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Fri, Mar 15


Online Event

The Influence of Trauma on Grieving Loss for System-Involved Youth and Caregivers

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

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The Influence of Trauma on Grieving Loss for System-Involved Youth and Caregivers
The Influence of Trauma on Grieving Loss for System-Involved Youth and Caregivers

Time & Location

Mar 15, 2024, 10:00 AM – 2:15 PM PDT

Online Event

About the Event

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

Training Description

Many system-involved youth have experienced traumatic loss. Because all trauma is interlaced with numerous losses that must be grieved, understanding the inseparable connection between trauma and grief is necessary for supporting system involved youth and teaching them how to grieve in healthy ways. This training will equip participants with knowledge and practical skills to help system involved youth grieve traumatic losses by utilizing a strengths-based framework. Participants will be informed through presenter instruction, a slide presentation, guided discussion, collaborative sharing, a learning activity, and coping strategies that facilitate active grieving.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to identify:

● 3 key principles for understanding the intersection of trauma and grief.

● The age-based responses to trauma and loss at 3 stages of development.

● 6 strategies for supporting system involved youth process traumatic grief.


10:00 – 10:15am:  Welcome & Introductions

10:15 – 10:45am:  The Intersection of Trauma & Grief

· Definition of Trauma

· Definition of Grief

· Types of traumas & non-death losses that are processed as grief

· Trauma & Polyvagal Theory

· Post Traumatic Growth is possible

10:45 – 11:00am:  Guided Discussion

· What surprises you about the connection between trauma and grief?

· How have you observed polyvagal grief responses in the community you support?

11:00 – 11:15am:  Childhood Traumatic Grief (CTG)

· Development of CTG

· Risk Factors

· Protective Factors

11:15 – 11:20am:  Participant Sharing

· What risk or protective factors would you add based on your experience supporting system involved youth?

11:20 – 11:50am:  Developmental Understanding of Grief & Trauma

· Age-Based Responses to Loss

· Developmental Responses to Trauma

· Strengths-Based Perspective for Support

· Bolstering Resilience by Developmental Stage

11:50am – 12:00pm:  Guided Discussion

· How does this perspective of trauma and grief influence your work with system involved youth?

12:00 – 12:30pm: Break (CE hours will not be provided for this time)

12:30 – 1:15pm:  Strategies

· Create Safety

· Activate Agency & Resilience

· Teach Emotional Regulation

· Process Trauma

· Facilitate Healthy Mourning

1:15pm – 1:45pm:  Learning Activity in Breakout Rooms

· Introduction of Learning Activity

· Examples of “Grieving Bill of Rights” for kids and teens

· Go into breakout rooms of 2-3 participants per room

o Work as a group to create a “Grieving Bill of Rights” for System-Involved Youth

1:45 – 2:00pm:  Main Room Sharing of “Grieving Bill of Rights” created by each group.

2:00 – 2:15pm:  Closing & 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 grief) by the Association of Death Education and Counseling, and is certified as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Wendy’s approach to grief work is characterized by nonjudgmental, compassionate, strengths based counseling; as well as the belief that grieving - an essential life skill that enables us to adapt to unwanted change and grow through loss - can be learned. Her support services include individual counseling, group facilitation, team training, and corporate consulting. When the path forward through loss is uncertain, it helps to have a guide. You can learn more about Wendy or contact her at her website:

This course meets the qualifications for (4) 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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