Pre-Conference Workshops

SCHEDULE OVERVIEW
Thu, Aug 2, 2018 Morning (9:00 AM — 12:00 PM) Afternoon (1:30 PM — 4:30 PM)
Business Coaching TBA
Chris Corrigan

Using the Lessons of Disruptive Innovation to Move to the Next Level of Change
Eileen Dowse, Ph.D., et al.

Meaning-Centered Therapy Opioid Crisis Workshop: The Meaning of Opioids in a World of Pain
Bruce Alexander, Ph.D.

Meaning and the Appointment in Samarra
Michael Steger, Ph.D., & Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ph.D.

Existential Coaching & Therapy Happiness Meets Dread: An Introduction to Positive Existential Coaching as a Means to Living a Meaningful Existence
Yannick Jacob, M.A., M.Sc.
Dreamwork in Existential Therapy
Emmy van Deurzen, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology 2.0

The Significance of Ambivalent Emotions
Tim Lomas, Ph.D.

An Adventure through the Best of Positive Psychology: The Integration of Mindfulness, Meaning, and Spirituality
Itai Ivtzan, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Exploring How Gratitude Promotes Human Flourishing and Meaning
Phil Watkins, Ph.D.
Applying the EAM Research Strategy: Questions, Criticisms, and Hands-On Practice
Ken Sheldon, Ph.D.
Grief Therapy Grief Therapy and the Reconstruction of Meaning: A Practicum
Robert Neimeyer, Ph.D.

Morning Workshops

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2018
9:00 AM — 12:00 PM (3.0 CEU)

BUSINESS COACHING

Chris Corrigan

Facilitator, strategist, system thinker, and coach for organizations, communities, and teams based in Vancouver, Canada

TBA

About the Workshop Facilitator

TBA

Meaning-Centered Therapy

Bruce Alexander, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Simon Fraser University and researcher in global drug addiction

 To receive the 2018 INPM Lifetime Achievement Award

Opioid Crisis Workshop: The Meaning of Opioids in a World of Pain

Abstract

Fifty years ago, heroin had a terrifying, demonic meaning. It was seen as a demon-drug that gave foolish pleasure-seekers a taste of bliss, but left them with a life-long craving for unachievable euphoria. In more recent, neuroscience versions of this old demon story, heroin was said to “flip a switch in the brain.” But five decades of research have undermined this simplistic old story. We now have much more complete stories to explain opioid addiction (Alexander, 2008/2010; Maté, 2008; Wong, 2013).

But what new meaning for heroin and other opioid drugs will emerge from these more complete stories? Can a new meaning slow the still-rising tide of addiction and opioid overdose? This workshop provides a space to examine evidence about heroin at some length, and to compare the range of meanings that it has for workshop participants. We could hope to uncover the most useful meaning for opioid drugs in today’s painfully fragmented society.

Learning Objectives

Participants will understand:

  • The “old story” of demon possession regarding opioid drugs
  • The “new stories” of opioid drug addiction as told by Alexander, Maté, Wong, and other recent thinkers
  • What has blown the old story apart
  • The meaning of opioid drugs that can be derived from the “new stories”
  • Ways in which the new meanings of opioid drugs might help to slow the steady spread of addiction and the current overdose crisis

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Bruce Alexander, Ph.D. has explored many corners of the addiction field since 1970. He has counselled hard-core heroin addicts from Vancouver’s darkest streets and prisons; conducted psychopharmacological research (the “Rat Park” experiments); collected qualitative information on cocaine use for the World Health Organization; studied the history of thinking about addiction by ancient philosophers and modern scholars; interviewed university students about their amazingly varied addictions; investigated the “temperance mentality” in several countries; and served on the Boards of Directors of NGOs in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Dr. Alexander has published three books, Peaceful Measures: Canada’s Way Out of the War on Drugs (University of Toronto Press, 1990), The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (Oxford University Press, 2008), and A History of Psychology in Western Civilization (Cambridge University Press, 2015, co-author Curt Shelton). Although he retired from university teaching as Professor Emeritus in 2005, Dr. Alexander continues to speak frequently in Canada and Europe. He posts many of his recent speeches on his website (www.brucekalexander.com). He was awarded the Sterling Prize for Controversy in 2007.

Existential Coaching

Yannick Jacob, M.A., M.Sc.

Programme Leader of MSc Coaching Psychology and Personal Coach

Happiness Meets Dread: An Introduction to Positive Existential Coaching as a Means to Living a Meaningful Existence

Abstract

What is the meaning of life? How can I live in ways that are meaningful to me? How can I make the best of my time on this planet? Answers to these questions tend to involve being happy, healthy, and making the most out of life. Yet these desires are often in conflict with the existential givens of human existence. A new understanding of happiness is needed in order to live “happily-ever-after” without the use of self-deception.

Positive Existential Coaching emerged from an appreciation of these three basic human needs (to be alive and happy with a sense of agency). At its core, it draws on the conceptualizations of happiness from the science of positive psychology, a philosophical exploration of the human condition, and the potential of coaching to enable clients to see themselves as they really are and empower them to live their lives in the best way possible.

This workshop offers a positive perspective on existential ideas and how these could be applied in the coaching room.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop an awareness of the big questions in life and how they underlie what clients bring into the coaching space
  • Introduce the basic tenets of positive existentialism
  • Understand how positive psychology and existential philosophy can contribute to powerful coaching practice
  • Provide coaches with practical ways of integrating elements of Positive Existential Coaching into their existing practice
  • Witness and discuss a demonstration of Positive Existential Coaching

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Yannick Jacob, M.A., M.Sc. is an existential coach (MA), positive psychologist (MSc), coach trainer and supervisor (Animas), Programme Leader of the MSc Coaching Psychology (UEL), mediator (Regent’s College), and personal consultant (PWBC) passionate about helping people grow by exploring the various facets of their existence in more depth. Yannick’s aim is to inspire those he meets and works with to live more courageously, think more deeply, and embrace the whole spectrum of what life and business have to offer. Yannick has worked with a wide range of clients as well as trained and supervised hundreds of coaches at a number of institutions. Born in Germany and based in London (UK), Yannick works internationally to deliver coaching as well as resilience training for those in “positions of great responsibility” (typically leaders and managers) as well as personal and social development programmes for schools and charities.

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY 2.0

Itai Ivtzan, Ph.D.

Positive psychologist, senior lecturer, and program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London

An Adventure through the Best of Positive Psychology: The Integration of Mindfulness, Meaning, and Spirituality

Dr. Ivtzan will make sense of the exponential increase in the science and practice of mindfulness, offering unique insights that every practitioner needs to know. He will share his research and extensive practitioner background around the best ways that mindfulness intersects with meaning and spirituality. Various user-friendly tips, stories, metaphors, and insights will be provided that practitioners will want to use with clients.

The majority of popular mindfulness programs are deficit-focused, initially designed to remediate stress, improve coping with pain or a medical condition, manage depression and anxiety, and so on. The focus of this workshop will be strengths-based in that the work starts with and amplifies positive qualities, and in turn, that positivity is used to manage or reframe stress, problems, and other suffering. Both strength and suffering will be discussed and worked with in this workshop.

The workshop covers three general areas: theory, research, and practice, with an emphasis on the latter. You will engage in several experiential exercises and dyad/small group discussions. These are designed to help you master the key concepts and research and will help you rehearse the ingredients of the practice so you can begin using it with clients, employees, or students immediately.

This workshop is intended to provide an adventurous, creative, and open space, where we learn and grow together, while being mindful and playful.

Learning Objectives

  • Experience a broad range of mindfulness and positive psychology activities
  • Learn how mindfulness, meaning, and spirituality enhance one other
  • Practice ways of boosting your mindfulness, meaning, and spirituality

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Itai Ivtzan, Ph.D. is passionate about the combination of psychology and spirituality. He is a positive psychologist, a senior lecturer, and the program leader of MAPP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology) at the University of East London (UEL). He published several books, as well as many journal papers and book chapters. His main interests are positive psychology, mindfulness, and spirituality. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Ivtzan has run seminars, lectures, workshops and retreats in the UK and around the world, in various educational institutions and at private events. He is a regular keynote speaker in conferences. If you wish to get additional information about his work or contact him, please visit www.AwarenessIsFreedom.com.

Positive Psychology

Phil Watkins, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University and researcher and author of gratitude and well-being

Exploring How Gratitude Promotes Human Flourishing and Meaning

Abstract

The purpose of this workshop is to present current research on the relationship between gratitude and well-being, as well as describe gratitude interventions that may be used to enhance human flourishing. Of first importance is an understanding of the definition of gratitude, and I portray an understanding of gratitude at both the state and trait levels of analysis. Second, I present a balanced perspective on current research regarding the relationship between gratitude and well-being. This discussion will include an explanation of my amplification theory of gratitude. Implicit in this theory is an understanding of the psychological processes of appreciation, and I explore ways that we can enhance our understanding of this construct. Then, we will turn to discussing evidence-based interventions of experiencing and expressing gratitude, and how individuals and clinicians may use these exercises effectively. Research shows that gratitude is important to the good life; thus, it is important that we understand the psychological processes that inhibit and enhance gratitude. I will present recent research on this issue, with particular emphasis on the relationship between gratitude and joy. Finally, I will attempt to offer some perspective on gratitude, presenting a balanced approach to gratitude and its importance to a good and meaningful life.

Learning Objectives

Participants in this workshop will understand:

  • The definition of gratitude, at both the state and trait levels of analysis
  • The status of current research on the relationship between gratitude and well-being
  • How the amplification theory of gratitude helps us understand the relationship between gratitude and well-being, as well as the importance of understanding psychological processes related to appreciation
  • How gratitude enhances meaning, and how meaning enhances gratitude
  • Evidence-based gratitude interventions that enhance well-being
  • Psychological factors that enhance and inhibit gratitude

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Phil Watkins, Ph.D. received his B.S. in psychology from the University of Oregon and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at Eastern Washington University. Gratitude has been the focus of his research since 2000. Dr. Watkins is the author of two books—Gratitude and the Good Life and Positive Psychology 101—and has authored a number of research articles on gratitude. He has served as an associate editor of The Journal of Positive Psychology, and is currently on their editorial board. His research now investigates questions related to how gratitude enhances well-being, the nature of gratitude toward God, the relationship between gratitude and joy, and the factors that enhance or inhibit gratitude.

Afternoon Workshops

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2018
1:30 PM — 4:30 PM (3.0 CEU)

Business Coaching

Eileen Dowse, Ph.D.

Organizational Psychologist, President of Human Dynamics, and award-winning author of The Naked Manager: How to Build Open Relationships at Work

Lynne Brisdon, PCC

Vanessa E. Wiebel, PCC, RST, CPCC

Using the Lessons of Disruptive Innovation to Move to the Next Level of Change

Abstract

Disruptive innovation, as defined by Clayton Christensen, “describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.”

Today these disruptions are creating new dynamics within teams and impacting organisations, societies, and economies, by creating new megatrends or permanent, long-term changes. This has become an opportunity for leaders to move away from linear thinking systems and processes, towards responding quickly, with resilience and positive disruption. In this new environment, facilitative leaders must build upon the shared knowledge of the organisation and understand the dynamics involved in disruptive innovation. They must encourage best processes for leveraging and harnessing resources for ensuring the team and/or the organization continually stays relevant.

This program provides practical applications for discovering the upside of disruption and emphasizes how, in a world where everything is changing, the biggest risk is standing still.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to perfect innovation through a thoughtful process and evaluation of new ideas
  • Understand the benefits of joyful directiveness—can you stop the direction of thinking when you don’t agree?
  • Examine ways to leverage the knowledge and wisdom of your organisation’s human capital through building collaboration and trust within relationships during innovation
  • Discover the five traps (and their solutions) when innovating disruptive products and technologies
  • Explore the power of acknowledgement in communication, motivation, and collaboration

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitators

Eileen Dowse, Ph.D. is an insightful, global leader specializing in helping to create ‘collective impact’ for her clients. As an Organizational Psychologist, Eileen is a thought-leader with extensive practical experience in the field of global leadership and cultural competency development. Eileen is widely regarded as one of the leaders in international facilitation as well as being a co-founder and Chair of the International Institute for Facilitation. Her book The Agile Business Leader, The Four Roles of Successful Leaders (also translated into Chinese) places emphasis on quality, speed and collaboration.

Lynne Brisdon, PCC is an accomplished Business Coach who blends disciplines of coaching and spirituality to connect people with their essential purpose to find deeper meaning in all aspects their lives, personally and professionally. Her appreciation of mindfulness practices led her to coaching as a practical way to explore thinking processes and behavior patterns through deep listening and powerful questioning. In structured conversations, her clients access new perspectives that are foundational to meaningful and lasting change.

Vanessa E. Wiebel, PCC, RST, CPCC is an innovative leader specialized in helping ignite paradigm shifts needed to foster Work Life Balance success. As a Professional Co-active Coach, Vanessa brings multi-disciplinary perspectives and experience in the field of overwhelm recovery using practical holistic applications. She is a National Bestselling Author for her chapter “Courage is Key” in Stand Apart (CelebrityPress, 2013), emphasizing the importance of integral alignment during high conflict, and how to stay able to respond in extreme settings.

Meaning-Centered Therapy

Michael F. Steger, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life at Colorado State University

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ph.D.

Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Counseling and Human Development at the University of Haifa and Head of the Academic Training Program for Logotherapy at Tel-Aviv University

 

Meaning and the Appointment in Samarra

Abstract

“The meaning of human existence is based upon its irreversible quality. An individual’s responsibility in life must therefore be understood in terms of temporality and singularity.” — Viktor Frankl

The existentialist Albert Camus remarked that the central problem of philosophy was composing a reason any of us should want to resist death and remain alive. In this somewhat bleak worldview, the permanence, irreversibility, and inevitability of death may render our human lives pointless and moot. But it isn’t the concept of death that scares us as much as the notion that we might reach the end of our life and then realize that we haven’t truly lived. Meaning often has been positioned as an antidote for our fears of death and annihilation. The popular scholarly subfield of Terror Management Theory argues that meaning can insulate us from this “existential terror,” and P. T. P. Wong, logotherapy, and others have promoted a healthy acceptance of death to be central to flourishing. This workshop explores what research shows about the relations among meaning, attitudes toward death, and flourishing. Further, this workshop invites attendees to engage in experiential explorations of how meaning awareness may both benefit from meaning and support it.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how death has been discussed in psychology and meaning studies
  • Learn empirical findings regarding relations among death attitudes, meaning, and flourishing
  • Practice experiential activities designed to create insight regarding death attitudes and to utilize death as a potential source of meaning
  • Explore the idea of “tragic optimism” to illuminate the art of living, through Frankl’s three pathways to meaning (experiential, creative, and attitudinal)
  • Share personal views on death in a supportive environment to facilitate self-discovery and meaning-seeking

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitators

Michael F. Steger, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Founding Director of the Center for Meaning and Purpose at Colorado State University. He earned his doctorate in Counseling Psychology and Personality Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2005. For more than 15 years, he has researched how people flourish through building meaning and purpose in their lives and work. He has published more than 100 scholarly journal articles and book chapters, and three books, including The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Positivity, Strengths-Based Approaches at Work, and Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace. He provides keynotes, lectures, workshops, and consulting around the world on the topics of meaning, purpose, psychological strengths, meaningful work, and creating a happy workplace.

Pninit Russo-Netzer, Ph.D. is a researcher and lecturer at the department of Counseling and Human Development, University of Haifa. She is a logotherapist (Diplomate Clinician), the head of the academic training program for logotherapy at Tel-Aviv university, and the chairperson of the Logotherapy Association in Israel. She is passionate about building bridges—between disciplines and between theory and “real life” practice, in therapy, organizations, communities, and education throughout the lifespan. She is especially keen about creating a synergistic integration between the fields of positive psychology, spirituality, existential psychology, and logotherapy (meaning-oriented psychotherapy), which she believes allows for a more holistic view of human growth and development than any one of these separately. Her main research and practice interests focus on meaning in life, positive psychology, spirituality and spiritual development, positive change, and growth.

Dr. Russo-Netzer serves as academic advisor and consultant to both academic and non-academic institutions, conducts seminars and workshops, and develops training programs and curricula for various organizations on positive psychology, logotherapy, leadership, meaning in life, resilience and spirituality. She is the co-editor of the books Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology (Springer, 2014), Clinical Perspectives on Meaning: Positive and Existential Psychotherapy (Springer, 2016) and Search for Meaning in the Israeli scene (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Existential Therapy

Emmy van Deurzen, Ph.D.

Founder of the Society for Existential Analysis and Existential Analysis and Principal of the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling

Dream Work in Existential Therapy

Abstract

This three-hour workshop will start with a brief overview of the existential methods that can be used for finding meaning in dreams. This will include a brief introduction to phenomenology and an overview of existential dream-work. Then, participants will be taught a pragmatic and systematic way of understanding dreams from an existential perspective, and they will work with each other in order to practice these. Finally, the facilitator will work on one of the participants’ dreams in a fish bowl format in front of the whole group to demonstrate the work more specifically.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how to find existential meaning in dreams
  • Apply structural existential analysis to dream-work
  • Attain the capacity to derive meaning with the four worlds model
  • Have the basic ability to find emotional depth and meaning in dreams

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Emmy van Deurzen, Ph.D. is a Philosopher, Counselling Psychologist, and Existential Psychotherapist. She founded the School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at Regent’s University, the Society for Existential Analysis, and the New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling at the Existential Academy in London, of which she continues to be Principal. She was the first chair of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy and has chaired and directed many other organizations and institutions.

Her application of philosophical ideas to psychology, psychotherapy, counselling, and coaching has been instrumental in establishing the existential paradigm firmly in the UK, elsewhere in Europe, and around the world. She lectures internationally, and her many books have been translated into well over a dozen languages.

She is visiting Professor with Middlesex University and has been a professor with Regent’s College, honorary professor with Sheffield University and Schiller International University, and a visiting fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge.

Amongst her 16 books are the bestsellers Existential Psychotherapy and Counselling in Practice (3rd edition, Sage, 2012), Psychotherapy and the Quest for Happiness (Sage, 2009) and Everyday Mysteries(2nd edition, Routledge, 2010). The second edition of Paradox and Passion in Psychotherapy appeared with Wiley in 2015. Two further books are currently in press and at the editing stage.

Positive Psychology 2.0

Tim Lomas, Ph.D.

Lecturer in Positive Psychology at the University of East London and co-author of Second Wave Positive Psychology

The Significance of Ambivalent Emotions

Abstract

Although wellbeing tends to be associated with positive affect, on closer inspection it also involves emotions that are best characterised as ambivalent. A recent analysis by the presenter—drawing on so-called untranslatable words—identified five main categories of ambivalent emotions that can be seen as connected to wellbeing: hope, longing, pathos, appreciation of imperfection, and sensitivity to mystery. The workshop will explore these five categories through reflective discussions and activities, in which participants will be invited to consider experiences of these emotions in their own lives, and to reflect on their importance in relation to flourishing and fulfilment. The session aims to facilitate a more expansive conception and experience of wellbeing, going beyond an exclusive identification with positively-valenced emotions to incorporate more complex and ambivalent processes.

Learning Objectives

  • Appreciate the phenomenon of ambivalent emotions
  • Understand how such emotions are connected to wellbeing
  • Situate these emotions in the context of one’s own life
  • Delve into such emotions through reflective discussions and activities

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Tim Lomas, Ph.D. has been a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London since April 2013. Tim completed his Ph.D. at the University of Westminster in 2012, where his thesis focused on the impact of meditation on men’s mental health. Since 2013, Dr. Lomas has published numerous papers and books on topics including positive psychology theory, mindfulness, Buddhism, linguistics, and gender. His work has been featured in articles in prominent publications including Scientific AmericanThe New YorkerThe AtlanticThe Psychologist, and The Times. His current main area of research involves creating a lexicography of untranslatable words relating to wellbeing (please visit www.drtimlomas.com/lexicography for the latest on the project).

Positive Psychology

Ken Sheldon, Ph.D.

Curator’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Sheldon Motivation Laboratory at the University of Missouri

Applying the Eudaimonic Activity Model (EAM) Research Strategy: Questions, Criticisms, and Hands-On Practice

Abstract

My keynote will describe a general research strategy for testing and comparing different theories of optimal living (the Eudaimonic Activity Model), and give examples of what this approach has already taught us. My workshop will concretely explicate the EAM, and guide participants in designing a study or research program that applies the general strategy. Most positive psychology theories are prescriptive (“try to be more… mindful, curious, self-compassionate, courageous, respectful, responsible,” etc).  I will help participants design studies to test their own prescriptions, whatever they may be, using subjective well-being (SWB) as a cornerstone indicator of healthy functioning. Participants will also be prompted to identify more specific criterion variables suitable to their own research questions. Most broadly, the workshop will focus on constructing longitudinal models of change in SWB and positive functioning. Such models allow us to specify and formally test our intuitions regarding causal processes.

Learning Objectives

  • Clarify your understanding of the EAM and its supporting research base, and get your questions answered
  • Decide whether what you already do can alreadybe fit into the EAM (often this is the case)
  • Try designing studies with the EAM in mind.  What is the behavioral, cognitive, or practice prescription you might study, what kinds of experiences should result from doing it, and how/why will these experiences produce SWB in prescription-practitioners?

Length: 3 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Kennon Sheldon, Ph.D. is a professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri. He received his B.Sc. in psychology from Duke University in 1981 and his Ph.D. in social/personality psychology from the University of California, Davis in 1992. He is known for his research on well-being, motivation, and goals. His prominent research questions include “Can happiness go up, and then stay up?”, “Can people be helped to pick life-goals that better express their developmental potentials?” and “How can the concept of personal agency be reconciled with the concept of a deterministic universe?” He is the prolific author of more than 200 academic articles and book chapters. He is also the author of Optimal Human Being: An Integrated Multi-level Perspective, and Self-determination Theory in the Clinic: Motivating Physical and Mental Health, and he has written and edited several other academic books such as Stability of Happiness: Theories and Evidence on Whether Happiness Can Change. He has been the recipient of several prestigious prizes and awards in psychology, and was named one of the 20 most cited social psychologists in 2010 (controlling for career stage; Nozek et al., PSPB).

Full Day Workshop

THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2018
9:00 AM — 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM — 4:30 PM (6.0 CEU)

Grief Therapy

Robert Neimeyer, Ph.D.

Eminent Professor of Psychology at the University of Memphis and Editor of Death Studies

Grief Therapy and the Reconstruction of Meaning: A Practicum

Abstract

Major loss, especially of key attachment figures in our lives, can shatter a world of meaning anchored in that relationship, and confront us with a deep sense of meaninglessness and existential loneliness. When such losses occur violently and traumatically, they can further undermine core constructs of predictability, benevolence, and control, greatly complicating, intensifying, and prolonging the emotional anguish into which we are thrown by our bereavement. Over the last dozen years, a great deal of research has confirmed these propositions, and suggested that the reconstruction of a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss should be a central goal in grief therapy.

But exactly how does this process unfold, in the concrete clinical context of real clients suffering real losses? This workshop addresses this question by presenting videos of two single-session therapies in their entirety, offering a close process analysis of each to reveal the therapist’s moment-to-moment reading of each client’s need and readiness to engage in specific meaning reconstruction tasks. Then, bridging from viewing to doing, participants are coached in applying these same skills in a dyadic practicum session with other workshop members. By alternating naturally between concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation, participants complete a full cycle of experiential learning and leave better prepared to practice the nuances of meaning-making in the wake of loss.

Morning Session

Guy: Integrating the Story of a Violent Death

Working with a father bereaved by the drowning of his young adult daughter, Neimeyer carefully negotiates safety for helping him revisit and retell the story of a horrific loss, integrating its painful meanings and images. Learners then practice retelling of difficult losses with coaching from Portland Institute faculty.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Utilize strategies for negotiating safety in revisiting a tragic loss without re-traumatizing the client
  • Identify markers of client need and readiness to engage the event story of the loss
  • Follow principles of bracing, pacing, and facing when using restorative retelling procedures to promote integration of traumatic bereavement

Afternoon Session

Lauren: The Loss of a Young Child

Reviewing with Lauren the residual pain of her young son’s death six years earlier, Neimeyer explores the existential, familial, and emotional impacts of the loss, and helps her review and revise the continuing bond with her child. Portland Institute faculty then coach participants as they practice visualization and transformation of related grief.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Distinguish between aspects of meaning-making in loss that bear on the event story of the death and the backstory of relationship
  • Track the evolution of the continuing bond with the deceased and its adaptive role in bereavement
  • Guide clients in analogical listening to the felt sense of their grief, and its transformation by invoking the presence of the loved one

Length: 6 hours

About the Workshop Facilitator

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D. is Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he 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 (both with Routledge), and serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies. The author of nearly 500 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops for national and international audiences. The recipient of the MISS Foundation’s Phoenix Award: Rising to the Service of Humanity, Neimeyer served as Chair of the International Work Group for Death, Dying, & Bereavement and President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. 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.