2.00 CE Credits Available
Grief Therapy Masterclass Volume 2: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Loss
by Robert A. Neimeyer
One of the greatest challenges to working with grieving clients is helping to free them from the pain of the “event story,” or the circumstances and details of their loved one’s death — especially when the loss is traumatic. In this video, the second in a four-volume series, clinicians will learn to skillfully and compassionately help grieving clients gain some therapeutic distance from the event story of their loss through the process of restorative re-telling.
In this volume we take a deep dive into the first of the three areas of fixation that clients struggle with:, the “event story” of their loss, or how their loved one died. This struggle may center around violations of their sense of safety and fairness, the prematurity of their loss, or a direct assault on their perceived capacity to protect others, especially children.

You'll bear witness to an extremely compelling hour-long session with “Guy,” who has lost two of his four children only years apart, in tragic and heartbreaking circumstances. By watching this poignant session unfold, highlighted by discussions between Neimeyer and Psychotherapy.net founder Victor Yalom, you will gain deeper insight into Neimeyer’s highly effective approach. You will also take away immediately useful clinical skills for working strategically and supportively with traumatic loss, including the integration of empathetic collaboration, emotional pacing, experiential attunement, and mapping the re-telling of the event story.

By watching Neimeyer demonstrate his creative and flexible set of techniques, you will learn to sit comfortably within the discomfort of your client’s story, help them to feel grounded while doing so, elicit sufficient details from their event story so they can make meaning of their loss(es), ask questions explicitly that clients ask themselves implicitly, and transcend concrete therapeutic protocols in order to make deep connection with clients so they may make transformative changes.   

What therapists are saying…

“Who can convey the effect of the framework presented in this Masterclass better than Guy when he states at the close of session that Neimeyer provided a setting where “that story, or parts of that story can be told without judging and without trying to find solutions”? What I can say is that Dr. Niemeyer’s response to deepen the moment was the quintessential example, for me, of the cultivated care evident within the theory and techniques masterfully demonstrated in this course. If you are looking for ways to incorporate the empirical, the existential, and the humane, then this course is for you.”
— Daryk Scott, MA, Stuart Way Counseling, LLC
“With great clarity, these videos offer efficacious applications of narrative therapy to addressing grief and grief-related issues. Before each demonstration there is an explanation of what is about to happen, the skills being utilitzed are labeled on-screen during the demonstration, with an in-depth explantation afterward. The mix of in-person and telehealth sessions makes the course feels moderns and approachable”
— Audrey Zatopek, MA
"Grief Therapy Masterclass is a comprehensive course that succinctly explains clinical and theoretical concepts employed during client sessions. Dr. Neimeyer transcends theory to make human connection and healing possible. This course shows how to compassionately work through complicated grief and will benefit any counselor in training or instructor."
— Patricia Brenner, Associate Professor, Kutztown University
“I found these videos to be tremendously helpful. Dr. Neimeyer skillfully demonstrates the use of narrative therapy in grief work, with a focus not just on the client, but also the experience of the therapist.”
— Kimberly Blest, MA, Lancaster Bible College /Capital Seminary & Graduate School
In Depth
CE Test
One of the greatest challenges to the grieving client is “getting stuck in the “event story,” or the circumstances and details of their loved one’s death, especially when that loss involves trauma.

Such is the case of Guy, who, along with his wife, Christine, lost two of their children in traumatic and traumatizing circumstances. Having initially received individual and family therapy following the loss of their 19-year-old son Steven almost four years before in a car accident, Guy’s wounds have been tragically re-opened, along with intrusive thoughts and images related to the accidental drowning death of his 19-year-old daughter Sylvie a mere year-and –a-half ago.

Fearing of re-opening earlier wounds and the return of the depression and terror he experienced following Steven’s death, he meets with Neimeyer in hopes of gently and partially revisiting his painful and traumatizing event story with a restorative, hopeful, and resilience-affirming re-telling of his narrative of loss. By watching them work, you will not only appreciate but take away powerful techniques you can immediately apply in working with your own grieving clients centered around several core methods:

Restorative Retelling — An empathically attuned clinical response to the client’s event story supporting a re-telling of that narrative in a non-retraumatizing fashion.

Re-weaving the Event Story — Eliciting and integrating the three strands of the loss narrative including the external narrative (details of the loss), internal narrative (emotional/somatic elements of the loss), and reflexive narrative (the meaning-making of the story).

Three P’s of Attunement — At a “process” level, the clinician implements bracing (modulating the client’s level of exposure to the loss events), pacing (moving the client briskly through the re-telling) and facing (helping the client to “stand into” and narrate the story).

The Pyramid of Practice — A tripartite approach to standing with a grieving client in a non-anxious way that involves procedure (techniques, methods, and tools), process (empathy, non-verbal feedback, somatic awareness), and presence (mindfulness, responsiveness, vulnerability).

For Neimeyer, knowing how to do grief therapy should certainly be at the core of our work with grieving clients; however, it is only one leg of a 3-legged stool, the other two being attachment-informed therapy and resilience-informed therapy. By watching this gripping video, you will learn to comfortably, confidently, and competently share this stool with your clients as they re-narrate their stories of loss.   

Length of video: 1:57:09

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-608-0

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-608-0

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, and maintains an active consulting and coaching practice. He also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition which provides online and onsite training internationally in grief therapy. 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. He has received numerous awards for his scholarly and clinical contributions. Most recently, he has been granted Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network for Personal Meaning.

Neimeyer has published 35 books, including New Techniques of Grief Therapy: Bereavement and Beyond and The Handbook of Grief Therapies, the latter with Edith Steffen and Jane Milman. The author of over 600 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. Please visit the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition website to learn more about live online training, pre-recorded online training and on-site training opportunities.  

CE credits: 2

Learning Objectives:

  • discuss the therapeutic importance of addressing the “event story” comprising the client’s loss
  • integrate the model of restorative re-telling into your case conceptualizations with grieving clients
  • plan treatment that will help clients re-tell their loss story without re-traumatizing them

Bibliography available upon request

This course is offered for ASWB ACE credit for social workers. See complete list of CE approvals here

© 2023

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