Course Description

As contemporary models of bereavement have become more nuanced and empirically informed, so too have the practices available to grief counselors and therapists. This two-day workshop offers in-depth training in several of these techniques, nesting them both within the therapeutic relationship and in the context of current theories and research that provide flexible frameworks for intervention. Making extensive use of actual clinical videos as well as how -to instruction in the use a numerous therapeutic tools, we will discuss and practice several methods for helping clients integrate the reality of the loss into the ongoing story of their lives, while also reconstructing their continuing bond to their loved one.

Learning Objectives:
DAY 1:

  • Distinguish between therapeutic “presence” and “absence” in the process of therapy
  • Recognize empirical risk factors associated with complicated grief reactions
  • Implement restorative retelling and situational revisiting procedures for mastering the event story of the loss
  • Differentiate between forms of directed journaling that foster self-immersion and self-distancing to modulate emotions evoked by the death
  • Outline metaphoric and body-oriented procedures for exploring the sensed meanings of the client’s grief
  • Describe narrative techniques for accommodating both ambiguous and unambiguous loss into the changed narrative of the client’s life

DAY 2:

  • Identify dimensions of insecure attachment that complicate adaptation to the death
  • Distinguish between healthy and unhealthy features of continuing bonds with the deceased
  • Describe two procedures for detecting obstacles to accommodating the loss deriving from invisible loyalties to the loved one
  • Practice two techniques for consolidating a constructive bond with the deceased as the client transitions toward a changed future
  • Choreograph imaginal dialogues between the client and the deceased to reaffirm love and resolve residual conflicts and disappointments
  • Direct experiential work to access and restructure problematic emotions linked to the loss and its aftermath.


Course Details


Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, and also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy and Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning (both with Routledge), and serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies. The author of over 500 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaningmaking process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops for national and international audiences.

The founder and Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, Neimeyer also has served as Chair of the International Work Group for Death, Dying, & Bereavement and President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, made a Fellow of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, and given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning. For more information, see: www.robertneimeyerphd.com



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