Future Sunrise John W. Reiman, Ph.D. Have You Unintentionally Caused a Death?

You are Not Alone

For the approximately 20,000 people in the U.S. alone who each year have unintentionally caused a death, little information or professional support is available. The resulting sense of isolation and lack of capable guidance around how to heal and move forward has complicated recovery from this traumatic event. Fortunately, information and human resources have begun to emerge. Going it alone is no longer the only choice.

Who I Am

I have over 30 years of professional experience directly supporting individuals from all walks of life in immediate post-trauma stabilization and long-term recovery. I am dedicated to being skillfully present with individuals in pain. My familiarity with the recovery process of individuals who have unintentionally caused a death began over 45 years ago, after an 8-year-old boy ran in front of the car of a close family member, Dr. Maryann Jacobi Gray, Founder of accidentalimpacts.org

My Working Assumptions

  • Who you are is an essentially good human being, even if you disagree.
  • What you did was to unintentionally cause a death.
  • You may confuse who you are and what you did.
  • The event/death is an irrefutable reality and a fact that is continuously painful for others and for you.  
  • You can learn to heal and give yourself permission to move productively forward with your life.
  • There is no ‘right way’ to move through your experience. You cannot do it incorrectly. 
  • Adjusting to your experience will be a long-term, continuing, and productive process. This reality is counter to unhelpful messages, such as to “get over it” and to stamp it “done” TODAY, whether from others or from yourself.

What is Unintentional Death Re-Visioning (UDRV)?

Just as the body knows how to heal a cut and to return our temperature to normal, the body-mind knows how to restabilize itself after an emotional injury. UDRV is a flexible emotional education curriculum designed to facilitate post-incident rebalancing for adults over age 18. Most importantly, UDRV centers on a professional relationship in which I serve as a compassionate, informed, skilled, and experienced guide on your post-incident recovery path. The relationship, as I always explain at the outset, is based on a sincere and time-tested invitation to each person with whom I work: “ALL OF YOU (whatever you’ve got, including the parts that you don’t like or want) IS WELCOME HERE.”

UDRV work, both short and long-term, may be scheduled at weekly or bi-weekly intervals if needed, as well as for short-term future support. It is not intended to be, or to supplant, mental health assessment and treatment.

What You Can Expect in Working With Me

  • We will begin by working toward fully accepting the fact that this has happened. THIS DOES NOT IN ANY WAY MEAN THAT YOU ARE OK WITH IT. We do this because rejecting the fact, even in subtle ways, that this has happened makes the pain so much heavier. 
  • You will learn how to safely feel what you feel and practice strategies for living in the presence of pain for which there is no immediate solution (i.e., Today, where and how can I offer myself even the tiniest bit of ease, mercy, compassion, or kindness within or around my experience, just as it is?).
  • You will learn to skillfully navigate challenging advice (i.e., “You should just . . . ,” “Why don’t you . . . ?”) from personal, family, and professional relationships which, while often well-meaning, can be exhausting and unhelpful.
  • You will acquire skills to recognize and diffuse the stories you tell yourself, and to listen to and trust your own wisdom and intuition, even if you cannot presently locate it.

How I Work

  • All appointments are online using a secure, encrypted, user-friendly platform.
  • Scheduling is subject to available openings.
  • Fee is by negotiable sliding scale (not insurance eligible).
  • Strict confidentiality is maintained, with the exception of any information required to be disclosed by law.
  • References are available upon request. 

A Few Key Resources

An updated, comprehensive, highly regarded, and internationally utilized website, Accidentalimpacts.org, is dedicated to capably addressing the information, support, and recovery needs of individuals it refers to as CADIs – individuals who have caused accidental death or injury.

A thorough and in-depth New Yorker article, The Sorrow and Shame of the Accidental Killer: How Do You Live After Unintentionally Causing a Death, provides a well-researched, compassionate, and fully human treatment of a subject needing the light of day.

YouTube TEDx Talk, It Hurts to Hurt Someone, presents the personal experience and sage counsel of a social psychologist, writer, and university administrator, Dr. Maryann Jacobi Gray who, at age 22, unintentionally caused the death of an 8-year-old boy who ran in front of her car.

It won't always feel this way.

Where can I find some ease within or around this experience — just as it is?