Surviving Loss - Maryann Manelski

Maryann spent 10 years caregiving her father who had Parkinson's Disease and her sister who had multiple cancer diagnoses until their deaths just three years apart. From her deep experience with grief and loss, she began connecting with other grievers and uncovered the archetypal journey that loss takes through our lives when someone we love dies. Whether you're a griever who has lost someone dear or a person who counsels and comforts those living the Grief Monomyth, there is something here to help you with your grieving work.

If You’re Grieving…

Grief can be lonely but there are many things you can do towards working through your pain. For the price of a good cup of coffee, we offer you the Secret Map of Surviving Loss, a one-hour documentary in 8 parts that you can watch in the privacy of your own home. Our companion workbook, available for free on our website, provides you with exercises to help you process your grief and truly understand how normal it is to feel anxiety, isolation, and disorientation as well as sadness after a loss. Whether you’re on your own or using the film to supplement grief counseling, we hope you endeavor to discover the secret map out of grief hidden inside you.


If You’re a Grief Counselor (or Counselor-in-Training)…

Bereavement is where people finally heal. It is where the work of hospice and its doctors, nurses, and other clinicians resolves and where the work of social workers and counselors culminates. It’s where new bonds, new communities and new understandings are formed. The Secret Maps Project is a set of five films created to support those who work with the grieving as well as those dealing with a loss themselves.

For Bereavement Counselors and Grief Professionals

Q:  I’m a group bereavement counselor, where do these films fit in my counseling work?

A:  The audience feedback that we get (yes, we did actual anonymous audience surveys) has shown that nearly 100% of the time after screenings of the Secret Map of Surviving Loss, those in grief report that the film has “normalized” their grief and that they now know in a deep way that they are not alone. Furthermore, the film jump starts the conversations in group, more so than with poems, essays, etc., and helps speed the building of cohesion and trust among group members.

See more in our Frequently Asked Questions for counselors, chaplains, and grief professionals.

For Colleges & Universities

This 2-film DVD is made for use in clinician training. It contains the 60-minute documentary feature, the Secret Map of Surviving Loss, which takes clinicians intimately through the patient/client’s experience of grief in a way they cannot experience outside of actual counseling. Also included is the half-hour short film, Good Grieving: A Guide to Group Facilitation, a development tool focused on the framework of group counseling that clinicians-in-training may undertake.

Q:  Why should my Social Work, Psychology, or Human Services Department be using the Secret Map of Surviving Loss to teach students about grief and bereavement therapy?

A:  The main reason that professors should be using the Secret Map of Surviving Loss is that it uniquely provides what we call “the man in the hole” experience. The subjects in the film, while very articulate, are in the full rawness of grief after their losses. If your students will be doing any kind of work with the bereaved, they will not be able to get a closer first-hand experience of what their work will be like without actual live practice with clients for some time. When your students actually get to field practice, having viewed this film will make that practice all the more better for both your students and their future clients.

For more on “man in the hole” aspect of the film, please read this short essay.

Or see more in our Frequently Asked Questions for colleges & universities.