Academy of Human Development

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UEN No/CPE Reg No/ GST Reg No: 199900986N
(Reg. Period: 19 May 2020 to 20 May 2024)

Grief Therapy for Traumatic Loss: Essential Interventions


When the death is tragic and untimely, as when a significant person dies by suicide, overdose or fatal accident, grief can be particularly complicated by a gamut of challenging emotions, ranging from horror and helplessness to anger and incomprehension. In such cases, grief therapy needs to adopt a carefully tailored approach that recognizes the role of trauma in impeding the mourner’s integration of the loss. In this 2-day workshop, we will begin by considering how we can quickly assess our clients’ needs in terms of the Tripartite Model of Meaning Reconstruction in bereavement, featuring obstacles to processing the event story of the death, accessing the back story of the relationship with the deceased, and revising the personal story of the mourner’s own sense of identity in the shadow of loss. We will then consider flexible techniques that 1) help mourners not only make sense of the loss in the context of the changed story of their lives but also make sense of themselves as survivors in light of it, and 2) access and reconstruct the terms of attachment to the deceased so as to reaffirm constructive bonds in a sustainable, non-physical form, and to resolve unfinished business in bonds that are more problematic or ambivalent.


Day 1:

  • Distinguish between therapeutic “presence” and “absence” in the process of therapy;
  • Implement Restorative Retelling procedures for mastering the event story of the loss;
  • Identify markers for the use of narrative retelling of an event story of loss, and guidelines for avoiding re-traumatization;
  • Summarize guidelines for Analogical Listening as a form of embodied dialogue to help clients make greater sense of their emotions and themselves;
  • Describe how a non-literal, figurative form of inquiry into the felt sense of loss can help clients symbolize their implicit embodied meanings; and
  • Experiment with visual arts to externalize the inner landscape of loss, permitting further dialogue with it to discover unanticipated steps toward healing.

Day 2:

  • Recognize process markers of when imaginal dialogue is called for in a therapeutic session with a bereaved client;
  • Summarize the procedures involved in introducing, facilitating and processing of symbolic interactions with the deceased;
  • Describe techniques for prompting client “witnessing” of the interaction and tailoring it to use safely in cases when the deceased has profoundly abused, neglected or abandoned the client;
  • Adapt imaginal dialogues for use in both in-office and telehealth settings; and
  • Distinguish between different forms of therapeutic prompts for imaginal correspondence with the deceased to serve goals of bereavement support, as well as to advance several distinctive goals in grief therapy.



Contact Mr Dave Goh, 6593 5284, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact Dr Carolyn Ng, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Course Schedule

Dates 27 & 28 July 2023
Timing 9.00am - 5.00pm
Trainer(s) Dr Robert A. Neimeyer & Dr Carolyn Ng
Venue(s) Lifelong learning Institute