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201: Strangely Wrapped Gifts: Learning to Welcome What Loss Can Teach Us

Beth Miller, M.A.
Faithful and True
15798 Venture Ln.
Eden Prairie, MN 5534

Many clients who have experienced the heartache of a significant loss choose to patch themselves up, put their heads down, and contort themselves around their pain rather than allowing a transformation. Often, clients want to shut pain down in the fastest way possible—and there are many strategic, effective ways of doing so. However, what if our compassionate God longs for each of us to be on the formational journey toward our true self and offers us an “on-ramp” to that experience through our pain? This workshop provides steppingstones for mental health professionals as they walk with Christian clients on the journey of not just “getting through” the chaos of loss and pain but also saying yes to the invitation of emotional and spiritual formation it has to offer. For those who have experienced trauma, which almost always accompanies loss, research shows that it is life-giving to have a redemptive vision for post-traumatic growth. While loss often leaves us feeling out of control, Christian clients can discover through the therapeutic process that no one can take away the choice of how we respond. We can accept God’s invitation to steward our pain, transforming the course of our lives on a sacred path of growth and healing.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:
• Discuss how loss can teach clients to explore clean anger, shed shame, grow in their understanding of the “both/and,” consider forgiveness as a process, and explore the sacred surrender to what “is” rather than what “is not”
• Evaluate how loss can invite willing Christian clients into a more accurate image of God, specifically considering God as more midwife than rescuer
• Identify several practices for mental health professionals well suited for navigating grief and loss that considers client spirituality

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