SKU: WC21-WK101 Category: Tags: ,


101: Psychological and Spiritual Evidence-based Interventions for Grieving Individuals and Families

Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, Ed.D.
Getting to the Other Side
1413 Grovehurst Dr.
Marietta, GA 30062

Robert DeVries, Ph.D.
Getting to the Other Side
1413 Grovehurst Dr.
Marietta, GA 30062

When one family member dies, many in the family grieve the same person’s death. All the family members are thrown into their own personal grief, but the family is forced to adjust to the absence of the deceased person. Since February/March 2020, we have had to deal with COVID-19 that created havoc within families. This workshop will examine the research on the changes individuals and the total family unit need to make to re-establish equilibrium individually and between one another. Primary to this process are the components of family openness and the dynamics between individual family members. The second consideration in re-establishing equilibrium is the level and strength of family support, cohesion, and maturity that existed prior to the death of the family member, as well as relationship changes among all who are primarily affected by the death. A third area to explore is how everyone’s spiritual belief system is interwoven into their grief experiences, which likely could differ from other family members. Scripture calls the Church “the body of Christ,” which serves as a heuristic image in counseling a family devastated by the death of one of its members. This biblical image speaks to the unity and equilibrium in forming a renewed bond spiritually within the family.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:
• Identify and assess individual dynamics and circumstances that contributed to family functioning or conflict in the past, which includes the trauma associated with COVID-19 but is newly challenged by the death of one of its members
• Describe how each role relationship and level of attachment with the deceased is affected by the death and often alters the dynamics of the family system, creating the need to re-establish mutual understanding and support
• Implement psychological and spiritual evidence-based approaches for psychologists and licensed mental health professionals to facilitate the re-establishment of equilibrium and cohesiveness for both grieving individuals and their family units

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