The First 52

a friend for the first year of grief

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We all will grieve if we have had people in our lives, friendships or love. It's one of the toughest parts of living.

I became a grief counselor back in 2009 after living with lossof a number of important people in my life. By 2011, I started looking for a course like this... I was hearing from folks that they had all these barriers to getting the support they were seeking... time, location, work schedules, family obligations.... They were looking for something like this too... something flexible, something that would easily fit into their life at a time they were hurting so much.

Fast forward to now... I have waited and I don't feel comfortable to wait any longer... I created this program to be your friend in grief for the first year after a death of someone in your life.

You can expect:

❤︎ Weekly emails sent directly to your inbox with a link to take you to the course.

❤︎ Useful website links, videos, handouts, and activities to guide you in your grief.

❤︎ Bite size information that is easy to understand and apply to your life.

❤︎ Importance in learning, growing your personal understanding, remaining connected to your loved one and adjusting to everyday life.

❤︎ Various topics that include different ways of grieving, breaking down all the tasks that need to be done in the weeks, months and year after a death, coping strategies, remembering, and preparing for anniversaries and special days, just to name a few.

This is a very thorough program intended to support you in your grief.

***Note: This program is not intended to replace mental health counseling. This is a self-guided program. The facilitator's role is that of a guide, coach and supportive companion.

She understands that everyone moves through and processes in their own way. Her warm and intuitive nature facilitates her ability to cater each session to your specific needs. Julie is absolutely amazing at what she does and I highly recommend her.”

- Autumn

You will also gain access to the Artful Grief Community where you can post your reflections and any imagery from the program. You are welcome to remain in the community as long as you would like.

When you Enroll... (this is super important)

Please be sure to accept notifications and marketing emails from the course. I promise to be kind to your inbox... This is important since you will want the emails to come to you each week...

Your Instructor

Julie Blackburn, LCPC, NCC,ATR
Julie Blackburn, LCPC, NCC,ATR

Let me introduce myself... Hello, I'm Julie.

I created these artful courses for YOU! I know the importance of quality information when you are searching for understanding within your current situation. Unfortunately, the internet is full of discussion groups that give misinformation, are a collection of personal experiences, or simply opinion. That may distract you from your own growth and empowerment.

You may be looking for some self-help tools. These courses can guide you through.

On the other hand, you may not have resources in your area OR you may not want to participate in groups or workshops due to the private nature of your situation. Please note: these courses are not a replacement for professional counseling if you are in need. You are welcome regardless of where you live. Within the courses, it is encouraged you share your experiences as you feel comfortable with other course participants. I hope you find useful information and tools to help you now.

I share my experiences from a personal and professional perspective... giving you what has worked in my life as well as for my clients so you don't have to try to figure it out all on your own. I have had my own personal experience with infertility, grief and a unique experience of parenting. My husband and I were able to became parents through foster care adoption and we ended our foster parenting journey when we moved out of Illinois. I'm here to tell you, there is hope. Life may seem uncertain right now. After significant deaths, my life was different. After infertility treatment, my life was different. After becoming a foster & adoptive parent, my life was different yet again. I have and will continue to grow and deepen my relationship with my spirit through these experiences.

Art Therapy and Counseling are a second career for me that began In 2009. Interestingly, my first career was in broadcast communication. I decided to make a necessary and rewarding change to counseling and art therapy after caregiving for my own mother-in-law. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor and a Registered Art Therapist. I have presented in throughout Illinois and have traveled in the US to present regarding art therapy, grief, and coping. Learn more about my experience and professional memberships.

Class Curriculum

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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts when you enroll and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish. You will receive weekly emails to lead you to the message and information for that week. You decide when to watch... no worries if you get behind, just get start again when you are ready.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Is there an app for the program?
Teachable App is available at Apple Store or GooglePlay. Download the Teachable App and you will have access to the program on your smartphone or tablet.
How does the program work?
After you enroll, you will begin to receive emails. It's very important to be sure to accept emails and marketing information when you enroll. If you do not, you will not receive the weekly emails. The email will give you a little information about the weekly topic and it will include a link to take you to the course. When you get into the course, you will find information in different forms... You may have a video with directions for an activity for you. You may find useful websites for you to explore. You may have worksheets for you to download, print and complete.

Hello there,

You have found this program because of a profound loss in your life. There is nothing I can say that will change your current situation. However, I do have information that will help you at this time.

No two people grieve in the same way. There are things we can expect in grief and ways our life changes after the death of someone special. Even if you have experienced grief before, this grief will be different. There is no relationship like the one with your loved one. Even people in the same family will experience this loss in their own way.

It may seem that you will never feel better... I can tell you that I see people in severe despair that do eventually feel better. It takes time, a dedication to yourself, a commitment to your loved one that has died, and a trust in the process. I will share tools that work and you can use right away. I will not rush you in your grief. I will guide you through all sorts of topics to help you grow in your grief. I'm a new friend that you can count on.

Thank you for allowing me to walk beside you. By the end of the program, you will have a greater relationship with yourself. Your life is forever changed, YOU are now different too. Parts of you will always be within you... And it's important to get back in touch with those parts. There are parts that are hurting, maybe overwhelmed, maybe even wondering what's next for you. It takes time to work through these parts and the key is to go at a manageable pace. So, pay attention to yourself... go at your own pace. I'll give you bite size pieces of information - if it's too fast, go slower. This is your grief. I'm here beside you.

You can do this. My heart is with you,

Warm wishes,


Get started now!