The Worm At the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

The Worm At the Core: On the Role of Death in Life
Type: Webinar
Date: Thursday, 16th July 2020
Presenter: Dr Sheldon Solomon
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Audience: Clinical practitioners, psychological scientists.

Webinar Overview: The Worm At the Core: On the Role of Death in Life

The uniquely human fear of death has a pervasive effect on human beings' thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.  Humans manage the terror of death by adhering to culturally constructed beliefs about reality that provide a sense that one is a person of value in a world of meaning, and thus eligible for either literal or symbolic immortality. 

The quest for immortality underlies some of humankind’s most noble achievements.  It also, however, engenders some of our most ignominious affectations, including: hostility and disdain for people with different beliefs; attraction to ideological demagogues; indifference to, or contempt for, the natural environment; and, the mindless pursuit of material possessions which, if unchecked, may render humans the first form of life responsible for their own extinction.  This presentation will share an overview of these ideas and empirical work that corroborates them, and then consider the implications of these notions for grief and bereavement processes and practices.

Learning Outcomes: 
at the conclusion of this webinar, participants should be able to:

1. Familiarity with Ernest Becker's claims in The Denial of Death that humans manage existential terror by embracing cultural world views that confer a sense that one is a person of value in a world of meaning. 
2. Describe basic terror management theory (TMT) research demonstrating that: self-esteem buffers anxiety; reminders of death instigates culture worldview defence and self-esteem striving; and, threats to cherished beliefs or self-esteem bring non-conscious death thoughts more readily to mind. 
3. Understand the role of death anxiety in self-destructive health behaviours and psychological disorders. 
4.     Consider the implications of these ideas for grief and bereavement practices. 

Presenter Bio's: Dr Sheldon Solomon

Dr Sheldon Solomon, PHD, is the Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College.  His studies of the effects of the uniquely human awareness of death on behaviour have been supported by the National Science Foundation and Ernest Becker Foundation, and were featured in the award winning documentary film Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality. He is co-author of In the Wake of 9/11: The Psychology of Terror and The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life.  Sheldon is an American Psychological Society Fellow, and a recipient of an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation (2007), a Lifetime Career Award by the International Society for Self and Identity (2009), and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs Annual Faculty Award (2011).

Date: Thursday, 16th July 2020

10.30am - 12.00pm AEST

Use this link to know your time to watch live: 

If you're unable to attend at the scheduled time but you would still like to purchase this webinar please register and regardless of attendance at the scheduled time you will be sent a recording of the webinar to view at your leisure. This recording will remain available for three months.


$50.00 ACGB Members
$75.00 Non ACGB Members

Cancellation policy: 

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement reserves the right to cancel education programs that do not achieve minimum participation, in which case all fees will be refunded. Registration cancellations will not be accepted unless made in writing to the centre. Cancellations made more than thirty (30) days prior to the event date will be refunded less 25% of the registration fee to cover administration costs. No registration refunds will be made after this date. Please note: The full invoiced amount will still be payable in the event of non-attendance on the day.

Terms and Conditions: 

1. Intellectual Property

ACGB’s program and program content is copyrighted. Its use and dissemination is restriction and unauthorised duplication is prohibited. A copy of the webinar presentation will be available after the webinar and is for personal/non-commercial use only. The content is not to be modified or republished in any way without the prior consent of ACGB and the presenter. Any breach of copyright, including the recording of the presentation or any unauthorised use of the material may lead to legal action.

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