Transforming Loss

Living with Grief®:

Although we have little choice about loss and the ensuing grief, we do retain choice on whether we will grow up or down, or grow bitter or better as a result of our loss. This program explores the most current theoretical perspectives on loss and grief, emphasizing that loss engenders not only grief, but also growth. The presentation addresses the phenomena of post-traumatic growth, noting research on the concept as well as strategies professionals can use in assisting grieving individuals. In addition, individuals struggling with loss will learn self-help strategies as they cope with loss.
At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:
1. Define posttraumatic growth and differentiate it from resilience;
2. Identify factors associated with resilience and posttraumatic growth;
3. Discuss five possible and identified areas of growth;
4. Describe ways that support groups can facilitate posttraumatic growth;
5. Describe appropriate interventive strategies that encourage posttraumatic growth;
6. Identify self-help strategies that can assist grieving individuals to grow even as they grieve.
Part I: Understanding Growth in Grief
     1. Growth is possible throughout the life cycle and in a range of loss situations. (5 min. panel discussion)
     2. The individual experiences of bereaved persons, focusing on increased research and interest on resilience and posttraumatic growth (10 min. panel                    discussion)
     3. Defining Growth and resiliency and their similarities and differences (10 min. panel discussion)
          A. Perceptible positive change
          B. Growth is on a continuum, from minor to life-transforming
          C. Internal and external factors that are conducive to growth
     4. Resilience and growth – how are they related? (15 min. panel discussion)
          A. Resilient grievers cope well with significant loss
          B. The relationship between resilience and growth is debated
          C. Does positive change occur naturally or though the stress-related struggle?
          D. Resilience may be needed to achieve growth
Part II: Transforming Loss
     1. Strategies to achieve growth (10 min. panel discussion)
          A. Faith, and philosophical traditions and cultural perspectives
          B. Individual external and internal strengths
     2. Examples of strength-based approaches for counselors (12 min. panel discussion)
          A. Using a language of survivorship that emphasizes concepts such as challenge, choice, and confidence.
          B. Reframe the loss to foster positive narratives
     3. Techniques for peer support groups to achieve growth (12 min. panel discussion)
          A. Labels and organization
          B. Consistently assess and share the growths experienced, both individually and collectively
          C. Transformation, rather than coping as a therapeutic goal for groups
          D. Recognition of the valued roles that support groups play
     4. Menu of grief support options and how they should be utilized to support growth after grief (10 min. panel discussion)
          A. Individual and group support
          B. Varied group modalities
          C. Educational events
          D. Opportunities for ritual
     5. Growth can also occur in bereavement professionals (6 min. panel discussion)
          A. Expanded skills, perspectives and spirituality
          B. Alternative to compassion fatigue
Frank Sesno is director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University, a former anchor for CNN, and a longtime moderator of the Living with Grief® program. He is an Emmy-award winning journalist and creator of, a user-driven web and television project that highlights innovations in sustainability, and he is the author of Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions and Spark Change.
Patti Anewalt, PhD, LPC, FT, is the Director of Pathways Center for Grief & Loss with Hospice & Community Care, serving Lancaster, York and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania. She is a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement and a fellow in thanatology with the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Dr. Anewalt is a disaster mental health specialist for the American Red Cross and serves on several community crisis teams, providing trainings, debriefings, and support. She is a contributing author to HFA’s Journeys bereavement newsletter. Dr. Anewalt has had key leadership roles with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s bereavement committees, and in that capacity has mentored hospice bereavement professionals throughout the country. She is a frequent presenter at many national hospice conferences.
Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv, is Senior Bereavement Consultant to HFA and a Professor of Gerontology at the Graduate School of The College of New Rochelle. He serves as editor of HFA’s Living with Grief® book series and its Journeys bereavement newsletter. He is a prolific author, editor, and lecturer; past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling and a member and past chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement. The Association for Death Education and Counseling presented him with an Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education in 1998. Dr. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister and a licensed mental health counselor in the state of New York. This is Dr. Doka’s 25th year of involvement with the Living with Grief® program.
Richard Tedeschi, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a member of the core faculty for the Health Psychology PhD program at UNC. Dr. Tedeschi serves as a consultant to the American Psychological Association (APA) on trauma and resilience. He is a fellow for the Division of Trauma Psychology at APA and has he has written several books on posttraumatic growth, an area of research he developed. Dr. Tedeschi is past president of the North Carolina Psychological Association. Dr. Tedeschi’s specific research interests include posttraumatic growth in survivors of various traumas, including combat, serious illness, bereavement, and natural disaster; grief and loss; and clinical interventions to facilitate posttraumatic growth in trauma survivors.
Pamela Kushner, MA, MD, FAAFP, Clinical Professor Family Medicine, University of California Irvine
Lynda Shand, CHPN, CNE, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, The College of New Rochelle
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