Grief Therapist & Educator

About Jessica Thomas, Ph.D.

I’ve spent over a decade studying transpersonal psychology, psycho-spiritual development, mindful photography, and the art of reflection. My approach to death education, program development and clinical supervision integrates Eastern philosophy and Western psychology– which deeply considers how we are interconnected.

A leading figure in the intersection of mental health, academia, and the death industry

I am a professor at Lewis & Clark College where I teach on death, loss, and psycho-spiritual development. I hold a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology and also serve as President on the board of The NW Association for Death Education and Bereavement Support.

As a death and grief educator and therapist, I am passionate about expanding the ways in which we engage in conversation around death and dying. I strongly believe that exploring one’s own grief and loss experiences and sharing those experiences in community with others can promote a healthier society.

I’m the author of Choosing Light: Transforming Grief through the Practice of Mindful Photography and Self-Reflection and esteemed doctoral research, Mindful Photography and its Implications in End-of-life Caregiving: An Art-based Phenomenology.

I honor my grief experiences as wisdom gained when I host a Within and Without Mindful Photography reflection group or train a facilitator or teach courses on death and dying. Bit by bit, I contribute toward a systemic shift in our society where we can be more death accepting rather than death denying and where there is more access to social grief support rather than grief isolation.”

— Jessica Thomas PhD. |  Choosing Light


Dr. Jessica Thomas

The Origin Story

In my twenties, I encountered profound losses that reshaped my understanding of life and death. The sudden death of my father, at the age of twenty-one, left me grappling with shock and sorrow. His accidental overdose of prescribed medication sent me into a world of unexpected grief, marked by traumatic memories and a sense of profound loss. Despite my efforts to remain composed, the weight of grief was heavy and I struggled to find solace after his passing.

Seven years later, I faced another significant loss—my grandmother. Unlike my father’s death, her passing was anticipated, allowing our family to come together and embrace the final stages of her journey. Caring for her during her last days offered me a chance to find peace and acceptance amidst the pain of letting go– one that I didn’t get with my father.

These experiences ignited a profound exploration into the nature of grief and the transformative power of presence. As I reflected on my journey, I discovered the healing potential of mindfulness and photography as therapy for processing grief and finding meaning in loss.

Inspired by my personal experiences and intricate research

I began integrating mindful photography into therapy for grief and loss, recognizing the profound impact of visual imagery on the grief process. Through my work, I strive to empower individuals to navigate grief with compassion, creativity, and wisdom.

I now also host workshops and events and program development guiding groups through creative and reflective practices that bring deeper awareness, inspiration, inner peace, and healing. Ultimately, my hope is that through sharing my grief experinces and continueing to research and teach I can I can inspire communal healing, creating ripples for a more conscious and compassionate society.

When Not Working,

You'll Find Jessica

Being an outdoor enthusiast, reader, podcast aficionado, art enthusiast, and family lover…

She’s always embracing the beauty of nature, whether swimming or exploring trails with her loyal canine companion Georgie by her side. With a book always within arm’s reach, she finds solace and adventure within the pages of captivating stories. On the move or tending to her garden, she appreciates a diverse array of podcasts, from thought-provoking discussions to immersive storytelling. 

Beyond her love for literature, podcasts, art, and the great outdoors, her heart belongs to her cherished family. Quality time spent with their husband and daughter is her greatest joy, whether cultivating the garden, organizing and decorating the home, or simply relishing in each other’s company.

Press and Media

Approved Bio

Dr. Jessica Thomas holds an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy and a PhD in Psychology with an emphasis in Transpersonal Psychology. She is a therapist, clinical supervisor, grief educator, and organizational consultant.

Jessica has served on the not-for-profit board of the NW Association for Death Education and Bereavement Support for over eight years. She has been a hospice volunteer and a proud volunteer and advocate for Death Cafes, working to increase awareness of death and dying in the greater community.

As a professor at Lewis & Clark College, she has created coursework and taught on death and grief, psycho-spiritual development and counseling, research methods, and clinical supervision. She also provides clinical supervision for counseling students at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her doctoral research, Mindful Photography and its Implications in End-of-Life Caregiving: An Art-based Phenomenology, focused on creative expression and the experience of anticipatory loss. Jessica’s subsequent developments include integrating her mindful photography therapeutic method into groups. Within and Without Mindful Photography reflection groups support those who are traversing grief due to a death or other major life transitions.

She offers both professional and community workshops, presentations, and talks on death and grief, transpersonal psychology, and the Within and Without therapeutic method. Some of Jessica’s favorite projects involve consulting with organizations and developing death and grief education, as well as facilitating creative training sessions and meaningful group practices.

Press and Media

Approved Images

My Book

See Through a New Lens

Unlike conventional approaches to photography that emphasize the subject and object dichotomy, mindful photography sees beyond that which is “looked” at. The focus is clear seeing and personal resonance. Dr. Jessica’s book explores the Within and Without Mindful Photography therapeutic method that she pioneered to transform the grieving process.

*for online therapy for grief (or other therapy needs), please visit Reflective Therapy

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