Presenter: Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD
Recorded: December 5, 2018
When grieving is conceived as a process of reaffirming or reconstructing a wold of meaning that has been challenged by loss, grief therapy becomes a process of collaborating with clients in processing the “event story” of the death itself and its implications for clients’ ongoing lives, and in accessing the “back story” of their relationship with the deceased to restore a sense of attachment security and to address unfinished business. Doing so requires a vulnerable offer of presence on the part of both therapist and client, as well as a delicate reading of the process of therapy that assists both in identifying and addressing clients’ specific implicit needs and readiness to address them.
Led by the interests of participants in the webinar, Neimeyer is open to discussing all aspects of meaning reconstruction as a trauma-informed and attachment-informed intervention, as well as its possible relevance to difficult cases brought forward for consultation. Equally, at the discretion of questioners, he can share selected results of recent research with his collaborators on such topics as network analyses of complicated grief and post traumatic growth, social validation and invalidation of mourners’ meaning-making efforts, the role of meaning in mediating the impact of numerous risk factors for complication in bereavement, and the assessment of unfinished business in relation to the deceased.
This webinar will be suitable for bereavement support workers and grief therapists with experience in dealing with complex processes that both hinder and facilitate adaptation to life-altering loss.
Following this webinar participants will:
- Distinguish two major dimensions of meaning reconstruction in bereavement.
- Identify the three “P” principles that shape the practice of grief therapy.
- Determine markers of client need and readiness to engage a particular focus.
- Select and appropriate technique or strategy to maximise therapeutic change.
- Work with resistance to change as an aid rather than impediment to therapy.
- Summarise the most recent findings arising in research on meaning making.
Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., is a 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 conducted extensive research on the topics of death, grief, loss, and suicide intervention.
Neimeyer 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, the latter with Barbara Thompson. 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.
Neimeyer is the Editor of the respected international journal, Death Studies, and served as President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Distinguished Research Award, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, elected Chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, and given the Research Recognition, Clinical Practice and Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Most recently, he has received the Phoenix Award: Rising to the Service of Humanity from the MISS Foundation, been given ADEC's Lifetime Achievement Award, and been recognised as an Honored Associate of the Viktor Frankl Association for his lifetime contributions to the study of meaning.