Meet our team

Dr. Rynearson, is a semi-retired clinical psychiatrist and researcher from Seattle Washington where he founded the section of psychiatry at the Mason Clinic. In addition to full-time clinical practice, he has served on the clinical faculty of the University of Washington as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry. For over 20 years, Dr Rynearson has maintained a particular clinical and research focus on the effects of violent death on family members and has been published in clinical papers, book chapters and three books, Retelling Violent Death and Violent Death: Resilience, Intervention Beyond the Crisis and the Restorative Nature of Ongoing Connections with the deceased. He has delivered numerous national and international training on the management of the clinical e!ects of violent death and with grant support founded the non profit organization the Violent Death Bereavement Society (www.vdbs.org), establishing an informative network for service providers, teachers and researchers of traumatic grief after violent death. He also developed a collaborative training program for Israeli and Palestinian clinicians in supporting members of their communities with traumatic grief associated with violent death. Currently Dr. Rynearson is spear heading a
grief companioning program for individuals who have experienced a violent death to receive no cost support to help guide them through their grief journey. Dr Rynearson lives on Puget Sound and enjoys hiking and spending time with his family

Cindi Sinnema is currently the Director of The Grief Companioning Project. She has worked in the field of traumatic response and community support for more than 25 years. Cindi attended the University of Washington and worked with Separation and Loss Services at Virginia Mason and then as a Chaplin locally and across the country. She has worked with individuals, families and communities who have been impacted by disasters, both natural and man-made. In her role as Chaplain, she trained community volunteers to provide assistance in the aftermath of trauma and loss. She worked with Behind the Badge Foundation serving first responders all over the country to provide support and follow up services to those impacted by trauma.

Cindi Sinnema is currently the Director of The Grief Companioning Project. She has worked in the field of traumatic response and community support for more than 25 years. Cindi attended the University of Washington and worked with Separation and Loss Services at Virginia Mason and then as a Chaplin locally and across the country. She has worked with individuals, families and communities who have been impacted by disasters, both natural and man-made. In her role as Chaplain, she trained community volunteers to provide assistance in the aftermath of trauma and loss. She worked with Behind the Badge Foundation serving first responders all over the country to provide support and follow up services to those impacted by trauma.

Dr. Jennifer R. Levin, LMFT, PhD, specializes in working with adolescents, adults and families experiencing traumatic grief, unexpected and sudden death, and post-traumatic growth. In 2000, Jennifer received her doctorate from the UCLA School of Public Health and in 2014 she earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. Jennifer is a licensed marriage and family therapist and in California and Washington and works with clients in her private practice Therapy Heals. She is a recognized Fellow in Thanatology; the study of death, dying and bereavement from the Association of Death Education and Counseling.
Professionally, Dr. Levin has served as the executive director of Hospice of Pasadena and taught at several California universities. She has served as the Executive Director of the San Gabriel Valley Grief Resource and Training Center and the Director of Adolescent and Teen Grief at Glendale Adventist Hospital. Currently, Dr. Levin provides consultation, training and crisis support to businesses, schools, and community-based organizations experiencing traumatic grief after a sudden or unexpected death in their community. She also engages organizations in strategic planning and training to prepare for an unexpected death and create a grief-ready environment. She is a volunteer with the Grief Companioning Project and provides grief education and training to mental health professionals, clergy, and first responders working in the field of sudden or unexpected death. In 2018, Dr. Levin launched an online program, From Grief to Growth, featuring a self-help course for individuals living with a sudden or unexpected death. She is also the host of the podcast “Untethered: Health the Pain from a Sudden Death”.
Jennifer’s work regarding sudden death provides a constant reminder of the fragility and unpredictability of life. During the pandemic, she decided to pursue her dream to live somewhere peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful, and Jennifer and her therapy dog, Winnie, relocated from southern California to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington. For her own restoration and enjoyment, she plays Mahjong with friends, practices Pilates, hikes, and spends time outside and exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Shannon Sessions is the Executive Director of Support 7 and has been serving as a First Responder Chaplain on scene, alongside First Responders to walk our neighbors with traumatic loss through the next steps in the moment of darkness. Through Support 7, Shannon leads a group of highly trained First Responder Chaplains and Incident Response Team volunteers who are on call 24/7 and respond to unexpected death calls, natural death, death by suicide, homicide, other fatalities. They also serve those impacted by house, apartment, and commercial fires among other major incidents.

As a wife of a Fire Battalion Chief, mother of five, a United States Air Force Veteran, former firefighter, longtime Crime Prevention Specialist and Police Spokesperson for High Profile Incidents ~ public safety is a passion for Shannon. She is known for her authentic and exceptional interpersonal skills and is warm and approachable with a talent to inspire and give people “permission” to pay attention and do things they may not otherwise be willing to do. Working on “both sides of the caution tape” has given Shannon a unique perspective on who are affected when bad things happen.

Shannon Sessions is the Executive Director of Support 7 and has been serving as a First Responder Chaplain on scene, alongside First Responders to walk our neighbors with traumatic loss through the next steps in the moment of darkness. Through Support 7, Shannon leads a group of highly trained First Responder Chaplains and Incident Response Team volunteers who are on call 24/7 and respond to unexpected death calls, natural death, death by suicide, homicide, other fatalities. They also serve those impacted by house, apartment, and commercial fires among other major incidents.

As a wife of a Fire Battalion Chief, mother of five, a United States Air Force Veteran, former firefighter, longtime Crime Prevention Specialist and Police Spokesperson for High Profile Incidents ~ public safety is a passion for Shannon. She is known for her authentic and exceptional interpersonal skills and is warm and approachable with a talent to inspire and give people “permission” to pay attention and do things they may not otherwise be willing to do. Working on “both sides of the caution tape” has given Shannon a unique perspective on who are affected when bad things happen.

Cindy Meyers is a volunteer chaplain with the Traumatic Grief Companioning Project, bringing years of companioning experience from Hospice, Trauma recovery, and various community volunteer activities. She is a parent of two, grandparent of 11, parent caregiver for her own and others’ parents, and has taught in private, public, at-risk populations and Sunday School. She is co-host of the website, GriefAndTraumaChaplaincy.com, which offers free links and resources to the bereaved and others experiencing life losses. She volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, multiple regional hospitals, and community organizations in trauma recovery and traumatic bereavement support. Cindy enjoys exploring the great Pacific Northwest with her husband of four decades and visiting friends and family across the US and abroad. She also can be found on occasion reading a book or two by the fire at their condo or a coastal beach resort. Cindy highly values relationships and going alongside, or companioning, as others experience their challenges and victories in life.

Merle Meyers is a Hospice Chaplain for Continuum Hospice in Everett, Washington. He also volunteers as a chaplain with the Traumatic Grief Companioning Project, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a Healing Conversations contact as well as traumatic bereavement support for regional hospitals and community agencies. Merle brings three decades of experience in compassionate leadership at work, his family, Hospice, and Bereavement services. The grandfather of eleven active grandchildren and their even more active parents, plus caregiver to aging and ill parents, he now co-hosts the website GriefAndTraumaChaplaincy. com which offers free links and resources to those experiencing difficult life losses. Merle enjoys travel, time with his wife of forty-one years and their family, and the challenge of drawing stories out of people. He is an avid reader and life-long learner, continually seeking to understand and share encouraging ways to support the bereaved. Merle has traveled to Africa, South America, and Haiti to teach and to offer support to those who have lost loved ones to sudden unnatural death. Merle collects historical documents, appreciates a good story and has a ready smile for those seeking hope and reassurance.

Merle Meyers is a Hospice Chaplain for Continuum Hospice in Everett, Washington. He also volunteers as a chaplain with the Traumatic Grief Companioning Project, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a Healing Conversations contact as well as traumatic bereavement support for regional hospitals and community agencies. Merle brings three decades of experience in compassionate leadership at work, his family, Hospice, and Bereavement services. The grandfather of eleven active grandchildren and their even more active parents, plus caregiver to aging and ill parents, he now co-hosts the website GriefAndTraumaChaplaincy. com which offers free links and resources to those experiencing difficult life losses. Merle enjoys travel, time with his wife of forty-one years and their family, and the challenge of drawing stories out of people. He is an avid reader and life-long learner, continually seeking to understand and share encouraging ways to support the bereaved. Merle has traveled to Africa, South America, and Haiti to teach and to offer support to those who have lost loved ones to sudden unnatural death. Merle collects historical documents, appreciates a good story and has a ready smile for those seeking hope and reassurance.

WE ARE THANKFUL TO OUR FRIENDS AND PARTNERSHIPS: