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When Grief is Complicated


Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm - Eastsound Fire Station Meeting Room

2.5 DSHS Approved CE Credits

Hospice Foundation of America Video Presentation and Local Panel Discussion

Watch Ken Doka, PhD, MDiv, Robert Neimeyer, PhD, and Therese Rando, PhD, BCETS, BCBT for this discussion of complicated grief moderated by Frank Sesno. While most people are able to cope with the pain of loss, up to 10 to 20 percent of bereaved persons have more complicated reactions that may impair and impede functioning for a prolonged period of time. This program is designed to assist counselors and others working with bereaved persons understand, assess and assist individuals who may be experiencing such complicated forms of bereavement. The presentation begins with an overview of contemporary work on complicated grief, then explores interventive strategies to support grievers experiencing complicated forms of grief. 

The program will present a 2 hour video and will conclude with a 30 minute live panel discussion staffed with Hospice, Alzheimer’s and dementia providers from our community. 

DESCRIPTION: While most individuals experiencing loss face grief, most grievers can cope with loss and subsequent grief in ways defined by their culture as appropriate and can fulfill, after brief and intermittent impairment, their social and workplace roles. However, research shows that between 10 and 20 percent of individuals who experience loss experience more disabling reactions, including Complicated Grief or other conditions triggered by the loss, such as PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, or substance abuse. Complicated Grief reactions may also be a factor in physical illness. This program looks at how to identify disabling grief reactions and when referrals to specially trained clinicians or professionals may be indicated and necessary. This is Hospice Foundation of America’s 2017 Living with Grief® program.

Participants must attend the entire 2.5 hour program (2 hour video presentation plus 30-minute post program discussion). Partial credit is not awarded. 
At the conclusion of this conference, participants will be able to:
  1. Describe typical grief patterns and differentiate typical grief from more complicated forms;
  2. List and describe both two typologies of complicated grief;
  3. List and describe six danger signs of complicated grief;
  4. Describe the ways that the DSM 5 acknowledges complications of grief;
  5. Describe and discuss different approaches to treating complicated forms of grief and note resources that might be utilized in such treatment.

  • The Nature of Complicated Grief
    • Understanding Typical and Complicated Grief
      • Typical Grief
      • Signs and Symptoms of Complicated Grief
    • Typologies of Complicated Grief
      • Worden’s Typology
      • Rando’s Typology
      • Webb – Grief as Disabling
    • Developments in the DSM 5
      • Proposals to the DSM 5
      • Complicated Grief in the DSM 5
  • Supporting Grievers Experiencing Complicated Grief
    • Screening and Assessing Grief
      • Risk Factors
      • Instruments
    • Therapeutic Approaches
      • Rando – Treatment of Complicated Mourning
      • Worden – Task Oriented Approach
      • Shear – Therapy for Complicated Grief
      • Grief and Trauma
    • Resources
  • Conclusion: Next Steps


Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv, is a professor of gerontology at the Graduate School of The College of New Rochelle and senior consultant to Hospice Foundation of America. Dr. Doka serves as editor of HFA’s Living with Grief® book series, its Journeys newsletter, and numerous other books and publications. Dr. Doka has served as a panelist on HFA’s Living with Grief® video programs for 22 years. He is a past president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and received the Special Contributions Award in the field of Death Education from the Association for Death Education and Counseling. He is a member and past chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. In 2006, Dr. Doka was grandfathered in as a mental health counselor under New York’s first state licensure of counselors. Dr. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister. 

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Neimeyer has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved and Grief and the Expressive Arts: Practices for Creating Meaning, the latter with Barbara Thompson, and serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies. The author of nearly 500 articles and book chapters and a frequent workshop presenter, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process. Neimeyer served as President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and Chair of the International Work Group 4 for Death, Dying, & Bereavement. 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. 

Therese A. Rando, PhD, BCETS, BCBT, is a clinical psychologist in Warwick, Rhode Island. She is the Clinical Director of The Institute for the Study and Treatment of Loss, which provides mental health services through psychotherapy, training, supervision, and consultation, and specializes in: loss and grief; traumatic stress; and the psychosocial care of persons with chronic, life-threatening, or terminal illness, and their loved ones. Since 1970, she has consulted, conducted research, provided therapy, written, and lectured internationally in areas related to loss, grief, illness, dying, and trauma. She also has provided expert witness testimony in legal proceedings involving illness or bereavement. Current professional foci include treatment of complicated mourning, loss of a child, the interface between posttraumatic stress and grief, anticipatory mourning, specialized intervention techniques in the treatment of traumatic bereavement, and the integration of EMDR into intervention with grief and mourning. Dr. Rando holds a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island and has received advanced training in psychotherapy and in medical consultation-liaison psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University Medical School and University Hospitals of Cleveland. A former consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Hospice Education Program for Nurses, she developed its program for training hospice nurses to cope with loss, grief, and terminal illness. Her current research interests focus on the operations and courses of anticipatory and postdeath mourning; development of a short-term treatment protocol for survivors of traumatic loss; construction of a self-help program for coping with the sudden death of a loved one; and integrating EMDR with group intervention for traumatic loss survivors.

LOCAL PANELISTS: to be announced

To register for this event, click HERE 

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