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Integrating Theory and Research into Passionate Practice of
Amy Chow, PhD, RSW, FT, CHt
Entering the era of evidence-based practice, there is a growing
concern on efficacy of interventions. The modest results of grief
intervention, as found in available meta-analyses of efficacy studies,
call for systematic development and critical evaluation of grief
support. Passionate clinicians are sometimes considered as
extraterrestrial to research and theories. This presentation shares the
journey of a passionate clinician exploring the new terrain through
integrating the theories of bereavement into practice and using research
to streamline the interventions. In particular, two main projects will
be shared, concerning support of widowed older adults and bereaved
persons with intellectual disabilities. A pilot group intervention based
on the Dual Process Model of Coping was run for widowed older adults in
Hong Kong. Taking into account the cultural context, special features
were added to the intervention. Findings of the evaluation and their
implications for the future will be outlined. In addition, the journey
of developing death education and bereavement support for persons with
intellectual disabilities will be shared.
Everybody Deserves To Have Their Story Heard:
The Practice of Dignity Therapy in End-of-Life Care
Lori Montross, PhD
For those clinicians who wish to implement the Dignity Therapy method
championed by Dr. Harvey Chochinov, this workshop focuses on learning
the “nuts and bolts” of application in an actual hospice
setting. Dr. Montross will describe the specific steps of Dignity
Therapy: introducing the process to eligible patients/families and
providing a copy of the protocol questions; interviewing the patient;
transcribing and editing the interview document; reading back the
document to the patient/family; and presenting a bound copy of the final
document as a legacy gift. A videotaped example of an actual Dignity
Therapy interview will illustrate the process.
Bridging Research and Practice Session:
What is Normal Grief? Mapping the Variations
George A. Bonanno, PhD
Until recently, reactions to potentially traumatic life events, including grief reactions following the death of loved ones, have been understood almost exclusively using a simplistic, binary distinction of pathology versus health. Alternatively, loss events have sometimes been examined by comparing average differences between bereaved and non-bereaved people, or by examining average levels of grief symptoms across time. Although both approaches have been useful, neither fully captures the true heterogeneity of responses to these events. Moreover, both approaches have underestimated the prevalence of human resilience in the normal population. In this talk, I will describe studies from Columbia University’s research program in which researchers have attempted to map prototypical trajectories of adjustment in response to loss, as well as other demanding life events that involve loss, such as terrorist disaster, combat, traumatic injury, and cancer surgery. I will place special emphasis on resilient outcomes and explore several of the many factors that predict resilient outcomes.
Following his presentation, Dr. Bonanno will sign copies of his
books (available for sale during the conference) or bookplates for those
who have his books at home.
Helping Children After Traumatic Loss
Annette Iversen, PhD
This presentation will focus on issues of children’s trauma in the context of death, dying and bereavement. It is intended that attendees develop a better understanding of signs and circumstances that may suggest the existence of childhood trauma, including insight into differentiating between trauma and non-traumatic grief and loss. Attendees will also receive information on the appropriate function of multiple providers where childhood trauma is suspected or diagnosed. Special attention will be paid to tragically more common occurrences of mass killings at schools and other places frequented by children.
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