Licensure and Certifications

Note: A license authorizes a person to practice in a particular specialty in healthcare. Certification through a national board affirms advanced knowledge, skill, and practice to meet the challenges of that specialty, and it contributes to better patient outcomes.  Certification is a voluntary process, and is sought by those who care enough to earn and maintain the highest credentials in their specialty, thereby demonstrating a commitment to excellence in practice.

Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC is a registered nurse with a master's degree in Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, currently licensed to practice in the state of Florida. She also holds multistate licensure, allowing her to practice nursing in those states included in the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC).

She has earned the Board Certified -TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH) credential, having met the requirements set forth by the Center for Credentialing and Education, Inc. (CCE) and having satisfactorily completed the CCE-approved ReadyMinds Training program. This credential identifies those professionals who are uniquely trained in best practices for delivering traditional behavioral healthcare through technological means, which Marty does via her Grief Healing websites and as moderator for her online Grief Healing Discussion Groups. As a Board Certified-Telemental Health Provider, Marty is entitled to used the initials "BC-TMH" after her name, signifying that she has met nationally established telemental health criteria:

• Knowledge of ethical issues involved in distance counseling
• Ability to build a strong working relationship with clients via distance methods
• Commitment to best distance counseling practices and to delivering helpful communications to clients
• Awareness of legal issues relevant to distance counseling
• Knowledge of technology needed for effective distance counseling.

In January of 2007, Marty was awarded the Fellow in Thanatology (FT) certification by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). The Fellow in Thanatology (FT) designation is an advanced professional certification for thanatology professionals working in the fields of grief, loss and transition. It recognizes practitioners and educators in the discipline of death, dying, and bereavement who have met specified knowledge requirements measured through a standardized testing process, and who demonstrate advanced levels of competency in teaching, research and/or clinical practice through a professional portfolio.

Education, Training and Experience

As both a bereaved parent and a bereaved child herself, Marty Tousley has focused her practice on issues of grief, loss and transition for more than 40 years. She joined Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, AZ as a Bereavement Counselor in 1996, and for ten years served as moderator for its innovative online grief forums. She obtained sole ownership of the Grief Healing Discussion Groups in October 2013, where she continues to serve as moderator.  With her special interest in grief and the human-animal bond, she facilitated a pet loss support group for bereaved animal lovers in Phoenix for 15 years, and now serves as consultant to the Pet Loss Support Group at Hospice of the Valley and to the Ontario Pet Loss Support Group in Canada.  She also works with veterinary clinics and other organizations to foster greater understanding of pet loss among staff members, thereby building better helping relationships with grieving clients. Having experienced and worked through many personal losses herself, including the deaths of several beloved companion animals, she has a deep understanding of the special attachment that occurs between people and their pets, and a genuine appreciation of the painful effects of pet loss through disappearance, relinquishment, illness or death.

Throughout her career in psychiatric nursing, Marty has practiced individual, marital, family and group psychotherapy in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, community mental health centers and private practice. She has provided consultation, community education and training on loss and bereavement in Michigan, New Jersey and Arizona.  Her work in pet loss and bereavement has been featured in the pages of Phoenix Magazine, Raising Arizona Kids,The Arizona Republic, The East Valley Tribune, Arizona Veterinary News, Hospice Horizons, The Forum (ADEC Newsletter), The AAB Newsletter, Dog Fancy Magazine, Cat Fancy Magazine, Woof Magazine and
Pet Life Magazine. 

She is a frequent contributor to healthcare journals, newsletters and magazines for the lay public, and has written several articles and book chapters in the professional nursing and medical literature.  Her online articles appear regularly on her Grief Healing Blog, and occasionally on the Open to Hope Foundation and The Grief Toolbox websites.  Her published works include Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping (1996), The Final Farewell: Preparing for and Mourning the Loss of Your Pet (1997), Explaining the Funeral or Memorial Service to Your Children (2005), Helping Another in Grief (2007), and Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year, Second Edition (2008).  She has authored three online e-courses for Self-Healing Expressions, including The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey, A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss, and Helping You and Your Children with Pet Loss, along with a number of  Healing E-books addressing various topics such as How to Write a Eulogy, How to Write an Obituary, How to Write Heartfelt Condolence Letters, and How to Write Sympathy Thank-You Notes.     

Marty received her B.S. in Nursing from the University of Michigan and her M.S. in Advanced Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.  She was the first nurse in the state of Michigan to earn certification in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practice in 1975, and from 1980 through 2014 was certified as a Clinical Specialist in Adult Psychiatric Nursing by the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center. She is an active member of The Association for Death Education and Counseling, The American Academy of Bereavement, The Alumni Association of the University of Michigan, and Rutgers College of Nursing Alumni Association.

Marty feels blessed to be the mother of two awesome, handsome sons and grandmother to two darling young gentlemen, two precious young ladies, two noisy birds, several flop-eared bunnies, several playful cats, a brave German shepherd, several cocker spaniels and two pit bulls. She and her husband Michael moved to Sarasota, Florida in 2014, where they hope to spend their retirement years. For 15 years they shared their home with Beringer, their beloved Tibetan terrier, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on August 22, 2011 and is still sorely missed. Read more of her personal story here: A Message from Marty Tousley.

In the Media:

In Finding A Place of Hope, Marty shares with Open to Hope's Dr. Heidi Horsley and The Compassionate Friends' Alan Pedersen how she became a grief counselor and how her Grief Healing website and online Grief Healing Discussion Groups came to be. 

In an interview with Anila Venkat of ElderBranch, Marty shared her thoughts about loss, grief and bereavement: A Conversation with Marty Tousley, Grief Counselor.

Marty discussed coping with the loss of an animal companion with Peternity's Colleen Mihelich on her radio program, Finding Hope in Pet Loss

Marty was presented with the 2007 John Suardini Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award, in recognition of her 15 years of volunteer service to the Companion Animal Association of Arizona and its Pet Grief Support Service.

Marty was invited back to Nature's Translator with Tracy Ann, hosted by animal communicator and alternative healer Tracy Ann. 

In Local Bereavement Facilitator Talks about Her Work, Marty discussed her role as a hospice bereavement counselor; grief and loss; men and grief; grieving the loss of a spouse and more in an interview by Take 5 Entertainment and News Guide.

Marty was interviewed by Carolyn Carlson, LSW, host of the Minnesota-based Life after Loss radio program on Radio Station KTOE.

Thanks to the sincere and heartfelt interest of news anchor Mark Curtis, whose beloved Bouvier died of cancer in January 2007, the topic of pet loss was featured in an interview with Marty on Channel 12, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona.

Marty was the featured guest on Nature's Translator with Tracy Ann, a weekly Contact Talk Radio program hosted by animal communicator and alternative healer Tracy Ann. 

Marty Tousley
Marty Tousley's Curriculum Vitae



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