This webinar will commence with a discussion of sources of resilience for bereaved children and parents - with a particular emphasis on the challenges faced by bereaved parents and resilient parenting by bereaved parents. This will be followed by a discussion of what we have learned in our research on the Family Bereavement Program about the malleability of these sources of resilience and the impact of strengthening these sources of resilience on the well-being of bereaved children and parents over time.
Irwin Sandler received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1971 from the University of Rochester. Over the past forty years he has been interested in understanding how some children adapt well following exposure to serious stressful events such as the death of their parent. He has been particularly interested in how to build programs to promote resilience of bereaved children and families.
He and his colleagues have published multiple studies on sources of resilience in bereaved children including understanding the role of coping, expression of feelings and how children think about the stressors which they experience. He has been particularly interested in understanding how bereaved parents can promote resilience of their children. He and his colleagues developed the Family Bereavement Program to promote resilience of children who are bereaved due to the death of a parent. The program works with both children and parents to help them reach their own goals and to develop skills that research finds are predictive of resilient outcomes.
Their research has demonstrated positive effects of the program to lead to reduced distressing grief and lower levels of mental health problems of bereaved children up to 15 years later. The program was also sound to lead to more effective parenting, lower levels of prolonged grief disorder, depression and alcohol abuse of bereaved parents up to six years later. Many of the effects of the program on children were found to be accounted for by strengthening of parenting. The research has been extensively published and is one of the most comprehensively evaluated programs for bereaved families. Dr. Sandler has received the outstanding contribution to research award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling as well as many other awards for his research on child and family resilience. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Death Education and Counseling, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for Prevention Research.
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