TBD - 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.
Program Rates : see below
Persons Experiencing Loss And Grief Through Death, Trauma, Disability, Relational Loss, Job Loss/Retirement, Chronic Illness, Domestic and Other Violence/Abuse
Families, Loved Ones, Lay and Professional Caregivers of Person’s Impacted by The Above Losses
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Make $135 Commuter Rate Payment (institutions and Adams County Residents)
Make $165 General Public Rate Payment
Make $265 Residential Payment
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One of the most profound and universal human experiences, Loss and Grieving, occurs in the context of attachment, to other persons, of our most core level dreams about what it means to be human--our hopes, expectations, fantasies, and projections of ourselves into the world. It is no wonder then, that when these dreams are shattered by life events, both in and out of our control, the impact is often experienced as devastating, rendering life as suddenly being “without meaning.” This workshop offers a perspective and an experience of how to understand and navigate this very difficult yet necessary journey of “letting go” of the lost dreams in order to reach a new “meaningful” attachment to life, again, with new, more attainable, dreams, hopes and expectations for ourselves and others.
LOSING A DREAM:
A Universal Human Experience, grounded in the human reality of attachment, in which Core Level Dreams are shattered with a consequence of immediate entrance into the process of Grieving and Coping that impels Transformation and Growth. Without a dream, an individual’s sense of guidance, understanding, and attachment are thrown into disarray. Without guidance, an individual’s task of choosing is compromised and a sense of mastery is lost.
Without attachment, caring and commitment, the expression of feelings becomes disrupted—No dream to be pursued. Passion disappears. Without the values expressed in a dream, one loses the understanding that is essential to the meaning behind one’s life.
THE PROCESS OF GRIEVING:
Through the grieving process and the ensuing transition and transformation, new, more attainable dreams are brought forth that better express the natural self in the face of loss.
Grieving is the process whereby an individual separates from a significant lost dream, illusion, fantasy or projection into the future. Grieving is an unlearned, spontaneous, feeling process that facilitates the ability to let go of old, shattered dreams, and to acquire new, more attainable dreams.
THE FEELING STATES OF GRIEVING:
Feelings/Emotions impel the changes necessary for humans to come back into congruence with themselves after the shattering experience of loss. Feeling States most notably functional in the Grieving Process are Denial, Anxiety, Fear, Depression, Guilt, Anger.
Each Feeling State is the “symptom” of the Existential Human Core Level Belief that has been fundamentally impacted by your unique experience of Loss.
HELPING WITH LOSS:
Culturally, and therefore, clinically, helpers have historically believed that the feeling states of grieving serve a negative function, and therefore are “the problem” that needs to be addressed. Professionals are often taught techniques to confront the denying, calm the anxious, reassure the fearful, dissuade the guilty, uplift the depressed and defuse the angry. Such “interventions” are based on the premise that the reaction to a loss is the problem, not the loss itself.
APPROACHING GRIEF as a DANCE versus a “TREATABLE PATHOLOGY”
Individually Striving for Ownership, Achieving Insight: Each person has a unique way of interpreting events and personal emotional history that influences perceptions of occurrences and events. Through striving for ownership, emotions are integrated with an ideational framework and insight emerges. One then understands what one feels, and one’s ideas become personally significant. A person who does not strive for ownership is apt to become bombarded by the values and beliefs of others. An individual who has insight into personal values and beliefs that serve as motivators, is capable of maintaining personal truth while simultaneously respecting the truth of others.
“The only pain that humans can avoid is the pain we create when trying to avoid pain”
Acknowledgement of loss differs sharply from acceptance of loss. Acknowledgement speaks to an awareness of what one has lost and how one feels about that loss; the reality of impact, not the absence of pain. Acknowledgement paradoxically brings the bereaved person to a sharper, here-and-now awareness of the pain of loss. Those painful feeling states then impel people to reexamine their priorities, value, ideals, and sense of meaning.
BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP:
Anyone wishing to support an individual during the process of grief and the reconnection of feelings, thoughts, actions and beliefs, can do so by practicing the skills of an Interactive Process called ENUF: Empathy, Non-Judgment, Unconditionally, Feeling Focus.
The above thoughts, ideas, theories and models of human experience, behavior, interaction and collaboration will be deepened, enlarged upon, shared, explored, explained, discussed and experienced.
CEUs are available for an additional $50.
Gwen Whiting has been an Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Specialist focusing on Crisis, Trauma, Loss and Grieving for close to 45 years. She has joined with persons experiencing loss in hospitals—both medical and psychiatric diverse populations and communities, private practice settings, as well as on airplanes, on buses, in Red Cross shelters after Katrina, in her own home with mothers of newborns flown from New Orleans just after delivering their babies, with Veterans at the VA, in schools at all levels of education, and in her own family and circle of friends. She LIVES the Model she shares and has dedicated her professional life to walking with others on the painful journey that begins with the shattering of important dreams, creating core level loss and progressing through grieving, and coping to begin creating new more attainable dreams. She has, herself experienced core level losses from early in her childhood and consistently throughout her life—not unlike many other human beings in the course of their lives.
Gwen brings a profound willingness to enter into the experience of loss and grief through building relationship and engaging in empathic connection with those walking this very difficult, though creative process path. Her mantra when working with others in the process of grieving, is now and has been from the beginning: “There is no place I would rather be in this moment, than here, with you, sharing and partnering with you as you grieve and grow."