Castellano and Anderson are well-versed in helpful methodologies, they emphasize that there is no one definitive way to deal with the emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one.

“There is no ‘right’ model,” Anderson said. “The way you grieve is your own process. It’s your personal journey and it’s correct. There is no wrong way to grieve.”

Mary Kaye Anderson, director of MTSU Counseling Services

Mary Kaye Anderson

Castellano acknowledged that some people deal with loss by not expressing their emotions because of parental or familial influence, but she also said that the grief and loss gathering enables people to feel free to be themselves.

“Part of going to college is finding out who you are as an individual, and this gives a person permission to step out of those norms,” Castellano said.

For more information, contact MTSU Counseling Services at 615-898-2670 or Anderson at Contact Castellano at 615-346-8510 or

— Gina Logue (