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Specialty Workshops

Wednesday, April 29
Full Day: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Unfinished Business in Bereavement:  Resolving Relational Issues with the Dead

Presenters: Drs. Robert A. Neimeyer, Jason M. Holland, and Agnieszka Konopka

Category: Assessment and Intervention 
Indicator: Resources and Research 
Presentation Level: Advanced

This experiential workshop focuses on assessment and intervention strategies for bereaved individuals with a pronounced sense of unfinished business (UB) with the deceased, in the form of unresolved issues, conflicts, ambivalence or missed opportunities that continue to generate distress long after the death occurs. Participants will learn about evidence-based risk factors for UB, as well as how to pinpoint clinical targets using the newly developed Unfinished Business in Bereavement Scale (UBBS). They will then explore a generous toolkit of intervention techniques for UB, drawing on body work, imaginal, symbolic, narrative and performative procedures to promote their transformation and healing.

Objectives

  • Assess unfinished business in bereavement and determine whether it is a cause for clinical concern. 
  • Identify risk factors for unfinished business as well as common co-occurring problems and conditions.
  • Implement a range of interventions for unfinished business grounded in current bereavement theory and research.
     

Wednesday, April 29
Full Day: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Restorative Retelling:  Support After a Sudden, Traumatic Death

Presenter: Laura Takacs, LICSW, MPH

Category: Traumatic Death
Indicator: Resources and Research 
Presentation Level: Intermediate

Sudden, traumatic death can leave loved ones overwhelmed by horrifying images, guilt, anxiety and grief, desperate to find a resource to help.  If not trained to address the combined distress of trauma and grief often experienced after a sudden, traumatic death, counselors may also feel anxious, frustrated and challenged without a clear model of support and intervention. This presentation will include audio-visual tapes illustrating therapy techniques and pilot studies documenting significant pre/post improvement.

Laura Takacs, Clinical Director at Virginia Mason Medical Center Grief Services, Seattle, WA, will provide an interactive training on Restorative Retelling, a therapeutic model that addresses both the trauma and grief experienced after a sudden, traumatic death of a loved one.  Laura has worked closely with Dr. Ted Rynearson who developed the model for sudden, traumatic death.

Objectives:

  • Understand common responses experienced by survivors after a sudden, traumatic vs anticipated death. 
  • Describe the principles of the Restorative Retelling model.
  • Implement clinical techniques to process both the life and death of a deceased loved one.


Wednesday, April 29
Half Day AM Workshop: 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. (noon)

Counseling Individuals with Life-Threatening Illness

Presenters: Kenneth J Doka, PhD, and Lynda Shand, PhD

Category:  Dying
Indicator: Family & Individual
Presentation Level: Intermediate

This session is meant to assist counselors and other end-of-life professionals as they help individuals, their families and other caregivers cope with life-threatening illness--offering a task-based model. While the model addresses the scope of a life-threatening illness, the session focuses primarily on the terminal phase where the goals of treatment is no longer to cure illness or significantly extend life but rather to offer palliative care. The emphasis here is that while pain management is critical, holistic care involves attention to the social, psychological and spiritual needs, of individuals with the illness as well as the needs of their families and caregivers.

Objectives: 

  • Identify the phases of life-threatening illness and describe the tasks (including ethical) an individual faces in adapting to life-threatening illness;
  • Discuss the experiences of family members caring for the dying person, noting their needs and reactions as well as factors that can facilitate or complicate adaptation to the illness and subsequent grief;
  • Evaluate and describe clinical interventions that are appropriate for individuals as they struggle with the physical, spiritual, psychological and social issues that inevitably arise in life-threatening illness and grief;
  • Describe three models of ethical decision-making including the social ecological model.

 

Wednesday, April 29
Half Day AM Workshop: 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. (noon)

Fostering Posttraumatic Growth in Bereaved Children and Adolescents

Presenter: Pamela Gabbay, EdD, FT

Category:  Loss, Grieving, Mourning
Indicator: Family & Individual
Presentation Level: Intermediate

This interactive workshop will discuss how children and adolescents may experience posttraumatic growth as they work through the death of someone close. Posttraumatic growth encompasses personal transformation that can emerge from crisis, death, and traumatic events. Growth may occur over time as bereaved youth begin to grapple and come to terms with the death. Professionals can employ various techniques to foster posttraumatic growth. These include utilizing expressive art activities, as well as fostering deliberate rumination with narrative reconstruction and perspective building. Activities such as these enable grieving youth the opportunity to explore their experiences of positive change and growth. Examples of art work and activities will be included in this workshop, as well as ample time for discussion. 

Objectives: 

  • Attendees will increase their understanding of the construct of posttraumatic growth and be able to identify the five domains of posttraumatic growth.
  • Attendees will learn techniques to foster posttraumatic growth in children and adolescents.
  • Attendees will be able to describe art-related activities that children and adolescents can do to explore their growth through grief.
     

Wednesday, April 29
Half Day PM Workshop: 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Posttraumatic Growth from Young Adult to Later Life Losses

Presenter: Melinda Moore, PhD

Category:  Loss, Grieving, Mourning
Indicator: Life Span
Presentation Level: Intermediate

Research on bereavement, especially suicide bereavement, has focused on the psychopathology of this loss. A new area of positive psychology, Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), offers another vehicle for understanding the consequences of these experiences by investigating the possibilities for personal growth within the context of any sudden and traumatic death. In studies of college students and bereaved veterans and military family members, PTG was demonstrated to co-exist with suicidality, depression, anxiety, and Posttraumatic Stress, however, those who were engaging in activities that facilitate PTG demonstrated better scores across all mental health indicators as well as higher levels of PTG.

Objectives: 

  • Describe posttraumatic growth derived from young adulthood to mid-life and older adult bereavement.
  • Describe what predicts posttraumatic growth for bereaved military veterans and military family members through the outcomes of two studies examining groups of military bereaved.
  • Describe how resilience protects against posttraumatic depreciation associated with traumatic experiences such as suicide exposure and bereavement.
     

Wednesday, April 29
Half Day PM Workshop: 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Meeting the Unique Needs of Widowed Parents

Presenter: Justin Yopp, PhD

Category:  Assessment and Intervention
Indicator: Resources and Research
Presentation Level: Intermediate

This workshop will inform attendees on grieving challenges as they relate to widowed parents – mothers and fathers who have lost spouses or partners and are raising children at home – and share intervention strategies that are tailored to this population.  Widowed parents are at heightened risk for deleterious psychosocial outcomes that impact their children as well.  After reviewing the latest research findings, the presenter will discuss ways to help parents meet four broad bereavement challenges.  The workshop will also highlight a support group approach for widowed parents that can be readily adopted by attendees for use in their local areas.

Objectives: 

  • Identify reasons for the unique bereavement challenges facing widowed parents.
  • Explore interventions specific to widowed parents, including the support group approach
  • Describe the latest research on widowed parents.