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Val Walker  

Author, Speaker and Educator

Through speaking and writing, Val’s mission is to restore our confidence in the art of comforting— an art often overlooked in our society today.

Val holds a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University, with specialized study in grief, loss and disability. Previously, as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, she guided Veterans Affairs clients with service-related disabilities in their major transitions from military to civilian life. She facilitated bereavement support groups at the Massey Cancer Center, Medical College of Virginia, and also served there as an interviewer/researcher in a national study of grief and depression. With Jewish Vocational Service in Minnesota, she designed and implemented a community-based rehabilitation program which was accredited by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). Later, she trained volunteers and staff as a bereavement consultant for hospices in Maine, Virginia and Massachusetts.

She is the author of The Art of Comforting: What to Say and Do for People in Distress (Penguin/Random House, 2010) which won a Nautilus Book Award as a Gold Medalist in 2011.

The Art of Comforting is featured as recommended reading by the Boston Public Health Commission’s Resource and Recovery Guide for the Boston Marathon Bombing, and is used as a training guide at hospices, seminaries and colleges, including York University School of Nursing in Toronto, Canada, and Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School in Richmond, VA.

Val’s articles, Q&As and book excerpts have appeared in Good Housekeeping, TIME, Whole Living Magazine, AARP Bulletin, USA Weekend Magazine, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and others. In Maine, she was a contributor to the Employment Times/JobWave on a series about comforting loved ones through job loss, and was a columnist for the Maine Women’s Journal.

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