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Tue, Jan 23


Online Event

Superheroes & Grief: How System Involved Youth Can Be Transformed by Post Traumatic Growth

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

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Superheroes & Grief: How System Involved Youth Can Be Transformed by Post Traumatic Growth
Superheroes & Grief: How System Involved Youth Can Be Transformed by Post Traumatic Growth

Time & Location

Jan 23, 2024, 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM PST

Online Event

About the Event

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

Training Description

Superheroes are our modern-day mythology, how we use story to help us grasp the existential experience of loss and grief. Regardless of our opinion on the Superhero genre as entertainment, their stories have much to teach us about how we can transform and grow because of loss - not in spite of it. This training will educate participants about the benefits of strength-based services and support and how to utilize the superhero genre as a tool for activating coping and building resilience in system-involved youth and caregivers. Participants will be informed through interactive presenter education, a slide presentation, small group conversation, supportive interventions, and guided discussion.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to identify:

● 4 backstories of classic superheroes and the real-life backstories of their creators that demonstrate the potential for post-traumatic growth after loss;

● 3 benefits of providing strengths-based services and support through the lens of Superheroes; and

● 5 strategies for utilizing the superhero genre to support system-involved youth.


12:30 – 12:45pm  Welcome & Introductions

12:45 – 1:30pm  PPT Education - Superheroes & Transformation of Post Traumatic Growth

● Superheroes as Modern Day Mythology

● History of Superhero Creators

● Backstories of Superheroes

  ○ Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman

● Superheroes and Alter Identities

● Transformation and Post-Traumatic Growth

1:30 - 1:45pm  Guided Discussion

● Have you considered Superheroes as modern mythology, a way to understand the unknowable or grapple with existential questions? If so, how do Superheroes help you with that?

● What surprises you the most from this teaching?

● How can this information help you in your work with system-involved youth?

1:45 – 2:15pm  Breakout Rooms

● Small Group Discussion

  ○ Groups of 2 or 3

● Guided prompts

  ○ Share which Superhero you identify the most with and why. (Choose from one of the four I named or any others that you are already a fan of.)

  ○ What have you learned about transformation and growth from your chosen Superhero?

2:15 – 2:30pm  Main Room Discussion

● Large group sharing about small group discussion and insights gained

2:30 - 2:45pm  Break (CE hours will not be offered for this time)

2:45 – 3:45pm  Superheroes and Strengths-Based Support & Interventions

● Benefits of Strengths-Based Support for System-Involved Youth and Caregivers

  ○ We discover agency (power) in utilizing strengths rather than overcoming weakness

  ○ Post-traumatic growth is possible

  ○ We transform because of loss, not in spite of it

● Activities & Tools:

  ○ Create your own Superhero

  ○ Design your own Superhero cape or mask

  ○ Design your own Superhero logo with playdough, modeling clay, or ceramics

  ○ Writing prompts and fill in the blank worksheets

  ○ Superhero movie suggestions and discussion questions

3:45 - 4:00pm: Questions & Conversation

4:00 –4:30pm: Closing

● Review

● Resources

● Upcoming Trainings

● Contact Info

● 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 Counselor 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, as well as the need for better 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 (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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