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Fri, Jul 07


Online Event

Ambiguous Loss: Strategies for System Involved Youth & Families to Manage Loss that Remains Unclear & Without Resolution

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

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Ambiguous Loss: Strategies for System Involved Youth & Families to Manage Loss that Remains Unclear & Without Resolution
Ambiguous Loss: Strategies for System Involved Youth & Families to Manage Loss that Remains Unclear & Without Resolution

Time & Location

Jul 07, 2023, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM PDT

Online Event

About the Event

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

Training Description

Ambiguous Losses are non-death losses that lack clarity, definition, or finality. They also lack official or social verification, and often complicate grief for system-involved youth and their families. This training will educate participants about Ambiguous Loss and provide education on how to effectively support system-involved youth and their families. Participants will be informed through presenter instruction, a slide presentation, self-reflection, and grounding practices. To increase participant engagement and content retention, presenter will also utilize the chat box, reaction emojis, annotation features, guided participant discussion, and Questions & Answers.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

● Explain ambiguous loss as a unique form of grief to system-involved youth and their families.

● Identify 4 coping strategies for ambiguous loss which can be shared with system involved youth and their families.

● Acquire 2 grounding practices which can improve support for system-involved youth and their families.


1:30 - 1:45pm: Welcome

● Introduction of Trainer

● Introduction of Topic

● Introduction of Participants

1:45 - 2:30pm: Ambiguous Loss Defined

● Education: Ambiguous Loss

  ○ Types of Loss

  ○ Complications

  ○ Understanding Ambiguous Losses

● Questions

● Activity: What have You Lost?

● Activity Reflection

2:30 - 2:50pm: The Myth of Closure

● Polling Activity: Beliefs About Closure

● Education: The Myth of Closure

  ○ Tolerate Distress

  ○ Grow Around Grief

● Discussion

2:50 - 3:00pm: Break (CE hours will not be offered for this time)

3:00 - 4:00pm: Coping Strategies for Ambiguous Loss

● Education: Coping Strategies

  ○ Build Resilience

  ○ Externalize Loss

  ○ Both/And Thinking

  ○ Hope Evolves

● Activity: Practice utilizing strategies

4:00 - 4:25pm: Grounding Practices

● Managing Anxiety with Grounding Practices

● Practice:

  ○ Breath Work

● 4-7-8 Breathing

   ○ Activating Senses

● 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, 1 thing you taste

● Reflection

4:25 - 4:30pm Closing and Wrap-up

Meet Our Trainer

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT is a Grief Specialist. She is credentialed as a Fellow in Thanatology (the study of death, dying, and bereavement) by the Association of Death Education and Counseling, and a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Wendy worked as hospice Bereavement Specialist from 2017-2022 – offering grief care to patients’ loved ones, hospice staff, and community partners. Through hospice work she recognized a gap in grief education for helping professionals, and a need for better understanding and support for grievers. As a result, she left corporate hospice care and launched Grief Guide Consulting, LLC in 2022. Her private practice grief services include individual counseling, support group facilitation, group education, and consulting. She believes that grief is not a problem to be fixed. It is a journey that we can learn to navigate, and when the path is unfamiliar or uncertain it can help to have a guide. You can learn more about Wendy or contact her at her website:

This course meets the qualifications for (2.83) BBS CE hours for LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCCs, and LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences & is provided by Fred Finch Youth Center, CAMFT Provider #045295.

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