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Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference Workshops

Update your clinical skills and earn CE credits from leading positive and existential psychologists at these pre-conference workshops on Thursday, July 28, 2016.

Click the following titles to learn more about these workshops and their presenters.

Morning Workshops

  1. Mindfulness Programs in Positive Psychology (Dr. Itai Ivtzan)
  2. Integrative Trauma-Informed Treatment (Dr. Marie Dezelic & Dr. Gabriel Ghanoum)
  3. Emergence Coaching: Moving Beyond Goal Coaching to Authentic Self-Emergence (Dr. Bob Wright)
  4. Meaningful Work: 3 Steps to Help People Find & Activate their Purpose at Work (Dr. Michael Steger)

Afternoon Workshops

  1. Pluralistic Therapy: An Existential, Goal-Focused Approach to Integrative Practice (Dr. Mick Cooper)
  2. Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Advanced Cancer Patients (Dr. William Breitbart)
  3. Discovering Meaning through the Lens of Work (Dr. Alex Pattakos)
  4. Applying the Science of Happiness to Daily Life (Dr. Pninit Russo-Netzer)

Full Day Workshop

  1. Techniques of Grief Therapy (Dr. Robert Neimeyer)

Morning Workshops

Mindfulness Programs in Positive Psychology

Dr. Itai IvtzanDr. Itai Ivtzan 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

Dr. Ivtzan will also be presenting a keynote lecture on Second Wave Positive Psychology: Embracing the Dark Side of Life.


Mindfulness meditation is one of the most popular interventions in psychology, the interest in which grows year after year. Positive psychology (PP) is the fastest developing branch of psychology, whose expanding journey of investigating human flourishing has attracted great interest. What happens when these two are brought together?

This workshop will inform you about the fascinating points of convergence between mindfulness and PP. We will explore various mindfulness programs focused on increasing positive variables, such as meaning, compassion, positive emotions, strengths, and gratitude. These programs are flourishing-focused, thereby embodying the spirit of PP. We will also examine how certain popular mindfulness programs are deficit-focused (aimed at decreasing mental illness), and consequently less relevant to the goals of PP interventions.

The workshop covers three aspects: Theory, Research, and Practice. We will discuss some theoretical background to the convergence between PP and mindfulness, including the role of savouring and meaning in the creation of what I call the “positive mindfulness cycle”. Research will be addressed as well, and studies that bring to life the impact of mindfulness on the experience of flourishing, growth, and positive transformation will be highlighted. Finally, we will practise a number of different mindfulness exercises designed to increase self-compassion, meaning, and savouring. This experiential aspect of the workshop is important, in that it allows you to engage in the actual experience of the meeting point between mindfulness and PP.

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

Learning Objectives

  1. Experience a broad range of mindfulness exercises and PP-related techniques.
  2. Learn how the areas of PP and mindfulness can enhance each other.
  3. Understand the theoretical foundation that combines mindfulness and PP together.
  4. Review research that links mindfulness with PP and flourishing.

Integrative Trauma-Informed Treatment

A Multi-Dimensional Therapeutic Model Attending to the Whole Person through Body, Mind, and Spirit (Essence)

Dr. Marie Dezelic

Dr. Marie S. Dezelic, PhD, MS, LMHC, CCTP, NCLC, CFRC, NCAIP, Diplomate in Logotherapy, is an author, workshop presenter and educator, and has a private psychotherapy practice in South Florida. Dr. Dezelic sees adolescents, adults, couples, and families, and travels nationally and internationally for crisis intervention. Her clinical research and work focuses on trauma, grief, spirituality, couples/families, and psycho-oncology through an integrative Existential framework. In addition to her Diplomate in Logotherapy, Dr. Dezelic holds several advanced certifications and training in trauma treatment, grief, spirituality, couples and family therapy, addictions, coaching, and several other treatment modalities. She designs and offers healthcare presentations on implementing programs, models, and support teams using the holistic patient-centered approach to patient care, with an emphasis on discovering Meaning within Illness, Palliative Care, Psycho-Spiritual Oncology Treatment, Trauma Treatment, Grief Support, Relationships, Pastoral Care, Spirituality, Compassion Fatigue, Spiritual Well-Being and Stress Reduction. Dr. Dezelic has published Meaning-Centered Therapy Workbook: Based on Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, and co-authored Meaning-Centered Therapy Manual: LTEA Brief Therapy Protocol for Group & Individual Sessions, writes extensively and presents nationally and internationally in various venues. Correspondence:

Dr. Gabriel Ghanoum

Dr. Gabriel Ghanoum, PsyD, MDiv, GCC, BCC, CFRC, NCAIP, Diplomate in Logotherapy, is a workshop presenter, educator and the Director of Palliative and Pastoral Care Services for a network of hospitals in South Eastern Florida. He holds various degrees in Psychology, Theology, and Business, is a certified grief therapist, and holds a Diplomate in Logotherapy. Dr. Ghanoum is passionate about bringing spiritual and psychological awareness through his national and international lectures and retreats on relationships, spirituality, positive psychology, and the psycho-spiritual approach to oncology and healing.  He offers health-care staff psycho-educational seminars on various topics, such as Implementing Palliative Care Programs, Pastoral Care, Psycho-Spiritual Approach to Oncology, Spiritual Well-Being, Compassion Fatigue, Staff Satisfaction and Motivation in Healthcare, Trauma and Grief Support. Dr. Ghanoum is a member on various non-profit boards, and is deeply involved in promoting the mental health perspective within several charity programs, including aiding the homeless of South Florida through bio-psycho-social-spiritual care. He has co-authored Meaning-Centered Therapy Manual: LTEA Brief Therapy Protocol for Group & Individual Sessions. Correspondence:

Dr. Dezelic and Dr. Ghanoum will also be giving another workshop during the conference on Integrating Meaning-Centered Therapy in Palliative Care: A Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Approach in Healthcare.


“Trauma Treatment Foundational Phase-Work (TTFP)” is an integrative model and framework of trauma-informed treatment and therapeutic care incorporating the most recent, relevant research information available in the field of trauma treatment and its clinical applications. The model utilizes existing theories and strategies, yet incorporates a holistic and existential methodology, including Logotherapy & Existential Analysis, to attend to the “Whole Person in Trauma Treatment,” which necessitates a multi-dimensional therapeutic approach. This workshop teaches the six core phases of this treatment model to address the whole person: Body, Mind, and Spirit (Unique Essence—Existence) for stabilization, recovery, and reconnection. Trauma-informed treatment is not a specific theory; it is a treatment modality based on a range of theoretical and psychological models, incorporating several techniques, addressing a variety of symptoms and issues that are imbedded in traumatic experience. In doing so, there are several therapeutic theories that are utilized and combined throughout treatment, which include: (1) Body: Somatic therapies, Yoga, Martial Arts, Body-based Exercises, Drama, Dance, Neurobiology & Development; (2) Mind: Cognitive, Behavioral, and Psychodynamic theories; (3) Spirit (Unique Existential Essence): Existential and Humanistic theories. Attending to the whole person in trauma-informed treatment offers the possibility of true and lasting recovery, healing and engagement. The overall trauma-informed treatment goals met through this method include: (1) build safety, stability, attachment, self-regulation & flexibility, (2) significantly reduce/eliminate traumatic response symptoms, (3) increase engagement with others/life and meaningful goals. Important diversity considerations that impact trauma-informed treatment will be addressed, such as ethnicity, culture, gender, and age through meaning constructs.  Participants will walk away with an understanding of the general model of “Trauma Treatment Foundational Phase-Work,” along with specific clinical exercises, resources and comprehension of each core phase of treatment.  This workshop is relevant for all healthcare professionals, as trauma affects many underlying bio-psycho-social-spiritual issues observed in medical, mental health, and spiritual centers.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the basic concepts, with a comprehensive overview, of the model of “Trauma Treatment Foundational Phase-Work” as an integrative trauma-informed treatment
  2. Review the specific theories and their roles involved in addressing the whole person in trauma-informed care
  3. Distinguish the role of existential concepts as they pertain to trauma-specific symptoms
  4. Integrate specific knowledge and understanding of important considerations that impact the individual in trauma-informed treatment
  5. Apply specific clinical techniques designed to assist patients in each of the six phases of the model of “Trauma Treatment Foundational Phase-Work”
  6. Apply specific techniques to: (1) build safety, stability, attachment, self-regulation & flexibility, (2) significantly reduce/eliminate trauma response symptoms, (3) increase engagement with others/life and meaningful goals
  7. Apply Integrative Meaning-Centered Therapy techniques as a specific or adjunctive approach in trauma-informed care throughout the phases of treatment

Emergence Coaching: Moving Beyond Goal Coaching to Authentic Self-Emergence

Dr. Bob WrightDr. Bob Wright is CEO of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential and Professor of Transformational Leadership at the Wright Graduate University. A leading thinker and practitioner for over 30 years in the field of optimizing human potential, he has developed a powerful integrative approach in executive coaching, corporate consulting, and graduate education, resulting in significant professional success and fulfillment for students and clients in all life areas. The best-selling author of People Skills, Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living, and The Heart of the Fight, Dr. Wright lives and teaches in Elkhorn, WI, and Chicago, IL.


Emergence Coaching operates from a radically different set of assumptions from regular goal and life coaching. While all coaching may believe human potential is vast and to be addressed daily, moment by moment, only depth coaching proceeds from that assumption and seeks to maximize/optimize human development and consciousness.  It focuses on the accomplishment of goals and outcomes in such areas as in career, health, relationships, and more. Yet accomplishment is not so much honored for itself as valued as a manifestation of the individual’s emergence—that is, his or her overall growth in consciousness and ways of being such that he or she becomes more aware, more intentional, more satisfied, and more authentic as a person.

This workshop focuses on how to facilitate authentic self-emergence in yourself and in those you coach and lead. Using a grounded leadership model, developed and tested for over 30 years by Dr. Robert Wright, the workshop provides you with a coaching framework for establishing the coaching contract; being fully present and facilitating presence and depth of engagement; discovering the important dynamic themes that are emerging for the client in that session; defining the core concept or theme that provides the most powerful focus for growth; helping the client develop a vision for optimizing potential and realizing desired goals; and defining action steps to realize those goals and vision.

The workshop includes didactic material related to the theory of grounded leadership and related existential, humanistic, and developmental perspectives on self-emergence.  It also includes experiential exercises to help you appreciate the dynamics of depth coaching and the importance of doing one’s own personal growth work as a condition of effective emergence coaching.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will be able to define and summarize what is meant by authentic self-emergence.
  2. Participants will be able to identify and discuss the phases of the grounded leadership coaching model.
  3. Participants will be able to explain what differentiates emergence coaching from psychotherapy and from traditional goal or problem focused coaching approaches.
  4. Participants will be able to explain and discuss the coaching qualities and competencies associated with emergence coaching.
  5. Participants will be able to explain how the coach’s own personal growth work is essential for effective emergence coaching.

Meaningful Work: 3 Steps to Help People Find & Activate their Purpose at Work

Dr. Michael StegerDr. Michael Steger is the Director for the Laboratory for the Study of Meaning and Quality of Life at Colorado State University, and has spent close to 15 years researching the factors that promote health, flourishing, and well-being. He is internationally recognized for his research on the benefits of finding meaning in one’s life and in one’s work. He is the developer of the most widely-used measure of meaning and purpose in the world, the Meaning in Life Questionnaire. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and his published works include Designing Positive Psychology and Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace, as well as the forthcoming Handbook of Positivity and Strengths-Based Approaches at Work. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Psychology of Well-Being, and on the editorial boards of numerous other journals. He enjoys providing keynote speeches, workshops, trainings, and consulting around the world on the topics of meaning, purpose, meaningful work, and well-being.

Dr. Steger will also be presenting a keynote on Making Up our Minds about Meaning: An Examination of the Common Thread Among the Many Uses of Meaning in Human Life.


Just at the same time that we have seen steady increases in workplace productivity, we have seen stagnant or declining salaries for the typical worker. Most of us are working harder than ever, with no clear-cut boundaries between “work life” and “personal life” as mobile communications brings work everywhere with us and global commerce envelopes us in a 24-hour business day. This presentation starts with one simple question: “If work asks more of our personal lives, how can our personal lives gain more from our work?” Beginning with pointing out that there are multiple stakeholders in every organization, the case is made that organizing businesses and corporations to provide meaningful work would provide benefits at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. We will use research on meaningful work and calling as our springboard to learning about the qualities and potential benefits of meaningful work. The presentation uses two research-driven frameworks to provide a practical overview of fostering meaningful work. CARMA identifies the qualities and behaviors of leaders who empower workers to achieve meaningful work, and SPIRE identifies the attitudes and behaviors individual workers use to make work more meaningful. This workshop concludes by teaching a three-step process for helping people identify meaning and purpose in their work.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify pressures on so-called “work-life balance”
  2. Articulate a model of meaningful work and key research findings about the potential advantages of meaningful work
  3. Understand the CARMA and SPIRE models of meaningful work for leaders and individuals
  4. Gain the ability to lead clients through a three-step process for identifying meaning and purpose in work

Afternoon Workshops

Pluralistic Therapy: An Existential, Goal-Focused Approach to Integrative Practice

Dr. Mick CooperDr. Mick Cooper is a Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton and a chartered counselling psychologist. He was recipient of the 2014 Carmi Harari Mid-Career Award from Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology), American Psychological Association. Mick is author and editor of a range of texts on person-centred, existential, and relational approaches to therapy, including Existential Therapies (Sage, 2003), Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2005, with Dave Mearns), and Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2011, with John McLeod). Mick has also led a range of research studies exploring the process and outcomes of existential and humanistic therapy, and is currently leading on a nationally-funded trial of school counselling with young people.  Mick’s latest book is Existential psychotherapy and counselling: Contributions to a pluralistic practice (Sage, 2015). Mick lives in Brighton with his partner and four children.

Dr. Cooper will also be presenting a keynote on The Tree of Desires: A Purpose-oriented Framework for Integrating Theories of Human Wellbeing, Distress and Change.


The pluralistic approach to therapy is an integrative framework that has been developed over the past decade by Professors John McLeod and Mick Cooper, primarily in the UK. Key texts include ‘Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy’ (Cooper and McLeod, 2011, Sage) and ‘The Handbook of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy’ (ed. Cooper and Dryden, 2016, Sage). The approach has evolved from key existential principles, and is oriented around using clients’ goals for therapy as the focal point of the therapeutic work, and the role of shared decision making and collaboration across the therapeutic dyad. The pluralistic approach also starts from an existential emphasis on the uniqueness of each client: holding that different clients may need very different understandings and methods at different points in time, and that there is no one ‘right’ way of working with clients.

This workshop will introduce participants to the pluralistic approach, and present its main principles and practices. The workshop will combine theory input, practical exercises, group discussion and self-reflection. The first part of the workshop will present the key features of the pluralistic approach, supporting evidence, and its relationship to other forms of integrative, eclectic and existential/meaning-centred practice. It will then look, in more depth, at the process of ‘metatherapeutic communication’: how therapists and clients can make effective shared decisions about different elements of the therapeutic work. This will then be explored and illustrated using the key measures and tools developed within the pluralistic approach, such as the Cooper-Norcross Inventory of Preferences (C-NIP), which can be used to help identify client preferences for the therapeutic work. The final part of the workshop will look more closely at the process of working with client goals: introducing psychological research and evidence, as well as methods, that can help clients and therapists to identify effective goals for the therapeutic process.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the key features of the pluralistic approach
  2. Understand the evidence for tailoring therapeutic interventions to individual clients
  3. Differentiate a pluralistic approach from other forms of integrative and eclectic practice, as well as from other meaning-centred and existential therapies
  4. Identify a range of methods for shared decision making with clients about the goals and methods of therapy (‘metatherapeutic communication’)
  5. Identify a range of opportunities for shared decision making with clients about the goals and methods of therapy
  6. Recognise, and use, a number of measures that are consistent with a pluralistic approach to therapy to facilitate metatherapeutic communication
  7. Identify effective goals for therapy
  8. Recognise methods that can be used to help clients construct effective goals for therapy

Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Advanced Cancer Patients

Dr. William BreitbartDr. William S. Breitbart, M.D. is Chairman, The Jimmie C Holland Chair in Psychiatric Oncology, and Chief of the Psychiatry Service, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.  He is the 2009 recipient of the Arthur Sutherland Lifetime Achievement Award for the International Psycho-oncology Society, the 2011 recipient of the Thomas Hackett Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, and the 2013 recipient of the Jimmie Holland Award from the American Psychosocial Oncology Society. Dr Breitbart is a Past President of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, as well as the International Psycho-oncology Society. Dr. Breitbart’s research efforts have focused on psychiatric aspects of cancer and palliative care. He has had continuous NIH RO1 funding of investigator initiated research since 1989. His most recent efforts have focused on Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for cancer patients. He has over 400 peer review publications, chapters and review papers. Dr. Breitbart has edited/written 10 textbooks  including: Psycho-oncology1st , 2nd and 3rd Editions; and treatment manuals on Meaning-Centered Group Psychotherapy in Advanced Cancer Patients, and Individual Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for Advanced Cancer Patient. Dr. Breitbart is Editor-in-Chief, of Cambridge University Press’ international palliative care journal entitled, “Palliative & Supportive Care”.

Dr. Breitbart will also be presenting a keynote on Meaning and Existential Issues in End of Life Care: Meaning Centered Psychotherapy.

Click here to download the PowerPoint.


This half-day experiential workshop provides an overview of a novel counseling intervention for patients with advanced cancer, entitled “Meaning Centered Psychotherapy”.  Participants will be introduced to the topics of meaning and spirituality as they relate to cancer care and the experience of patients with cancer. The basic concepts of Meaning Centered Psychotherapy will then be described.  Meaning Centered Psychotherapy is based on the concepts of meaning as derived from the work of Viktor Frankl, M.D. and adapted for use in cancer populations by our team at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Two forms of Meaning Centered Psychotherapy have been developed:  Meaning Centered Group Psychotherapy (8 weekly 1 ½ hour sessions; Individual Meaning Centered Psychotherapy (7 weekly 1 hour sessions).  Both interventions are manualized and randomized controlled trials have been conducted demonstrating clinical efficacy. Data from these studies will be presented as well. During the workshop participants will have the opportunity to participate in experiential exercises utilized in Meaning Centered Psychotherapy.  In addition, a detailed description of the intervention and the content of each session will be provided. Newer adaptations of Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy for breast cancer survivors, Caregivers, bereavement, and cultural adaptations of MCP will also be described.

Learning Objectives

  1. The attendees will become familiar with the concept of spirituality as a construct composed of faith and/or meaning.
  2. The attendees will become familiar with the importance of meaning, as a component of spiritual well-being, and its relationship to depression, hopelessness and desire for death
  3. The attendees will become familiar with a structured, didactic and experiential 8 session intervention for advanced cancer patients aimed at sustaining or enhancing a sense of meaning in the face of terminal illness.
  4. The attendees will participate in experiential exercises that are components of 4 of the sessions in Meaning Centered Psychotherapy

Discovering Meaning Through the Lens of Work

Dr. Alex PattakosDr. Alex Pattakos, Ph.D., is co-founder of the Global Meaning Institute, a leader in the Meaning Movement through its leading edge research, education programs, and strategic advising.  He is co-author (with Elaine Dundon) of The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work, an award-winning book and new Meaning paradigm that is uniquely inspired by Greek philosophy, mythology, and culture.  Dr. Pattakos is also the author of the international best-selling book on meaning, Prisoners of Our Thoughts (22+ languages), that incorporates the wisdom of Dr. Viktor Frankl, who personally urged him to write it.   A pioneer in the personal transformation arena, Pattakos has an extensive background in political science, public administration, psychology, leadership development, systems science, and business.  Dr. Pattakos has been privileged to work globally with businesses across a wide range of industries, as well as with all levels of government, including service to the White House under three U.S. presidents.  More information can be found at

Dr. Pattakos will also be presenting a keynote lecture on Understanding & Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Heroism & Terrorism Based on Greek Mythology.


Work is something that few people are able to avoid over the course of their lives.  Indeed, when one considers the amount of time most people spend “at work” during their lifetime, it should not be surprising that the search for meaning at work is–or at least should be–an important concern for all stakeholders.  Many people complain about the lack of humanity in our organizations and, as a result, feel less and less connected to others and to the work.  Work satisfaction levels are at record lows.  This crisis of meaning in the workplace is contributing to high levels of stress and fatigue, and to lost productivity.  This, however, is beginning to change.  Meaning is the new megatrend for personal and organizational transformation.  It is becoming an organization-wide initiative as leaders are realizing that Meaning can be an important tool in attracting and retaining an inspired, engaged workforce.  Unleashing the power of full engagement can only be realized if there is meaningful engagement.  In other words, everyone wants and needs to know that they and their work truly matter.  It is against this existential backdrop that the search for meaning at work needs to be seriously considered and authentically pursued.

In this pre-conference workshop, attendees will be introduced to a number of different work-related “lenses” that can be used to clarify and better understand the human quest for meaning within the context of work.  They also will learn about a new Greek-inspired paradigm and practical formula called The OPA! Way® that can be used in conjunction with these various work-related lenses in the meaning-finding and meaning analysis process.  Understanding and applying this unique paradigm and formula for discovering meaning will help build the capacity of leaders, managers, coaches, and others concerned with the pursuit of excellence at work and in the workplace to build engagement and resilience, promote health and well-being, and increase performance and innovation in organizations at all levels.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn to see work as an important focus and laboratory for understanding the human quest for meaning
  2. Learn five different work-related lenses through which to view the search for meaning
  3. Learn a new mindset and approach to lead from one’s “core of meaning” so that meaning becomes the foundation for transforming the workplace
  4. Gain increased awareness and clarity of how meaning drives and sustains engagement & resilience, health & well-being, and performance & innovation at work

Applying the Science of Happiness to Daily Life

Dr. Pninit Russo-NetzerDr. Pninit Russo-Netzer is a researcher at the department of Counseling and Human Development, University of Haifa and the Maytiv Center for Research and Practice in Positive Psychology, School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Israel. Her main research and practice interests focus on meaning in life, positive psychology, spirituality and spiritual development, positive change and growth. Dr. Russo-Netzer is a practitioner of positive psychology, a logotherapist (Diplomate Clinician) and the chairperson of the Logotherapy Association in Israel. She serves as academic advisor and consultant to both academic and non-academic institutions, develops training programs and curricula for various organizations and is the co-editor of Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology (2014), Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychotherapy (forthcoming) and Search for Meaning in the Israeli Scene (forthcoming).


“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller

Throughout history, and across cultures and traditions, happiness stands out as a central human motivation. Yet, happiness remains elusive. The emergence of the field of positive psychology has contributed greatly to the empirical exploration of the essential ingredients that make life worth living. By focusing on human potentials, capacities and strengths, positive psychology challenges and broadens traditional conceptions of psychological wellness and illness. Within this perspective, psychological well-being is understood not only as the absence of mental illness but also the presence of positive psychological resources, both hedonic (e.g., pleasure and positive emotions) and eudaimonic (e.g. meaning, purpose, and engagement) in nature. As the full life is comprised of these complementary orientations to happiness, authentic happiness may flow not only from hedonic happiness but also from leading an authentic life with a sense of higher purpose and meaning.

This workshop draws on evidence-based practices and insights from both positive psychology and logotherapy, using experiential activities and exercises. Specifically, it will highlight central ideas from positive psychology, Frankl’s meaning triangle (pathways to meaning) and the importance of prioritizing meaning and developing habits to facilitate greater well-being in our daily lives.

Learning Objectives

  1. Become familiar with Positive psychology -related basic principles based on scientific research.
  2. Discuss the idea of “prioritizing” – positivity and meaning.
  3. Experience a range of exercises and techniques based on applied PP and logotherapy.

Full-Day Workshop

Techniques of Grief Therapy

Dr. Robert NeimeyerDr. 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.

Dr. Neimeyer will also be presenting a keynote lecture on Intervening in Meaning: New Directions in Grief Therapy.

Click here to download the workshop handout.


Beginning with a discussion of the power of presence as a fundamental dimension of the therapeutic “holding environment,” we will consider how we can quickly assess our clients’ needs, particularly when they struggle with complicated, prolonged grief symptomatology.  We will then discuss how to foster a safe relational container for a healing “re-telling” of the loss experience, anchoring such work in both contemporary meaning reconstruction and dual process models and related research.  Drawing on clinical videos of clients contending with losses through cancer, sudden accident and suicide, we will learn to listen between the lines of the stories clients tell themselves and others about the death to grasp more fully the unvoiced meaning of their grief, and how we can help them integrate the event story of the death into the larger narrative of their lives.  Participants should conclude the session with sharpened skills for clinical assessment, a clearer appreciation for the challenge to meaning and spiritualty associated with violent death bereavement, and an expanded toolbox for using metaphor, body work and a variety of narrative procedures for helping clients make sense of the loss and their response to it.

Learning Objectives

  1. Distinguish between therapeutic “presence” and “absence” in the process of therapy
  2. Recognize empirical risk factors associated with complicated grief reactions
  3. Implement restorative retelling and situational revisiting procedures for mastering the event story of the loss
  4. Differentiate between forms of directed journaling that foster self-immersion and self-distancing to modulate emotions evoked by the death
  5. Outline metaphoric and body-oriented procedures for exploring the sensed meanings of the client’s grief
  6. Describe narrative techniques for accommodating loss in literal and figurative ways into the changed narrative of the client’s life