About Dr. Elizabeth Crunk-Sikhuashvili
I am a mental health counselor, researcher, and educator providing psychotherapy to adults in the Washington, DC area who are coping with a range of concerns, including grief and loss, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, breakup recovery, self-esteem concerns, family estrangement, family-of-origin issues, and stress. In particular, I specialize in treating diverse issues in grief and bereavement, including complicated grief, traumatic bereavement, grief stemming from the loss of difficult or conflicted relationships, anticipatory grief, non-death loss, loss of self, and life transitions. My specialized training and over ten years of experiencing conducting research on grief and loss equip me to help individuals navigate these challenging experiences.
Loss is often a highly distressing experience and there is not a duration of time that grieving should take. However, some mourners feel stuck in their grief or desire compassionate and nonjudgmental support. My goal for grief therapy is not to extinguish or "cure" grief, but to help people find ways to manage it and to provide targeted grief support.
I work with adults of all ages, including emerging, midlife, and older adults. I have particular experience working with college students, emerging adults, and early-career professionals.
My therapeutic approach, Coherence Narratology, is grounded in the belief that our life experiences shape the ways that we adaptively learned early in life to navigate our relationships and make sense of our circumstances. It is a compassionate, non-pathologizing approach to making profound changes. We will work together to help you uncover where you are stuck and identify the shifts you wish to make. Within the safety of a strong and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationship, we will explore the personal meanings and complex emotions related to your concerns. Throughout this process, I will assist you in identifying strategies that you find helpful in coping with your circumstances.
Research indicates that counseling is most successful when it takes place within the context of a strong therapeutic relationship. I tailor my approach to the needs and cultural identities of each of my clients. I aim to create a culturally-sensitive counseling relationship grounded in warmth and genuineness in a compassionate, candid, and nonjudgmental environment.
Continue reading below to learn more about my educational background, research, and public speaking.
Ph.D., Counselor Education, University of Central Florida (CACREP accredited)
Graduate Certificate in Advanced Quantitative Methodologies, University of Central Florida
M.S., Clinical Mental Health Counseling, The University of Memphis (CACREP accredited)
B.A. Psychology (Major), French (Minor), The University of Memphis
Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC00423), DC Department of Health
National Certified Counselor (340840), National Board for Certified Counselors
Complicated Grief Treatment -- Level 1 Training, the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University, New York, New York
Coherence Therapy Intermediate Intensive Training -- Coherence Psychology Institute, New York, New York
Coherent Narratology and Coherent Narrative Therapy -- Virtual workshop conducted by Gail Noppe-Brandon, LCSW, MA, MPA, New York, New York
My research bears on issues of grief, loss, death, and dying, with a particular focus on complicated grief and understanding the strategies we employ to cope with grief following the death of a loved one. My published works appear in scholarly, peer-reviewed journals in the fields of counseling and psychology. Examples of my representative scholarship (in print, in press, or in review) include the following:
Crunk, A. E., Burke, L. A., Neimeyer, R. A., Robinson, E. H., & Bai, H. (2019). The Coping Assessment for Bereavement and Loss Experiences (CABLE): Development and initial validation. Death Studies, 1-15.
Gonzalez, J., Crunk, A. E., Barden, S. M., Harris, S., & Belser, C. (in press). A preliminary longitudinal study of multicultural competence in counselor education. Journal of Counseling & Development.
Burke, L. A., Crunk, A. E., Neimeyer, R. A., & Bai, H. (2019). Inventory of Complicated Spiritual Grief 2.0 (ICSG 2.0): Validation of a revised measure of spiritual distress in bereavement. Death Studies, 1-17.
Crunk, A. E., Burke, L. A., & Robinson, E. H. (2017). Complicated grief: An evolving theoretical landscape. Journal of Counseling & Development, 95, 225-232. DOI: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.2014.00000.x
Bonin, E. P., Neimeyer, R. A., Alves, D., Smigelsky, M., & Crunk, A. E. (2016). Innovative moments in humanistic therapy I: Process and outcome of eminent psychotherapists working with bereaved clients. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 00(00), 1-29. DOI: 10.1080/10720537.2015.1118712
Consulting and Speaking Engagements
I have presented nearly 70 presentations or workshops on grief and loss and issues in counseling and education at local, national, and international conferences and professional meetings. I am available to consult, present, or teach on diverse issues related to grief, loss, bereavement, and non-death loss. Please contact me for a free phone consultation to discuss a rate that suits your consulting needs.
Recent or upcoming speaking engagements include the following:
Crunk, A. E. (2019, September). Prolonged grief disorder: International implications for diagnosis, treatment, and training. Session presented at the European Branch of the American Counseling Association (EB-ACA) Conference in Vienna, Austria.
Crunk, A. E. (2019, June). The Coping Assessment for Bereavement and Loss Experiences (CABLE): Development and validation of a new scale for assessing grief coping strategies. Invited webinar presented for the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC).
Crunk, A. E., Burke, L. A., & Neimeyer, R. A., & Moh, Y. (2019, April). Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as a risk factor for complicated grief. Session presented at the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA.
Crunk, A. E. (2018, October). Love and loss: Incorporating attachment theory into grief counseling. Session presented at the European Branch of the American Counseling Association (EB-ACA) Conference in Athens, Greece.
Crunk, A. E. (2018, May). The Coping Assessment for Bereavement and Loss Experiences (CABLE): Introduction and implications for using assessment in grief counseling. Paper session presented at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Annual Conference in London, England.
Crunk, A. E. (2018, May). Bereavement and complicated grief: Developments in an evolving clinical landscape. One-day learning institute presented for the European Branch of the American Counseling Association (EB-ACA) in Florence, Italy.
Teaching and Leadership
I am a Courtesy Assistant Professor of Counseling and a researcher at the George Washington University, a CACREP-accredited counseling program in Washington, DC. As a Counselor Educator, I teach master's- and doctoral-level students who are training to become counselors or counselor educators. I have experience teaching the following courses:
Grief and Loss Counseling
Practicum I & II
Individual Assessment in Counseling
Lifespan Human Development
Adult Development and Aging
Leadership and Advocacy in Counseling
Foundations of Play Therapy and Expressive Arts
One of my favorite roles as a Professional Counselor and Counselor Educator is my engagement in leadership and advocacy. I am the Immediate Past President of the European Branch of the American Counseling Association (EB-ACA) and am passionate about promoting the field of counseling and supporting counselors living and working in Europe and around the globe.