2016 Conference Recordings

The following sessions were recorded during the ADEC 38th Annual Conference, April 13-16, 2016, in Minneapolis, MN. 


Addressing the Needs of Families
Anewalt, Patti, PhD

Bereavement camps provide opportunities to learn about loss, dispel misperceptions, develop coping skills and build self-confidence which increases their resilience. By including the adults involved in their life, they gain a better understanding of their grieving child’s needs and have the opportunity for their own support. Family camps can provide the adult with time for reflection and renewal as well as family fun. As a result, adults are able to more effectively parent their bereaved child(ren). This session provides an overview of one agency’s experience developing and implementing a day long family camp for bereaved children, teens, and  families.

Learning Objectives
1.    Describe past and current research addressing needs of bereaved children, teens and  families
2.    List at least four activities  that  could be used at a family bereavement camp
3.    Explain why rituals are particularly important for grieving families

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Ambiguous Loss, Nonfinite Loss, and Disenfranchised Grief: Connections and Implications for Clinicians
Boss, Pauline, PhD, Doka, Kenneth, PhD, Harris, Darcy, PhD, FT

While a great deal of focus in bereavement theory and practice is upon grief that occurs after the loss of a loved one through death, recent research demonstrates that profound grief may also occur in losses that  don’t necessarily involve death. These types of loss experiences present unique challenges and forms of grief that are often disenfranchised. In this panel, three experts in the field will discuss specific types  of non-death loss experiences, including the clinical implications related to the disenfranchised grief that occurs for many who experience ambiguous and nonfinite loss.

Learning Objectives
1.   Define and describe ambiguous loss, non-finite loss, and disenfranchised grief.
2.   Identify the unique clinical features associated with ambiguous loss and non-finite loss.
3.   Describe clinical implications for disenfranchised grief in the presence of ambiguous and non-finite loss.

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An Attachment Informed Approach to Grief and Grief Therapy
Kosminsky, Phyllis, PhD, Jordan, John, PhD

In this session the presenters introduce a perspective on grief therapy that integrates current theory and practice in thanatology with contemporary research on attachment, interpersonal neuroscience, and  psychotherapy. Attachment Informed Grief Therapy is grounded in a set of assumptions about the central role of attachment in how people form relationships, how they grieve, and how grief therapy helps them manage the dysregulating impact of bereavement. Sensitivity to variations in client attachment experience and attachment related needs makes for a more robust, trusting client-therapist relationship, reduces the likelihood of relational rupture, and supports the achievement of therapeutic goals.

Learning Objectives
1.    Describe attachment theory as it relates to grief and  grief therapy
2.    Explain an attachment informed perspective on the role of the therapeutic relationship in facilitating recovery in grief therapy
3.    Cite examples of attachment informed grief therapy

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The Impact of our Fear of and Fascination with Death on our Children
McNiel,
Andy, MA

Why is it that stories of death, dying, and grief in our entertainment draw such a large audience and why are we silent on the subject when death hits close to home and our children? This presentation provides an overview of death, dying, and grief in various modes of entertainment in our current society. He discusses the impact our silence on the subject might have on our children and ideas about how to better engage our children on the subject in a way that provides reassurance, understanding, and support.

Learning Objectives
1.    Explain death and dying themes present in top grossing films, television, and other forms of modern entertainment.
2.    Identify the ways that death and dying themes in entertainment might impact children's perspectives about death.
3.    Describe how to engage children on the topic of death, dying, and grief in order to provide encouragement, understanding, and support.

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Coloring Your Grief
Bissler, Jane Vair, PhD, Kosminsky, Phyllis, PhD

Coloring is an activity that we associate with children. However, coloring is beneficial for grieving adults. One of the first psychologists to apply coloring as a relaxation technique was Carl Jung. He found that coloring activates different areas of our brain which we know are needed to process the grief experience. It has a de-stressing effect because when we focus on coloring, we focus on it and not on our worries. This session explains the research and gives actual case examples showing videos of clients coloring, hearing and seeing their  process and recommendations. Sample coloring pages are shared.

Learning Objectives
1.    Cite current research showing how coloring is beneficial to those who are grieving.
2.    Describe the benefits of coloring for grievers in group, family and individual settings.
3.    Apply information acquired to be able to predict when coloring would be beneficial for individual clients.

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Research that Matters: Social Media and Bereavement
Balk, David E., PhD, Varga, Mary Alice, PhD, Sofka, Carla, PhD, Cupit, Illene, PhD

Dr. Mary Alice Varga provides an overview of the existing research on the role of social media and bereavement, and discusses the practical implications of social media as it relates to assisting grieving individuals.  Dr. Carla Sofka focuses on the pros and cons of the use of social media in bereavement contexts. Dr. Illene Cupit focuses on the iconography of Facebook postings by both adolescents and emerging adults with regard to their grief expressions.

Learning Objectives
1.    Cite current literature and research findings on the role of social media and bereavement
2.    Identify the practical implications of social media as it relates to assisting grieving individuals
3.    Examine the pros and cons of the use of social media in a bereavement context

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Trust-Building Among African-Americans in End of Life Care
Bordere, Tashel C., PhD

Barriers to trust and quality in end of life care are numerous among marginalized populations. Cultural mistrust, related to factors such as privilege, power, and discrimination has been associated with significant costs for African Americans, including patient dissatisfaction (Moore,  Hamilton, Pierre-Louis, & Jennings, 2013) and delayed and underutilized health and end of life care services. This interactive session explores issues related to cultural mistrust among marginalized populations with major focus on African Americans and strategies for trust-building, maintenance, self-advocacy, and culturally responsive end of life and after care services (e.g., 5 A’s of Culturally Conscientious Care).

Learning Objectives
1.    Define cultural mistrust, barriers, and costs for helping professionals and marginalized individuals and families in end of life and after death care.
2.    Explore social justice theories and concepts, including, privilege, oppression, suffocated grief, and alliance building in loss and grief as well as symbolic interaction and ecological systems theories.
3.    Critically evaluate factors that contribute to trust establishment and effective practice in work with African American families, including the use of the Five A’s of Culturally Conscientious Care.

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The Two-Track Model of Bereavement: A Contemporary Look at Theory, Research and Practice
Rubin, Simon Shimshon, PhD

Living in the present, looking to the future, and maintaining bonds with the relationships of the past--relationships shape who we are and influence who we become. The loss of a close family member has the potential to be a catalytic and/or cataclysmic, life-changing event. The early formulations of the Two-Track Model of Bereavement (Rubin, 1981, 1984, 1999) sought to clarify and chart a pathway to make sense of the  tremendous variation in the  response to loss. With the passage of time and the accumulation of clinical and research data he and  his colleagues have broadened and deepened its scope (Rubin, 2009, 2013; Rubin, Malkinson  & Witztum, 2012). What has remained consistent is the importance of maintaining a bifocal approach, conceptualized as two tracks, for the examination of response to loss. The first track of the response to loss addresses the biopsychosocial response to loss over time. This domain considers the process of responding to the death of a loved one on factors involved in the response to other extremely stressful life events. All such events require adaptation, change and integration, and all can result in variable mixtures of positive, neutral and  negative influences on those affected. The second track, focused most powerfully on the nuances of the  relationship to the deceased, places the preloss experience of the relationship, and the postloss bond to the deceased, at the center of attention. In this presentation, Dr. Rubin presents new insights and perspectives based on the model, its evolution over time, and some of its relevance for those working in the field today. Using theory, clinical material, and research data, this presentation is designed to engage clinicians, researchers, the bereaved and those who support them, in their shared quest to further our understanding of loss and bereavement.

Learning Objectives
1.    Explore  new insights and perspectives based on the Two- Track Model of Bereavement
2.    Examine the evolution of the Model over time and identify some of its relevance for those working in the field today
3.    Utilize theory, clinical material and research data, expand the understanding of loss and bereavement for clinicians, researchers, and allied professionals

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Deconstructing the Case for Complicated Grief
Schuurman, Donna, EdD

Notwithstanding the rejection of a proposed grief-related Mental Disorder after the DSM-5 Task Force determined there was insufficient evident to warrant inclusion, the term, “Complicated Grief” has infiltrated the bereavement field vernacular as a bona fide “chronic debilitating condition” for which CG treatment is required. The dominant discourse and increasingly prevailing paradigm focuses on symptoms and pathology, with little reference to social contributors to grief-related complications. This workshop deconstructs the case for CG through a critical analysis of Shear, et al (2011), wherein proponents compare criteria for “mental disorder building” to the evidence for this particular disorder.

Learning Objectives
1.    Identify flaws in reasoning, bias, and representation of supporting data related to the case for conceptualizing and recognizing Complicated Grief as a Mental Disorder as represented by proponents.
2.    Critique the argument for and against conceptualizing Complicated Grief as a Mental Disorder under the criteria posed for inclusion in the DSM.
3.    Utilize the deconstruction methodology in analyzing journal articles on this topic as well as other relevant topics.

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Our Work, Our Selves
Jordan, John R., PhD; Shear, M. Katherine, MD; Doka, Kenneth J., PhD; Bissler, Jane V., PhD

As thanatologists, we study, write, teach, and help with the dying and bereavement of other people. But what about our own losses? How have our life experiences with death, dying, and bereavement influenced our work? Have they led us into the field? Have they changed how we do the work? Have they changed how we view our own mortality? These important but rarely discussed issues (even within ADEC) are the focus of this presentation. Four thanatologists describe the role of personal loses in shaping their work in thanatology. 

Learning Objectives
1.    Explore how personal losses have influenced and shaped lives as professionals in the field of death and dying.
2.    Examine the influence of personal tragedy and loss in making career decisions.

3.    Apply knowledge and skills acquired to clinical practice.

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Mindfulness & Grief: Coping Skills for Life After Loss
Stang, Heather, MA

Facing the reality that a loved one has died is overwhelming, yet bereaved people also have to cope with physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual suffering. Mindfulness-based techniques – including meditation and yoga –  can help bereaved clients reduce unpleasant side effects while learning powerful coping skills. During this session she uses case examples and practical instruction to explain how mindfulness can be applied as a grief intervention. From clients in an acute period of grief to people further along on their journey, the ancient practice of mindfulness allows bereaved people to experience grief without becoming grief itself.

Learning Objectives
1.    Explore how personal losses have influenced and shaped lives as professionals in the field of death and dying.
2.    Examine the influence of personal tragedy and loss in making career decisions.
3.    Apply knowledge and skills acquired to clinical practice.

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How to Start and Facilitate a Bereavement Support Group
Borgman, C. Jan, MSW, LISW-S, FT

Many people who experience the death of a loved one will state that they feel very isolated and wonder if anyone else is experiencing similar feelings. Sometimes, family and friends aren’t able to provide the support needed. Bringing people together to talk about their loved one and to find a “safe harbor” can ease the burden of grieving alone. It takes a lot of time and energy to get the group started and to keep it going. Recruitment techniques, marketing tips, and other start up issues are discussed. Group rules, confidentiality, and other group-specific concerns are covered.

Learning Objectives
1.    Discuss the healing power of bereavement support groups.
2.    Develop a plan for implementing a bereavement support group.
3.    Identify at least three key points for a successful group.

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Compassion for Ourselves: Rejuvenate Mind, Body, and Spirit
Wasserman, Fredda, MA, MPH, LMFT, CT

As professionals, we are experts at supporting clients and patients on their journeys through end of life and grief. We witness the emotional turmoil that ebbs and flows in and around them and we are profoundly transformed by the experience. Along with the many rewards of this intimate, heart-centered work, comes a variety of challenges. Honoring our own need for rejuvenation is an essential component of our well-being. Taking time to nurture and revitalize ourselves is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. This experiential workshop utilizes guided imagery, ritual, and personal reflection designed to enhance self-compassion and resilience.

Learning Objectives
1.    Discuss the healing power of bereavement support groups.
2.    Develop a plan for implementing a bereavement support group.
3.    Identify at least three key points for a successful group.

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Is Evidence-Based Practice Appropriate for Grief Counseling
Attig, Thomas, PhD

Evidence-based practice (EBP) was first widely accept- ed and  implemented by physicians and  then adopted by nursing and  other healthcare professions. It has also come into prominence in psychology. Many urge that it should be foundational for grief counseling. This presentation explores the similarities and differences among these disciplines and the appropriate places given to research evidence, clinical expertise, and client needs, values and preferences within them. It invites participants to systematically evaluate the extent to which EBP is an appropriate model for grief counseling.

Learning Objectives
1.    Identify the three major components of integrated evidence-based practice research evidence, clinical expertise and patient values.
2.    Evaluate the appropriateness, strengths and criticisms of evidence-based practice in medicine and psychology practice.
3.    List reasons for hesitating in using an evidence-based practice model for grief counseling and for preferring an alternative art-of-caring model.

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