How A2Z Healing Toolbox® Began
In 2012, my life took an unexpected turn into the world of grief and trauma after the sudden death of my bagpiper-surfer-professor husband. The path that I walked for the following years—as a young mother, widow, and social worker—led me to create the A2Z Healing Toolbox® workshops. I found that the tools and resources I was using to help and heal my son and I were also helping others along their journey.
Both personally and professionally, I began emphasizing healing with intention, education through action and envisioning post-traumatic growth. The A2Z approach is full of positive and practical tools and resources that have been studied, researched, recommended by professionals, and tested by thousands of peers, mentors, and colleagues. Integrating these tools into my new life has been part of my own active healing process, and it can be part of yours too.
I wanted to share the A2Z approach beyond my workshops, so I wrote my first book, A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief & Trauma with Intention, which was published in 2018. This book is the recipient of three independent publishing awards: 2018 Bronze IPPY Award in the category of Psychology and Mental Health, INDIE Finalist Award in the category of Health & Wellness and 2018 American Book Fest Finalist Best Book in the category of Health: Psychology and Mental Health. A to Z Healing Toolbox is now featured by Soaring Spirits International, Camp Widow, Health Journeys, Hey Soul, Grief Anonymous, The Ethan Lindberg Foundation, San Diego Voyager magazine The San Diego Union Tribune and referenced in the book Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief (Bidwell Smith, 2018).
In addition to leading workshops, trainings and professional development classes, I am active in the grief healing community as a Regional Leader and Conference Presenter with Soaring Spirits International (www.ssi.org). Through this foundation, I continue to provide grief and trauma education to both individuals and community organizations, develop city-wide peer mentoring programs for the young widowed community, and coordinate social-emotional programs for families living with grief and trauma.
I live in San Diego with my son, therapy dog, and an inspirational community of peers, mentors, and supporters. Exercise and nature have been key parts of my healing journey. So when I’m not working, you’ll find me hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding or running my dog on the beach!
Susan Hannifin-MacNab, MSW, PPSC is a social worker, educator and community organizer who has spent 25 years teaching and leading health and wellness workshops, classes, and support groups for children, youth and families across the Mainland USA, Hawaii, Canada, and Australia. She holds a Master’s in Social Work from San Diego State University, a Bachelor’s in Education from Boston College, and state credentials as a teacher and school social worker. She is the Founder of A2Z Healing Toolbox® and the author of A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief & Trauma with Intention.
(Photos courtesy of Robin Litrenta)