Conference Agenda 2014

Printable Program with building maps (13 page PDF)

Pre-Conference Workshop:
June 1, 2014
Time Activity
7:30-8:30 a.m. Registration
Continental Breakfast
8:30-10 a.m.

Pre-conference Workshop
Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D.Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D., C.T., Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School of Social & Behavioral Science, Mercy College, N.Y.

Construct – Destruct – Construct: Creating Your New Pathway

Dr. Robert Neimeyer is one of a small handful of men and women who are leading the way from sorrowto hope. Neimeyer, in his Meaning Reconstruction & the Experience of Loss, guides through a reconstruction and experience that, when rooted in meaning discernment, can draw one’s own conclusions and achieve a measure of contentment and hope. With the intensity of losses and related issues that threaten our very being, we need a pathway that isn't like blocks or stops on a Monopoly Board. It reestablishes the griever as the architect of his/her own journey while creating the markers that now serve as the reconstruction pathways that move us through and onward.


  1. Introduce this concept or operating plan to the participants as we experience theory moving praxis and praxis into life.
  2. Explain the concepts of "construct" and "destruct" in terms of dealing with grief.
  3. Define plans of actions to aid in life tragedies.
10-10:15 a.m. Break
10:15-11:45 a.m. Construct – Destruct – Construct: Creating Your New Pathway (cont.)
Pre-conference Workshop
Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D., C.T., Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School of Social & Behavioral Science, Mercy College, N.Y.
11:45 a.m.-4 p.m. Bookstore
Hosted by the Centering Corporation
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Lunch
12:45-2:15 p.m. Susan A. Adams, Ph.D.Pre-conference Workshop
Susan A. Adams, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Counseling and Development, Texas Women's College, Denton, Texas

"YIPES!!! What Do I Do When the Puzzle Pieces Don't Fit?"

People seem to always be looking forward to what is; living "as if" there is always a tomorrow on the horizon. However, when traumatic death enters, hopes and dreams for the future are shattered. The personal assumptive world view becomes challenged to the point of teetering on the brink of a black abyss for many. This workshop will explore examples of traumatic death across the lifespan and how the struggle of making meaning out of the shattered puzzle pieces of life impact the grieving process - directly and indirectly - and how facing the challenge of making meaning can have the power to build a bridge across that black abyss.


  1. Examine current research and multiple examples across the lifespan to identify the impact between traumatic death and the emotional loss that occurs from that experience.
  2. Identify support systems and coping strategies; both those that function and those that fail to function.
  3. Discuss the concept of meaning-making and how it can be used to build a bridge across the black abyss of shattered dreams and hopes for the future. 
2:15-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-4 p.m. "YIPES!!! What Do I Do When the Puzzle Pieces Don't Fit?" (cont.)
Pre-conference Workshop

Susan A. Adams, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Counseling and Development, Texas Women's College, Denton, Texas
5-7 p.m. Mississippi River Cruise MORE
Conference Schedule
June 2, 2014
Time Activity
7:30-9 a.m. Registration
Continental Breakfast
8-8:15 a.m. Welcome and Announcements
8:15-8:45 a.m. Opening Ceremony: Storytelling by Andy
Andy McNiel, M.A., Chief Executive Officer, National Alliance for Grieving Children
8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Exhibits and Bookstore - Hosted by Centering Corporation
9-10:30 a.m. Robert Stevenson, Ph.D.Keynote Session
Robert G. Stevenson, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Sudden Loss, Trauma and Personal Crisis: Coping with the Aftermath

Counselors, educators and parents are often called upon to help individuals who are facing personal crises due to sudden or traumatic loss. This presentation will focus on recognizing individuals in crisis, measuring the degree of impairment, such as equilibrium and mobility, and explain specific responses that can help such individuals. The presenter draws on practical experience as a classroom teacher, a school counselor and his work with the NY Guard in New York City after the tragedy of 9/11/2001.


  1. Identify possible signs of Post-Traumatic Stress in those who have experienced trauma.
  2. List the main focus of several possible interventions with clients in crisis.
  3. Distinguish the effects of the types of violence on survivors and their methods of coping.
10:30-11 a.m. Break
10:30-11 a.m.

Poster Sessions

"Get That Damn Camera Out of My Face!" When News Coverage Tyrannizes Grieving Individuals
Harold Ivan Smith, DMin., F.T., Thanatologist, self-employed, Kansas City, Mo.
"Inquiring minds want to know" about traumas that lead to death, given the development of the 24-hour news cycle and the fixation with “Breaking news: this just in” priority coverage of traumas: murder, suicide,vehicular accidents, and catastrophic incidents. This coverage attracts readership/viewership and promotes the careers of reporters. Increasingly, reporters intrude into the trauma zones seeking interviews and sound bytes both during or immediately following the trauma but also during post-trauma legal proceedings. No few victims snap, “Get that damned camera out of my face!” or threaten violence against reporters and photographers. Media coverage can re-traumatize survivors..


  1. To examine historic coverage of traumatic incidents, primarily by newspapers.
  2.  To explore the public’s de-sentization to coverage of traumatic incidents.
  3. To identify ways for victims of secondary traumatization by media to diffuse the impact.

Exploding Houses, Wild Animals and Spiders: Dreams and Nightmares Following Sudden or Traumatic Death
Janet Buntrock, Rev., M.A., L.P.C., F.T., Sole Proprietor Candlelight Counselor, Military Family Life Counselor, (Independent Contractor), Affiliate Instructor Colorado Christian University, Lakewood, Colo.
This is a research-based presentation on the impact of traumatic and sudden death on the dream life of the individual who has experienced such a loss. In addition to research, the presenter will provide samples of dream/nightmare journal entries from individuals who experienced trauma due to SIDS, SUDS, homicide, suicide, September 11th and the shootings at Columbine . This presentation has its roots in the presenter's early exposure to sudden death and her ongoing work in the field of thanatology. There will be time in this session for participants to look at their own losses and revisit any dreams or nightmares they might have experienced due to individual or communal traumatic loss.


  1. To assist clinicians in understanding the impact of trauma on dreams and nightmares.
  2. To give counselors and therapists a sense of what it means to feel as if one is going crazy and to give the clinicians some tools to assist their clients.
  3. To spend some time reflecting on how each of us views dreams and to increase our awareness of the value of dream work.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions (choose one)

It Didn't Happen To Me, So Why am I Hurting? Secondary Traumatization Among Healthcare Workers
Richard Forest, D.Min., CT, Chaplain, Norton Healthcare/Kosair Children's Hospital, Louisville, Ky.
Repeated exposure to traumatic events extreme individual events can result in emergency healthcare workers themselves becoming traumatized. This traumatization often leads to emotional and psychological distress that can result in serious repercussions for the healthcare institution through higher than average turnover rates and employees who are less able to provide the care that their patients so desperately need. This session will address the risks to these helpers and explore ways in which they can develop resilience to allow themselves to rebound from difficult situations. 


  1. Describe signs of secondary traumatization.
  2. Describe interventions to help those traumatized by caregiving.
  3. Describe methods to encourage a culture of resilience in the workplace.

"It Didn't Happen to Me" | Sudden Death Notification and Broken-Heart Syndrome: Implications of a Grieving Mother’s (Literal) Heartache
Laurel E. Hilliker, Ph.D., C.P., Assistant Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Center to Advance the Study of Loss, Park University, Kansas City, Mo.  
News of a sudden death can have devastating effects on individuals. Unfortunately, in some cases, notification of a death is delivered without proper support and individuals may experience what experts call Broken Heart Syndrome [BHS]. During BHS, surging stress hormones stun the heart and trigger changes in heart muscle cells or coronary blood vessels [or both] preventing the left ventricle from contracting effectively [Harvard, 2013]. This presentation, through a case example, will explore the unfortunate and untimely hospitalization of a mother diagnosed with BHS, which then complicated the planning of the funeral for her young adult son and her bereavement.


  1. To examine those most vulnerable to experience Broken Heart Syndrome and recognize the symptoms related to the condition.
  2. To assess procedures and practices recommended for conveyance of a death notice to the next of kin.
  3. To identify essential elements for the development of educational programs to assist those charged with bearing the burden of delivering unexpected tragic news.

Interventions for the Forgotten Mourners – Emerging Adults in Traumatic Grief
Patricia Grace, Faculty/Counselor, Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, Cloquet, Minn.
Coral Popowitz, MA, MSW, LGSW, Executive Director, Children's Grief Connection of Minnesota, Willow River, Minn.
Emerging adults, ages 17-24 - not quite children and not quite adults - are often forgotten when it comes to resources available to them after a traumatic death. They are living away from home for the first time, away from their support network, highly influenced by their peers, with limited range of services for their age group. So what happens when they experience a traumatic grief? How do you identify and connect with them? What interventions work best with them? How does social media play a part for the person who is not fully mature, but treated as fully developed in an emerging adult culture?


  1. Participants will recognize the developmental and cultural-context needs of emerging adults when faced with traumatic grief.
  2. Identify traumatic grief relievers and discussion of interventions.
  3. Participants will engage in interactive experiences likely to benefit emerging adults.
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-3 p.m.

Neil Thompson, B.A.(Hons)Keynote Session
Neil Thompson, B.A.(Hon.), C.Q.S.W., M.B.A., Ph.D., DLitt., Q.D.R., F.H.E.A., F.C.I.P.D., F.R.S.A., Managing Director, Avenue Consulting Ltd., Wales, U.K.

Traumatic Loss:  An Existentialist Perspective

Loss is part and parcel of everyday life, but some forms of loss can be so disruptive of our day-to-day experience, our spirituality and even our identity that they merit the title of ‘traumatic losses’. This presentation explores how existentialist thought can help us cast light on what is happening to someone when they undergo a traumatic loss.


  1. Understand traumatic loss from an existentialist perspective.
  2. Explore key issues of identity, spirituality, and biographical disruption.
  3. Consider the practical implications of adopting an existentialist approach.
3-3:15 p.m. Break
3:15-4:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions (choose one)

Ghost Bikes as Spontaneous Memorialization and their Impact on Maintaining Continuing Bonds with the Deceased
Janna Henning, J.D., Psy.D., F.T., B.C.E.T.S., Adler School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, Ill.
Ghost bikes are spontaneous memorializations of bicyclists killed by vehicles, affixed at the place of death. Each includes a bicycle painted starkly white and makes a statement about road safety, yet is uniquely decorated to honor the individual’s life. This presentation examines Chicago ghost bikes, including one that honors the presenter’s bicyclist partner, and discusses the experience of creating the ghost bike, public reactions to the memorial, exposed cultural/community conflicts associated with this form of ritual and memorialization, and the use of the ghost bike by the presenter, friends, family and the community in maintaining continuing bonds with the deceased.


  1. Understand the commemorative and perfomative functions of ghost bikes and other spontaneous memorials in creating meaning after unexpected, violent or traumatic loss.
  2. Identify the cultural factors and potentially competing community and political agendas relevant to ghost bikes and other spontaneous memorials.
  3. Describe the ways in which spontaneous memorials such as ghost bikes facilitate the long-term maintenance of continuing relational bonds with deceased loved ones.

Bereavement Experiences: Comparing Assisted Death, Sudden Death and Suicide
Erica Srinivasan, Ph.D., Psychology Dept., University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, Wis.
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill Oregonians to make a request for lethal dosages of medication, prescribed by physicians, for the purpose of ending one’s life. This results in unique grieving experiences for family members. In this study, participants compared grief experiences from assisted death with grief from various types of sudden death and suicides. Results from this study indicate that grief from an assisted death is easier to cope with than grief from other modes of death. Participants felt better prepared for their loved one’s death, including saying goodbye and making sense of the death.


  1. Learn about the differences between grief from an assisted death, various types of sudden death and suicide.
  2. Learn about the similarities between grief from an assisted death, various types of sudden death and suicide.
  3. Understand the requirements for the Oregon Death With Dignity Act and grief from assisted death.

Recognizing Complicated Grief when Treating Traumatic Grief Clients
Marcia Williams, M.S.N., M.S., L.P.C., Systematic Perspectives-Mental Health Clinic, Brookfield, Wis.
This presentation on traumatic grief will focus what has been the presenter's clinical practice for the past 25 years. Research and recent DSMV discussions have led to increased awareness of the need to differentiate between those persons experiencing traumatic grief and those presenting with complicated grief. The presenter will compare and contrast typical traumatic grief with those experiencing complicated grief and where depression possibly fits with grief. Part of the presentation will include family responses to bereavement resulting from the increasing prevalence of heroin overdoses.


  • Define traumatic grief.
  • Define and identify 5 characteristics of complicated grief.
  • Discuss the 3 trajectories of grief as researched by Bonanno.
June 3, 2014
Time Activity
7:30-9 a.m. Registration
Continental Breakfast
8-8:15 a.m. Welcome and Announcements
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Exhibits and Bookstore - Hosted by Centering Corporation
8:15-8:45 a.m. Opening Ceremony: Storytelling by Andy
Andy McNiel, M.A., Chief Executive Officer, National Alliance for Grieving Children
9-10:30 a.m.

Daniel M. Rudofossi, Psy.D., Ph.D.Keynote Session
Daniel M. Rudofossi, Psy.D., Ph.D., Ret. Sgt., New York Police Department

Understanding Traumatic Loss in Public Safety Officers: A Case Example​

​The cumulative stresses and losses of police and public safety is often hidden under the blue code of silence. Media coverage has improved but is still far behind in highlighting the traumatic losses officers endure. Silence shrouds the work of the hero. Not all silence is daft, dull and suppressed. Three officers of the law spanning a range of eight centuries were George Orwell, Herman Melville and Christopher Marlowe. Orwell tackled the intellectual and iron-fisted fascism of double-speak bind in Animal Farm. Melville battled the traumatic impact and the obsessive zeal to win against the leviathan of evil incarnate, as Marlowe capitulated to his Faustian Quest for justice and ultimate truth, finding every road led io Rome. The thread of these three officers is the passion for truth, liberty and self awareness. The crucible of police varies as a menagerie in a Faustian quest for the elusive answers even the zeal of Captain Ahab can't extinguish: The EcoEthological Existential Analysis of Police and Public Safety Complex Trauma and Grief is explored by looking at two examples-one from the FBI and one from the NYPD and the impact when under the sheets of deep cover.


  1. Understanding the EcoEthological Existential Analytic Approach to Repetitive Traumatlc Loss.
  2. Understanding via two case examples how hidden and deeply disenfranchised losses of deep cover affects law enforcement Officers.
  3. How PC agendas stymie those who are the public trust's true heroes.
10:30-11 a.m. Break
10:30-11 a.m.

Poster Sessions

A Disaster Spiritual Care Primer
Peter Ford, M.Div., Lead Chaplain, Winchester Medical Center, Winchester, Va.
This concurrent session will combine lecture and group input to develop a simple action plan for meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of Seniors/Aged during and immediately after a community or mass disaster. It will address the adult adaptation needs of persons from about age 60 through 100+, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of adaptive needs, and will apply the twelve disaster realities to be addressed by disaster spiritual care providers as discussed in my book, "A DISASTER SPIRITUAL CARE PRIMER."


  1. Address the adult adaptation needs of persons from about age 60 through 100+, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of adaptive needs.
  2. Apply the twelve disaster realities to be addressed by disaster spiritual care providers.
  3.  Combine lecture and group input to develop a simple action plan for meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of Seniors.

SoulCOLLAGE: Healing Traumatic Loss through Imagination, Creativity and the Intuitive-Self
Laurel Burnett, L.C.P.C., L.M.H.C., N.C.C., Family Therapy of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, N.M.
SoulCOLLAGE is a creative process developed by Seena Frost (Yale Divinity School, Master's degree in psychology, L.M.F.T.). The "self-created & 100% unique" collage cards become a "visual journal" and a creative and expressive grief release for healing traumatic loss. There can be empowerment in the intuitive spirit that provides the potential for healing during the grief process. Author Carol Staudacher says, "It is the heart that will blaze the trail through the thicket of grief." SoulCollage cards that have been made during individual counseling, bereavement support groups and during major life transitions (following loss) will be displayed in this Poster Session.


  1. Learn how SoulCOLLAGE "got its start" (developed by Seena Frost, L.M.F.T., M.Div.) and the many ways it is being used as a creative and healing resource.
  2. View actual SoulCOLLAGE cards that have been made by individuals who are actively grieving or have experienced death and other losses.
  3. As a "glimpse into the world of SoulCOLLAGE," attendees will participate in an activity that allows the "intuitive spirit" to select pictures or photographs that resonate with a personal loss.
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Concurrent Sessions (choose one)

Wounded Warriors at Risk: The Relationship Between Psychological Disorders and Suicide
Pat Markos, Director, Institute for Professional Studies in Education, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, Wis.
More soldiers are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with psychological and functional impairments. Research indicates that many military Veterans are at increased risk for suicide and are often reluctant to seek out help. This presents a unique challenge to both Veterans Administration (VA) and non-VA healthcare facilities. This presentation will describe the risk factors for suicide as well as prevention and treatment strategies for Wounded Warriors.


  1. Define the risk factors associated with suicide in Veterans.
  2. Describe suicide prevention strategies in working with Veterans.
  3. Describe treatment options for Veterans at risk for suicide.

Pouring Salt in an Open Grief: The Traumatizing Antics of the Westboro Baptist Church
Harold Ivan Smith, D.Min., F.T., Thanatologist, self-employed, Kansas City, Missouri
Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation/cult in Kansas, has developed a national reputation by sabotaging funeral and memorial rituals. Members picket sites for rituals to protest with shout-outs, gestures and pornographic signs denying tolerance of homosexuality. Critics dismiss them as media “stunt-ists.” Given their cyber presence and media manipulation, Westboro does not have to “show up” to traumatize grievers. The threat to appear ignites angst in family members, friends, individuals who participate in the services, and law enforcement. If the funeral is a liturgical drama, particularly following traumatic deaths, what is Westboro’s potential to inflict lasting ritual wounds?


  1. Define “ritual wound” and “ritual insult.”
  2. Explore the history of demonstrations by Westboro Baptist Church.
  3. Assess methods to diffuse the re-truamatization of families, individuals, organizations and communities.

The Aeschi (Switzerland) Conference & Philosophy: Meeting the Suicidal Person
Janet McCord, Ph.D., F.T., Associate Professor of Thanatology; Director, Edwin S. Shneidman Program in Thanatology, Marian University, Fond du Lac, Wis.
Suicide has long been addressed as a symptom of psychiatric disorders, and clinical practice has treated the illness and hoped the suicidality disappears. Beginning in 2000, a group of clinicians met bi-annually, viewed/critically discussed interviews of attempters, and agreed that current practice is not patient-centered and doesn't consider the subjective experience of attempters. In 2002 they recommended a shared understanding of a patient’s suicidality and an awareness of a their experience of mental pain and loss of self-respect. This presentation will outline the history of the Aeschi Philosophy, report on Aeschi 2013, and highlight emerging/promising clinical approaches.


  1. Explain the Aeschi Philosophy of Therapeutic Alliance.
  2. Define and discuss Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality.
  3. Define and discuss the Narrative Action Theoretical Approach and the Attempted Suicide Short Intervention Program.
12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-3 p.m.

Stephanie Rabenstein, M.Sc., RMFTKeynote Session
Stephanie Rabenstein, M.Sc., R.M.F.T., Child and Family Therapist, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Care Program-Outpatient Children's Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada

Family Therapy in the Context of Traumatic Losses

When traumatic losses occur, the family is an important point of entry for assessment and intervention. Therapists working with traumatically bereaved families understand that each individual's experience is embedded in the family system which is characterized by its own structure and politics. In turn, each family is influenced by the communities of which it is a   member. A community's impact on the traumatically bereaved family can be both positive and negative, as seen in the military and among refugees who have experienced traumatic deaths and losses. Therapists must balance developmental factors, especially when children are  present, relational dynamics and traumatic symptomatology, always mindful of the "dances" that occur inside and outside the family when grief and trauma intersect.


  • Explore how traumatic loss, traumatic death and traumatic grief effects family members and systems.
  • Identify the three family configurations; traumatized families, traumatized parents, traumatized children, that provide a template for who to work with, where to start and what to do.
  • Provide specific interventions for use with families with children experiencing traumatic grief.
3-3:15 p.m. Break
3:15-4:45 p.m. Concurrent Sessions (choose one)

Experiences of a Trauma Chaplain
Dan Festa, B.A., M.L., D.Min., Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Marshall, Mo.
Conference participants will learn the role that Trauma Chaplains can and do play in Level Three Trauma Rooms; including the impact for patients, families, pre-hospital providers, law enforcement, and Trauma ED staff. Personal stories will be used to highlight the nature and breadth of the spiritual work as a Trauma Chaplain.


  1. Participants will be exposed to the breadth of the role of a Trauma Chaplain and the importance of constancy and openness.
  2. Participants will be able to understand the impact on patients, families and providers.
  3. Participants will be knowledgeable about ways to interface with other members of the healthcare delivery system.

BANDAIDS. SHAME. HOPE. RELIEF: Wrestling with Spiritual Woundedness and Loss
Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D., C.T., Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School of Social & Behavioral Science, Mercy College, N.Y.
Spirituality and religion serve as the one threat that wanders through our tragedies,
disappointments, victimization and loss. To understand where people are in these wilderness experiences, we must first examine how we can discern where life events leave people. We apply tasks (like promissory notes) like strength, protection, prevention and solutions. Are these reasonable expectations or signs of our grasping in the air for some place to feel a measure of connection? It can be very risky turning to spirituality and/or religion in times of turmoil. It may be more like the second or third twister of a tornado that shakes us up rather than freeing us up. We will look at a portion of an episode of All in the Family. Edith has a crisis of faith and Archie tries very hard to help her find comfort (and still put dinner on the table). Are we really in the right position to lend help to people in a spiritual crisis?


  1. Understand and examine where individuals are in their experience of loss.
  2. Discuss ways of connection and comfort during the healing process.
  3. Examine and discern our own ability to help others experiencing grief and loss.

“Your Experience of My Experience... Whoa!  Are We In the Same Place?”
Andrew J. Vitale, B.A., C.T., Author, Director of Spiritual Care, Loves Park, Ill.
This interactive presentation will look at lived experiences involving traumatic grief and loss issues.  We will delve into the ‘mind’ and realize that the brain really is incredible when it comes to calming oneself, and we will take a look at the problem many people have when confronted with choosing between being a “Martha-personality” (the doer) or a “Mary-personality” (the sponge) when it comes to feeling or not feeling loss-related guilt in the choices we make. The old adage is true: “Your experience of my experience is not my experience of your experience!”


  1. Realize that there is not a wrong way to grieve, although we often think that way.
  2. Have an understanding of the dynamics of one’s brain and how to use them during a traumatic incident.
  3. Be better enabled to share stories of loss and traumatic loss without having to choose between “Martha or Mary.” (biblical referral)
June 4, 2014
Time Activity
7:30-9 a.m. Registration
Continental Breakfast
8-8:45 a.m. Memorial Service
8:45-8:50 a.m. Announcements
8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Exhibit and Bookstore - Hosted by Centering Corporation
9-10:30 a.m. Concurrent Sessions (choose one)

"I Was Mugged by a STUG!": Understanding (Healthy and Non-Pathological) Subsequent Temporary Upsurges of Grief
Laurel Burnett, L.C.P.C., L.M.H.C., N.C.C., Family Therapy of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, N.M.
Grievers often experience Subsequent Temporary Upsurges of Grief (STUG) as addressed in Dr. Therese Rando's research on the "Treatment of Complicated Mourning." Individuals may experience periods of acute grief (often with a sudden-onset) long after a death or other type of traumatic loss. A STUG reaction has the potential for psychological, behavioral, social and physical impact; often creating emotional distress for the griever (ex. "I am getting worse!", "I am in even more pain now...a year later!"). The opportunity to educate individuals who are grieving about STUG reactions provides support and healing for traumatic loss.


  1. Identify five factors related to a "healthy" STUG reaction (precipitant, nature/duration/intensity, impact on the mourner, impact on coping or defense mechanisms, factors that impact the mourner's response).
  2. Learn about the classification of "STUG Reactions" based on precipitants (ex. Cyclic, Linear, Stimulus-Cued).
  3. Analyze case studies of traumatic grief and identify STUG reactions, to include identifying opportunities to educate the bereaved.

I Am The . . . *
Joy Johnson, author and presenter, co-founder of Centering Corporation and Ted E. Bear Hollow, Omaha, Neb.; Ben Schroeder, Business Manager, Centering Corporation, Omaha, Neb.
This technology-free workshop will let us have an enjoyable break from the intensity of the full conference. We will look into our pasts and share humorous and serious stories of our ancestors by listing three known experiences of those who went before us.
For example:
I am the niece of a certified chicken plucker.
I am the daughter of a WWII hero who never left Iowa.
I am the great granddaughter of a railroad conductor before there were trains.
We will discover how our history has served to make us stronger and wiser and adds to our power as caregivers.


  1. Become aware of the interesting and profound impact of participants attending at a personal family history.
  2. Become acquainted with their peers and colleagues on a new and exciting level.
  3. Find avenues to explore their own visions and careers by building on the strengths given them by those who have gone before.

*This session does not meet the criteria for NBCC or APA credit.

The President as “Consoler-in-Chief:” Stepping into the Limelight National Traumatic
Harold Ivan Smith, D.Min., F.T., Thanatologist, self-employed, Kansas City, Mo.
One role of a president of the United States, although unspecified in the Constitution and never addressed during presidential campaigns, is serving as Consoler-in-Chief following war, national tragedy, disaster, or terrorist attack, and following the death of significant political and social leaders and public personalities. While initial statements are spontaneous, others are closely crafted by professional speech writers and vetted by presidential staff. While a candidate may be able to give a rousing speech during the campaign, what about after a tragedy? Presidents earn a niche in American historical narrative not only by acts—or failures to act—but by strings of words, some following a death or national disaster.


  • To examine the historical precedents for presidential condoling.
  • To compare presidential responses to Worden’s “tasks” of grief
  • To assess this presidential responsibility with Hoy’s “presence of witnesses.”
  • To consider how the Office of the President offers “source credibility” and the potential for “bully” eulogies.
10:30-10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Michelle A. Post, MA, LMFTKeynote Session
Michelle A. Post, M.A., L.M.F.T., Manager, Donor Family Aftercare, OneLegacy a donation life organization, Los Angeles, Calif.

How to Say “IT” When No One Can: Death Notification & Children, Teen, Adult Grief After Sudden and Traumatic Death

When a sudden/traumatic death occurs, a family has little time to comprehend what has happened and, remember to include children and teens in this process. Often they turn to Social Services and Education Professionals to help them tell their children or other children in their support system. At OneLegacy, Southern California’s Donate Life Organ & Tissue Donate Organization, we have seen families forced to adjust to deaths that are not only sudden and traumatic, but often involve: brain death, more than one family member, the legal system, and/or the foster care system. The process of a family adjusting in these situations can seem like a daunting task as they receive death notification and adapt to all the changes ahead of them. With the aid of the research of J. William Worden, Ph.D., this presentation will use case studies of families who have experienced a death to teach participants how to: educate families about children's grief and provide death notification, grief support, and counseling to children, teens, and families. I will discuss techniques to foster connections among the family, educate parents/guardians about how best to support a child and teen in this situation, prepare a child/teen to visit the hospital bedside or go to a viewing/funeral, say good-bye, and debrief.
~ Lord, J. H., Stewart, A.E. (2008). I'll Never Forget Those Words: A Practical Guide to Death Notification. Companion Press. Burnsville, NC.
~ Wolfelt, A.D. (1996), Healing the Bereaved Child: Grief Gardening, Growth through Grief, and Other Touchstones for Caregivers. Page 57. Companion Press, Fort Collins, CO.
~ Worden, J.W. (1996), Children and Grief: When a Parent Dies. Pages 140-147. Guilford Press, New York, NY.


  1. Utilize age-appropriate language to give death-notification and support parents through the process of informing their children and teens.
  2. Apply research-based tips and tools to engage all members of the family in the death talk, support and education.
  3. Utilize age-appropriate activities to help children and teens (and/or educate their guardians) to begin the process of accepting the reality of the death, process the emotions, prepare to see the deceased or dying in the hospital, and debrief.
12:15-12:30 p.m. Closing ceremony

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