Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction: 4 Part Online Series Featuring Dr. Robert Neimeyer
Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction: 4 Part Online Series Featuring Dr. Robert Neimeyer is organized by Jack Hirose & Associates Inc.
Expire Date: July 23, 2021
CME Accreditation: 12 CEUs
Part One: Death may end a life, but not necessarily a relationship. Drawing on an attachment-informed and Two-Track models of bereavement, we will begin by considering grieving as a process of reconstructing rather than relinquishing our bonds with those who have died, and the circumstances that can interfere with this natural process. Clinical videos bearing on a range of losses will sensitize learners to various impediments to reorganizing the “back story” of the ongoing relationship with the deceased, as we also note several techniques that can help move such work forward. Participants will practice a creative technique for mapping their “secure base” relationships and leave with a framework for conceptualizing attachment issues complicating adjustment to bereavement and a tool for assessing features of the “back story” of their experiences with the deceased that merit attention in grief counselling and therapy.
Part Two: Whether they are striving to restore a sense of secure attachment to a loved one lost to death or to resolve lingering relational issues with the deceased, mourners frequently need to reengage those they have lost rather than relinquish the bond and “move on.” In this program we will explore and practice several creative narrative, emotion-focused and conversational methods for re-introducing the deceased into the social and psychological world of the bereaved, fostering a sustaining sense of connection and alliance with the loved one in embracing a changed future, and working through issues of guilt, anger and abandonment triggered by the death and the shared life that preceded it. Participants will leave with tools for assessing factors that complicate grieving, helping clients appreciate the role of the loved one in their construction of their own identities, and re-access and revise frozen dialogues with the deceased that interfere with post-loss adaptation.
Part Three: As contemporary models of bereavement have become more nuanced and empirically informed, so too have the practices available to counsellors and therapists who work with complicated, prolonged and debilitating forms of grief. This module offers in-depth training in several of these techniques, nesting them both within the therapy relationship and in the context of current theories and research that provide flexible, trauma-informed frameworks for intervention.
Beginning with a discussion of the power of presence as a fundamental dimension of the therapeutic “holding environment,” we will consider how we can quickly assess our clients’ needs and readiness for change. We will then discuss how to create a safe relational container for a healing “re-telling” of the loss experience, anchoring such work in both contemporary Meaning Reconstruction and Dual Process models and related research. Drawing on clinical videos of clients contending with losses through sudden natural death, accident and suicide, we will learn to listen between the lines of the stories clients tell themselves and others about the death to grasp more fully the unvoiced meaning of their grief, and how we can help them integrate the event story of the death into lives with less reactivity, and find a compassionate audience for its telling.
Part Four: Adaptive grieving implies integrating the loss into our changed sense of who we are, as well as into the changed story of our lives. In this module we consider two techniques for helping mourners discern the deeper significance of their experience, and in doing so identify the important needs and life lessons implicit in them. First, we will learn to listen between the lines of the stories clients tell themselves and others about the death to grasp more fully the unvoiced meaning of their grief, which often resides at the level of their embodied emotion. Drawing on both video of an actual session with a traumatically bereaved mother and a Telehealth demonstration of the method, we will explore the role of metaphor in helping clients reach beyond literal language to symbolize how they carry their grief, and what it can tell them and us about how they now might move toward healing.
We then consider innovations in journaling that prompt clients to name and claim the emotional impact of their losses, and also to step back, make greater sense of what they have been through and perhaps even encounter unsought benefits in it. Alternating between jointly negotiated journaling homework and its seamless integration into subsequent therapy sessions, reflective writing can prompt the self-compassion, insight and action required to reconstruct life out of loss.
• Identify dimensions of insecure attachment that complicate adaptation to the death
• Summarize the Two-Track Model of bereavement and its use in identifying problems meriting clinical attention
• Utilize a validated measure of the quality of the relationship with the deceased to pinpoint a focus for intervention
• Apply Secure Base Mapping to trace sustaining bonds over time to identify internal and external resources to promote adaptation to life transitions
• Discuss the concept of continuing bonds with the deceased and identify how it can both support and interfere with adaptive grieving
• Practice two techniques for consolidating a constructive bond with the deceased as the client transitions toward a changed future
• Summarize the use of the Unfinished Business in Bereavement Scale for assessing residual conflicts and disappointments in the relationship with the deceased that invite therapeutic work
• Use the Life Imprint technique to recognize the living legacy of the deceased for the survivor at both concrete and abstract levels
• Distinguish between therapeutic “presence” and “absence” in the process of therapy
• Summarize the essential features of Meaning Reconstruction and Dual Process models of grief and outline their implications for grief therapy
• Implement restorative retelling procedures for mastering the event story of the loss
• Practice the use of audio recording of an event story of loss, and reflexively journal about the utility of this process.
• Summarize guidelines for Analogical Listening as a procedure to help clients make greater sense of their emotions and themselves
• Describe how a non-literal, figurative form of inquiry into the felt sense of loss can help clients symbolize their implicit embodied meanings
• Distinguish between emotion-focused, sense-making and benefit-finding approaches to journaling and highlight the role of each
• Implement procedures for establishing safe entry into and exit from immersive and reflective journaling, and generalize to its use in therapy
- CEUs : 12
- Hours : 12
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