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Fri, Sep 01


Online Event

Normalizing Loss: Practical Ways to Offer Support when a Loss Cannot be Fixed, Cured, or Healed

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

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Normalizing Loss: Practical Ways to Offer Support when a Loss Cannot be Fixed, Cured, or Healed
Normalizing Loss: Practical Ways to Offer Support when a Loss Cannot be Fixed, Cured, or Healed

Time & Location

Sep 01, 2023, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM PDT

Online Event

About the Event

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

Training Description

We live in a society that values fixing, curing, and healing. We do not adequately train those that support system involved youth on the skills necessary to effectively support to people who are living with a loss that won’t resolve. This training offers an educational presentation that explains how grief is the natural process that enables us to adapt to loss, as well as strategies and techniques to support system involved youth living with loss. Participants will be informed through presenter instruction, a slide presentation, small group processing, as well as instruction on specific ways to offer intervention and support.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

• Identify 4 key principles for understanding loss as grief.

• Name 4 types of strategies for supporting system-involved youth who are living with significant loss.

• Acquire 8 techniques for helping youth express their grief related to significant loss.


10:00 – 10:15am  Welcome & Introductions

10:15 – 11:00am  Education - Understanding Grief as Our Natural Response to Loss

• Where there is loss, grief follows

• Dual Process Model of Bereavement: why the typical grief experience feels so distressing

• Releasing the innate emotions of loss by practicing non-judgement towards our feelings

• Grief is an active process; not a passive experience

• We don’t heal from significant loss; we adapt

• Post-traumatic growth is possible

11:00 – 11:30am  Breakout Rooms

• Small Group Discussion

• Guided prompts

11:30 – 11:45am  Break (CE hours will not be offered for this time)

11:45am – 12:10pm  Strategies Part I: Grounding Techniques to Manage Anxiety

• Stop, Look, & Listen

• 4-7-8 Breathing 

12:10 – 12:35pm  Strategies Part II: Expressive Arts to Facilitate Emotional Sharing

• Creating a Grief Mask

• Utilizing Imagery

12:35 – 1:00pm  Strategies Part III: Healing Power of Superheroes to Build Coping Skills

• Exploring Superhero Origin Stories

• Applying the Superhero Narrative to deepen understanding of bereavement related challenges

1:00 – 1:25pm  Strategies Part IV: Rituals to Empower Active Grieving and Resilience

• Adopting a Personal Grief Ritual

• Candle Ritual

1:25 – 1:40pm  Questions & Response

1:40 – 1:45pm  Closing Ritual

1:45 – 2:00pm  Wrap Up

Meet Our Trainer

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT is a Grief Specialist who is credentialed as a Fellow in Thanatology (the study of death, dying, and bereavement) by the Association of Death Education and Counseling. She is also certified as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Wendy’s experience includes working as Hospice Bereavement Counselor from 2017-2022 where she offered grief care to patients’ loved ones, hospice staff, and community partners. Through her 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 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 (3.75) 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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