Since 1985 I have been involved in training professionals in bereavement counseling and death awareness education. From this experience, I have discovered that professionals working with the terminally ill and bereaved can be more adequately prepared for this task by exploring their personal reactions and responses to death and dying.
To further this end, I teach experientially oriented workshops which allow participants to focus on the emotional, psychological and spiritual reactions which emerge in facing illness, dying, grief and bereavement. Through personal sharing, meditation and other self-awareness exercises, participants explore personal grief history, as well as ways in which personal life experience enhances or hinders our capacity to work with the dying and bereaved. In the final analysis, these workshops look at death as a teacher that provide participants with the opportunity for psychological and spiritual development.
“Death, Bereavement and Spirituality” workshops are frequently offered though adult education programs, and in conjunction with hospice in-service training. Half day, one day and two day long workshops can be held with professionals in ministry; helping and health-care professions; and in education, as well as those wrestling with the human encounter with death.
DEATH, BEREAVEMENT & SPIRITUALITY:
UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH
This experientially-oriented workshop will present a personal and professional orientation addressing issues related to working with the dying and bereaved. Through personal sharing, meditation and other self-awareness exercises this workshop will focus on the emotional, psychological and spiritual reactions which emerge for care-givers in working with the dying and bereaved. We shall explore personal grief history, as well as the ways in which our own life experience enhances or hinders our capacity to work with the dying and bereaved. In the final analysis, we shall look at death as a teacher that gives one the opportunity for psychological and spiritual development.
WHY PARTICIPANTS SHOULD ATTEND THIS SEMINAR
There is a growing recognition among professionals working with the dying and bereaved that one is more adequately prepared for this task by investigating personal reactions and responses to death and dying. There are high levels of stress affecting care-givers dealing with death and grief, and having a chance to wrestle with one’s own personal losses, leaves a professional more open to caring for others. This workshop is a much needed “R and R” opportunity for those working with hospice, with the elderly and with death issues in their own families.
WHAT PARTICIPANTS CAN EXPECT TO GAIN FROM ATTENDANCE – SEMINAR GOALS:
1. To facilitate the process of exploring individual reactions and responses to the human encounter with death.
2. To expand each person’s comfort level in dealing with death, dying and bereavement so that one can be more adequately prepared to deal with bereavement issues that emerge in counseling or informal settings.
3. To present an approach to death and dying that integrates spiritual and philosophical perspectives on eternal life and immortality with the psychological issues of grief work.
METHODS AND PHILOSOPHY
This workshop grows out of an integral approach to education. As a graduate of the California Institute of Integral Studies, I teach students rather than subjects. I know that the best training for working with grief and loss is to help professionals address their own issues in dealing with death and mortality. Through a series of experiential exercises – meditations, journal writing, working in small groups – we shall wrestle with the unconscious layers of grief we all hold, and from our wrestling we will each develop the wisdom to apply subjective knowing to our work with clients.