Our Advisory Board

expert in toxic religious beliefs

Terri Daniel, DMin, CT, FFGT  
Terri is an inter-spiritual hospice chaplain and end-of-life educator certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling and in family-focused grief therapy by  The Portland Institute.
She conducts workshops and produces conferences and symposiums throughout the U.S. and teaches in the chaplaincy and thanatology programsat the Graduate Theological Union, Marian University and the University of Maryland. She is the founder of the The Afterlife Conference, The Conference on Death, Grief and Belief, and the Ask Doctor Death podcast, and is the author of four books on death and grief.


Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, PhD 
Dr. Abu-Shamsieh has extensive international experience as a trainer for spiritual-care providers, and has served since 2012 as a relief chaplain at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. He is the director of the inter-religious chaplaincy program at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA., and is also an assistant professor of practical theology. His research interests include ethics at end-of-life, Islamic law and ethics, spiritual care, and interfaith relations and dialog.


Clint Heacock, PhD
Dr. Clint Heacock is a former evangelical pastor and bible college teacher of over 20 years. He holds a PhD in preaching and biblical studies from the University of Chester in the UK. Although he grew up in a fundamentalist Christian environment, he has since deconstructed his former faith and walked away from Christianity altogether. Since leaving evangelicalism he has been the host of The MindShift Podcast. The aim of the show is to educate people on the dangers of the Christian Right, dominion theology, destructive cults, and religious trauma syndrome--and help reconstruct their lives, post-religion.


Brian Smith
From his earliest memories, Brian attended his Pentecostal grandfather’s church. The idea that God was angry with all of humanity simply for being born tormented him in his early years.  When Brian was in his mid-20s, his uncle was murdered, and Brian was told that his uncle was in hell. That was the last straw, and the turning point for Brian to begin deconstructing his inherited religion and building a new form of faith. Now, 35 years later, after the death of his teenager daughter, Brian has developed the knowledge and the skills to help others who are struggling with grief because of a religion that no longer brings them peace.

Karen Wyatt

Karen Wyatt MD
Karen has spent her 25-year medical career working in hospices, nursing homes and clinics in underserved communities. In addition to founding a free medical clinic in a homeless shelter, she has accompanied three medical mission teams to Honduras, and led a non-profit clinic for the uninsured in its growth from a four-hour per week all-volunteer operation to a full-time, full-service medical center. She co-hosts the Ask Doctor Death podcast with Terri Daniel, and is an in-demand instructor for hospices and other groups around the U.S. Her book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying details her experiences as a hospice physician.  She also wrote A Matter of Life and Death: Stories to Heal Loss & Griefand ebooks Loss and Grief Survival Guide and Coping With Life-Threatening Illness.

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Pesach Eisen, MHC-LP
Pesach is a psychotherapist and researcher focusing primarily on the intersection of religious disaffiliation and mental health. He was raised in an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish faith community, from which he departed during his 20s. In his current role at Footsteps, he offers individual and group psychotherapy to those who have left or are contemplating leaving Orthodox Jewish communities. Both personally and professionally, he has wrestled with themes such as dignity, faith, humanity, identity, loss, meaning, morality, mortality, religion, spirituality, trauma, values, death, grief, and belief. Pesach holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and neuroscience, as well as a Master of Arts degree in mental health counseling. 

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David Lukoff, PhD
Dr. David Lukoff is a Professor of Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, co-president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, and a licensed psychologist in California. He is the author of 80 articles and chapters on spiritual issues and mental health, and is an international workshop presenter training psychologists in spiritual competency, loss and grief, death and illness, spiritual problems and spiritual emergencies. He is also co-author of the DSM diagnostic category Religious or Spiritual Problem, which increased awareness of spiritual issues in clinical practice. The acceptance of this new category in the 1994 DSM was based on a proposal documenting the extensive literature on the frequent occurrence of religious and spiritual issues in clinical practice. 


Rev. Caffie Risher, MDiv
Rev. Caffie Jeanette Risher is a thanatologist, grief specialist and death educator. She is a tenured assistant professor,  and teaches death and dying courses to a diverse student population. She has a  Master of Arts degree in corporate and public communications and a Master of Divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary, where she also successfully served as president of the Association of Black Seminarians for the 2007-2008 academic year. Additionally, Rev. Risher holds the following certifications: Thanatology from the Art of Dying Institute; Bereavement and Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary; Certified Grief Recovery Specialist; End of Life Doula from Valley Hospice and Clinical Pastoral Education/Chaplaincy Program from Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, NJ.


Peter Panagore, MDiv
Rev. Peter Panagore has been pronouced dead twice; once after freezing to death while ice climbing, and again, years later, after a heart attack.  Both times he returned with memories of a detailed out-of-body journey. As a graduate of Yale Divinity School with a focus on western mysticism, and a pastor who served progressive churches for two decades, Peter was ideally suited to teach about near-death experiences, and soon reached 80,000 views a day on his NBC television broadcasts. He is a natural-born mystic with 40 years of centering prayer and Kriya Yoga practice. He now hosts Not Church: Mysticism. No Doctrine. No Dogma on his YouTube Channel, where he deconstructs The Bible in light of his near-death experiences.


Sonya Lott, PhD
Dr. Lott has been licensed as a psychologist in Pennsylvania since 1991. Since 2020, she has been licensed to provide telepsychology in more than 20 states through the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board’s (ASPPB) PSYPACT program. With advanced training in Complicated Grief Therapy (CGT) from Columbia University, she maintains a private practice specializing in traumatic and complicated/prolonged grief. As a grief specialist, she has been a guest on many national podcasts and featured in many print articles including the Washington Post. In addition to her clinical work, she is also the founder of CEMPSYCH, LLC, which offers continuing education in multicultural psychology to licensed mental health professionals.