Working with Death and Loss in the Therapeutic Space

Thursday 14th June 2018

Working with death and loss in the therapeutic space

Thursday 14th June, 10-4.30pm

This workshop will look at working with clients anticipating a loss e.g. in the form of illness and working with clients experiencing a sudden loss e.g. fire, accident, suicide. We will demonstrate through case examples clients suffering with a bereavement having therapy in a time limited model and case examples using a long term model.

The workshop will question assumptions about loss and grief and look at different types of loss that are not deaths. The workshop will explore the concept of uncertainty and death awareness using case example to illustrate the points. While looking at meaning and suffering touching on Viktor Frankl’s contribution to existential thought with logo-therapy. We will explore the role of dreams in the bereaved client’s journey.

We will look at religion and how a client’s religious beliefs can help or hinder their grief. The workshop will emphasise the importance of self care for the therapist and the necessity of supervision throughout the therapist’s career. The therapist will look at the language and metaphors clients may use through their grief. The workshop will use case examples to illustrate the challenges a client experiencing a bereavement may face in their day to day lives e.g. how does a mother who lost a child answer the question “ How many children do you have?” to a stranger whilst in the park with another child of theirs. The workshop will examine the difficulties client’s face with the ‘firsts’ since their loss e.g. the first anniversary of the death, or the first holiday without the deceased.

We will discuss the importance of using existential theory and practice to inform your work as a therapist working with this population and remaining phenomenological as the most respectful way of working with these clients. It will include an experiential aspect in the form of a death awareness guided imagery exercise allowing the students to get in touch with their own death awareness and therefore being able to use that to inform them how a client may potentially feel.

The workshop will open up other questions like what happens if your therapist dies or has to suddenly stop working due to a loss in their life.. How to manage with endings that are abrupt and unexpected. We will also explore the importance of support for the client once therapy comes to an end , e.g. in the case of time limited sessions pointing out to the client before the end session ways of accessing further support.

Lastly the course will finish demonstrating the importance of clinical supervision throughout the therapists career and the necessity for having a strong internal supervisor and practising self care.

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