Sunday, October 18, 2009

Conference

I got back yesterday afternoon from a two and a half day conference: Foundations of Bereavement Counseling, presented through CMI and The American Academy of Bereavement. The conference was taught by Robert Zucker and Jack Jordan, both excellent speakers. I had seen Zucker before, and even though I'd heard a lot of the material at a seminar I attended about a year ago, it served as a great review and still gave me new ideas on working with grieving children and teens. I wish I could head to Phoenix next for Advanced Bereavement Counseling but alas, I had to pay for this one myself. The conference was great overall but emotionally exhausting, as it appears most mental health related conferences also serve as therapy sessions. Of course, talking about grief just ups the ante if you have personally experienced loss. Yes, there were things that I applied to my own loss experiences but I also realized anew how empathetic I am. Tears easily welled up when other people would share their losses, whether a miscarriage, loss of a child, violent death, or losing a parent as an adult. I'll probably share some insights over time. For now I thought I'd just share a few take away phrases and let you mull them over.

In terms of society's view of death: "It's not that I object to my death; I just don't want to be there when it happens." -Woody Allen

We're on the same path as our clients when we're in this line of work. We must face our own losses and face our mortality.

Grief is like phantom limb pain.

The best gift we can give the grieving person is to recognize that we do not know what this experience means to them and to communicate that we are willing to find out and understand.

Your task when you are grieving is not to let go but to find a different way to hold on. Death ends a life but it does not end the relationship.

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