Conference Theme: Sudden and Traumatic Death

The purpose of this conference is to provide a variety of quality presentations and sessions where participants learn, are motivated and are encouraged to use what they have learned in their place of business when they return.

Workshops include:

  • Sudden Loss, Trauma and Personal Crisis: Coping with the Aftermath
  • "Get That Damn Camera Out of My Face!" When News Coverage Tyrannizes Grieving Individuals
  • Exploding Houses, Wild Animals and Spiders: Dreams and Nightmares Following Sudden or Traumatic Death
  • Sudden Death Notification and Broken-Heart Syndrome: Implications of a Grieving Mother’s (Literal) Heartache
  • Interventions for the Forgotten Mourners – Emerging Adults in Traumatic Grief
  • It Didn't Happen To Me, So Why am I Hurting? Secondary Traumatization Among Healthcare Workers
  • Traumatic Loss: An Existentialist Perspective
  • Bereavement Experiences: Comparing Assisted Death, Sudden Death and Suicide
  • Ghost Bikes as Spontaneous Memorialization and their Impact on Maintaining Continuing Bonds with the Deceased
  • Recognizing Complicated Grief when Treating Traumatic Grief Clients
  • Understanding Traumatic Loss in Public Safety Officers: A Case Example​
  • Ritual and Remembering: Tools for Healing
  • A Disaster Spiritual Care Primer
  • Soul Collage: Healing Traumatic Loss through Imagination, Creativity and the Intuitive-Self
  • Wounded Warriors at Risk: The Relationship Between Psychological Disorders and Suicide
  • Pouring Salt in an Open Grief: The Traumatizing Antics of the Westboro Baptist Church
  • The Aeschi (Switzerland) Conference & Philosophy: Meeting the Suicidal Person
  • Family Therapy in the Context of Traumatic Losses
  • Bereaved Youth: The Effect of Loss on Learning
  • Experiences of a Trauma Chaplain
  • “Your Experience of My Experience... Whoa!  Are We In the Same Place?”
  • I am the . . .
  • "I Was Mugged by a STUG!": Understanding (Healthy and Non-Pathological) Subsequent Temporary Upsurges of Grief
  • Spiritual Emergency: Traumatic Loss
  • How the Harvard Child Bereavement Study Informs Our Work with Bereaved Families

Featured Conference Speakers:


Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D., CT, Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School of Social & Behavioral Science, Mercy College, N.Y.
Susan A. Adams, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Counseling and Development, Texas Woman's College, Denton, Texas
Robert G. Stevenson, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Neil Thompson, B.A.(Hons), CQSW, MBA, Ph.D., DLitt, QDR, FHEA, FCIPD, FRSA, Managing Director, Avenue Consulting Ltd., Wales, U.K.
Daniel M. Rudofossi, PSY.D., PH.D., Ret. Sgt., New York Police Department
Stephanie Rabenstein, M.Sc., RMFT, Child and Family Therapist, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Care Program-Outpatient Children's Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada
Michelle A. Post, MA, LMFT, Manager, Donor Family Aftercare, Los Angeles, Calif.

Poster sessions:

Harold Ivan Smith, DMin, FT, Thanatologist, self-employed, Kansas City, Mo.
Janet Buntrock, Rev, MA, LPC, FT, Sole Proprietor Candlelight Counselor, Military Family Life Counselor, (Independent Contractor), Affiliate Instructor Colorado Christian University, Lakewood, Colo.
Peter Ford, MDiv., Lead Chaplain, Winchester Medical Center, Winchester, Va.
Laurel Burnett, LCPC, LMHC, NCC, Family Therapy of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, N.M.

Concurrent sessions:

Laurel E. Hilliker, Ph.D., CP, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Executive Director of the Center to Advance the Study of Loss, Park University, Kansas City, Mo. 
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.
Richard Forest, D.Min., CT, Chaplain, Norton Healthcare/Kosair Children's Hospital, Louisville, Ky.
Erica Srinivasan, Ph.D., Psychology Dept., University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Wis.
Janna Henning, J.D., Psy.D., F.T., B.C.E.T.S., Adler School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, Ill.
Marcia Williams, MSN, MS, LPC, Systematic Perspectives - Mental Health Clinic, Brockfield, Wis.
Pat Markos, Director, Institute for Professional Studies in Education, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Wis.
Harold Ivan Smith, DMin, FT, Thanatologist, self-employed, Kansas City, Mo.
Janet McCord, FT, Associate Professor of Thanatology; Director, Edwin S. Shneidman Program in Thanatology, Marian University, Fond du Lac, Wis.
Dan Festa, B.A., M.L., D.Min., Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Marshall, Mo.
Andrew J. Vitale, BA, CT, Author, Director of Spiritual Care, Loves park, Ill.
Joy Johnson, author and presenter, co-founder of Centering Corporation and Ted E. Bear Hollow, Omaha, Neb.
Laurel Burnett, LCPC, LMHC, NCC, Family Therapy of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, N.M.
Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D., CT, Adjunct Faculty, Graduate School of Social & Behavioral Science, Mercy College, N.Y.

This educational offering is recognized by the following for continuing education credit:

  • Association for Death Education and Counseling®
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)*
  • American Psychological Association Continuing Education
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension

*May not meet Association of Social Work Boards requirements

Planning Committee:

  • Gerry Cox, Ph.D., UW-La Crosse, retired
  • Richard B. Gilbert, Ph.D., CT, FAAGC, Mercy College, NY
  • Rana K. Limbo, Ph.D., RN, PMHCNS-BC, Gundersen Lutheran
  • Lori A. Pacourek, MSSW, CAPSW, Gundersen Lutheran
  • Andrew Vitale, CT, Author
  • Jill Wilke, RN, Gundersen Lutheran
  • Erica Srinivasan, B.A., Ph.D., UW-La Crosse
  • Penny Tiedt, M.S.​​, UW-La Crosse

Co-providers: Gundersen Health System, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Center for Death Education & Bioethics and Continuing Education and Extension

Contributing Sponsors: Baywood Publishing and Centering Corporation

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