Dr Robert A. Neimeyer

University of Memphis, USA
Intervening in Meaning: New Directions in Grief Therapy

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A Masterclass in Grief Therapy

Monday, 9th May 2016

This workshop will be facilitated with the assistance of Dr Diana Sands

You’ve spent years offering support to bereaved people. You’ve used reliable procedures to help them manage waves of disruptive emotion, reconnect with others, and envision a changed life and changed bond with their deceased loved one. You’ve likely encountered and found inspiration in some of the newer models of grieving, and perhaps even sought training in recent evidence-based protocols for addressing the possible complications in bereavement. But where can you turn to find an ample frame for this work, one that respects the fundamental role of our personal presence to a client’s suffering, while also helping us navigate the sometimes mysterious process of therapy, within which we sometimes perform specific procedures?

This workshop is designed to answer just these questions. Beginning with a discussion of the multiple meanings of ‘meaning’, it offers to experienced grief therapists a generous set of practice principles, illustrated in clinical video, live demonstrations and experiential exercises. Pushing beyond a conception of bereavement support as ‘talk therapy’, we will then consider several methods for exploring grief-related metaphors, imagery and embodied knowing, artfully integrating visual media with analogical listening to deepen clients’ awareness of their implicit needs in relation to their loss. In keeping with a constructivist understanding of resistance to change as a coherent expression of often inarticulate core beliefs and purposes, we will consider how to invite and engage such ‘immunity to change’ in the process of therapy, and watch this non-counteractive stance unfold in recordings of actual sessions. Finally, we will practise visual supervision of current therapy cases, in order to understand more clearly the problem systems in which both our clients and we are enmeshed, and to imagine more constructive alternatives.

Described by previous participants as ‘wildly creative, but practically relevant’, this workshop is intended to stimulate clinical creativity in grief therapy, enlivening both experienced practitioners and the clients they serve.

Learning Objectives:

  • identify four ‘principles of practice’ that guide the process of responsive grief therapy
  • refine skills for using position work in counselling through the use of choreography and imaginal conversations
  • meld analogical, body-oriented work with expressive arts modalities to promote fuller articulation and renegotiation of felt meanings
  • spot the emergence of ‘immunity to change’ processes in order to befriend resistance and overcome unconscious roadblocks to the therapeutic progress
  • engage actual problem systems of current clients through symbolic expression in order to imagine fresh possibilities in difficult therapies.




Bayview Eden Melbourne
6 Queens Road

Melbourne VIC  3004

Monday, 9th May 2016

9.00 am5.00 pm


Conference delegate (all tiers)
ACGB member price (not attending the Conference)  $240.00
Non-member price (not attending the Conference)