Speakers and Class Descriptions

Maranda Beaver, LMSW, Community Outreach Coordinator, SC Department of Mental Health Office of Suicide Prevention

“Suicide Loss Bereavement: Complexities and Coping”

This session will look at the complexities associated with suicide loss that make the grieving process unique. It will address many feelings and emotions that are often experienced after a suicide loss, that may not be as common when grieving other types of losses. The presentation will look at different intervention strategies to address suicide loss bereavement as well as elements of the grieving process that are specific to suicide loss.

Courtney Chandler, ATR, LPCA, AADC, E-RYT, Somatic Art Therapist HeARTS for Hope Therapy, LLC

“Grieving HeARTS: Creating Safe Space for Sorrow through Group Art Therapy” (Clinician Focus)

Trauma and grief share interconnected ‘symptoms’ that can lead to dysregulated and overwhelming emotions as well as loss of Self and safety. This breakout session provides a creative lens for clinicians to support their clients through grief and safety planning. This experiential presentation guides participants through a hands-on art activity that offers a creative approach to impactful safety planning. Participants will also gain an understanding of the benefits of group art therapy and learn compassionate ways to support reflection and group processing of deep sorrow expressed through art.

“I Carry You In My HeART: Honoring Life, Love, and Loss with Altered Books” (Caregiver Focus)

The grieving process can be overwhelming to navigate. Art therapy can offer a container for complex emotions and existential thoughts to be witnessed, held, and transformed. This breakout session guides participants through a unique expressive arts activity that integrates poetry and visual arts. Participants will have the opportunity to create their own Altered Book, write an empowering poem through a guided journaling prompt, and gain a first-hand account of the healing powers of the expressive arts.

Kenneth Doka, Ph. D., Leading expert on grief counseling & therapy, Professor, Author, Minister (see below for Dr. Doka’s complete bio)

“Coping with Grief During the Holidays”

This session explores the reasons that the holidays can be a particularly difficult time when one is grieving a loss. In this session, participants explore strategies to help individuals cope with grief during the holidays as well as coping strategies to avoid. A final section describes ways varied organizations can help grieving individuals.

“Disenfranchised Grief and the COVID-19 Pandemic”

This session will define disenfranchised grief and the ways that such grief may be experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Doka will share alternative ways to offer bereavement support in view of the constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Implications for bereavement care post-pandemic will be explored.

“Caregiving and Anticipatory Grief”

This session will define anticipatory grief and differentiate it from anticipatory grief and indicate the ways it may be experienced in caregiving. The challenges experienced in caregiving as well as the objective and subjective factors that create caregiver burden will be explored. Dr. Doka will describe interventive strategies to assist family caregivers.

David Gladson, BCC, Bereavement Counselor, Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, GA

“When the Earthquake Comes: The Spiritual Journey of Grieving”

For many of us, faith is the foundation of our lives. Our spirituality gives us the lungs to breathe, the heart to make meaning and the soul to hope. But when the earthquake of loss hits our lives, the very ground under our feet often gives way. Absence feels more real than Presence. How do we find purpose and strength again during these dark nights? Join us as we explore both the challenges and the benefits of faith and ways to spiritually cope and meet our needs in the midst of grief.

Christopher M. Strom, Volunteer with Interim Hospice in Grief Support

“Grief 101: Applying the Six Needs of Mourning to Your Grief Journey”

Chris will walk through the six needs of mourning as defined by Alan Wolfelt and ask you to consider how you are applying them on your grief journey.

Jillian Kelly Wavering, LCSW, RPT-S, Asheville Child Therapy

“Enhancing Resilience in Young Children Experiencing Grief and Loss” and “Enhancing Resilience in Children Experiencing Grief and Loss.” This session aims at guiding caregivers and providers in helping children express their many varied feelings as they experience the grieving process. The session will provide an overview of child development as it relates to grief and loss understanding and provide concrete ideas, techniques, and rituals for children, families, and providers to utilize wherever they are in their grief journey.