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Understanding, Managing, and Learning from Diverse Forms of Grief: In A Period Immediately Post-Covid
Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST
Category: CE Events: Adult Individuals

People have recently experienced unprecedented, complex forms of grief in both their personal and professional lives. Human service professionals have lost individuals (clients, patients) at high rates previously considered unimaginable. These same persons may also have lost family members, friends, and colleagues. Other losses have included reduction of companionship and collegiality at work and diminished contact with extended family members. Youth have been separated from their peers, teachers, and mentors in school for an entire academic year. And adults have missed out on meaningful recreational activities such seeing friends, dining in restaurants, exercising in gyms, and attending concerts. The specific features associated with Covid make grieving more difficult. Elders have died alone without personal contact or the physical touch of loved ones. News reports continue to be grimly dominated by death rates every day. The loss of an individual family member may have seemed minimized by the sheer volume of decedents everywhere. And the standard rituals of funeral rites and ceremonies have often been cancelled or postponed due to associated health risks. This presentation looks at these diverse forms of grief using the empirically informed, seminal work of O’Connor (2019) and Bonanno (2019). They have debunked previous theories of stages of grief (e.g., Kubler-Ross, 1969) as empirically unsupported. Instead, they both point to findings that suggest “resilience” is the most common reaction to grief. And that unnecessary interventions with resilient individuals may do more harm than good. More specifically, Bonnano cites evidence for four types of grief trajectories: 1)Resilience – Generally about 60% of people who experience major losses recover very well within a short period of time with no need for professional intervention2)Recovery – An additional 20-30% may experience acute grief for a more extended period of time with some impaired functioning. However, these individuals recover within one to two years and show no serious long-term impairment 3)Prolonged – About 10-15% show prolonged suffering and inability to function, usually lasting several years or longer. These individuals may have had a compromised level of functioning prior to the loss(es). 4)Delayed grief or trauma - When adjustment seems normal but then distress and symptoms increase months later. Researchers have not found [clear] evidence of delayed grief, but delayed trauma appears to be a genuine phenomenon.This presentation will also focus on what to do in response to grief, including: Realizing that grief is normal, universal, Seeking support from those who can give it, Recognizing that some are uncomfortable with grief and that’s their limitation, not yours, Recognizing we’re in the helping professions; it’s okay to seek help; it’s a sign of strength and wisdom. The presentation will also discuss “Meaning-Making” in relation to losses such as: Honoring the legacy of the deceased with symbols, signs, rituals, and recognition, Reviewing and replaying positive memories in detail, such as using a photo/ digital album or scrapbook—this way one can reminisce but also put aside, Communicating with/asking for guidance from the deceased, f helpful, Carrying on positive aspects of that’s person identity in your own behavior; a living tribute. This presentation will prioritize audience participation re: the shared experience of the Covid pandemic and the myriad of losses associated with it.

Hosted by The Bridge Training Institute online for 3 CEs. For more info, visit The Bridge Training Institute's website.