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Fri, Apr 05


Online Event

Ambiguous Loss: Supporting System Involved Youth (SIY) Grieving Non-Death Losses

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

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Ambiguous Loss: Supporting System Involved Youth (SIY) Grieving Non-Death Losses
Ambiguous Loss: Supporting System Involved Youth (SIY) Grieving Non-Death Losses

Time & Location

Apr 05, 2024, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM PDT

Online Event

About the Event

Wendy Kessler, MSW, FT

Training Description

System Involved Youth (SIY) continually face the challenge of processing non death losses that lack clarity, definition, and finality. These Ambiguous Losses also lack official or social verification, and often complicate grief for SIY and their caregivers. This training will educate participants about ambiguous loss and provide education on how to effectively support system-involved youth and their families living with the pain and uncertainty of non-death loss. Participants will be informed through presenter instruction, a slide presentation, self-reflection, learning activities, coping strategies, break out room sharing, guided participant discussion, and Questions & Answers.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

● Be able to explain how ambiguous loss is a unique form of grief;

● Be able to identify 4 practices for managing the stress of ambiguous loss which can be taught to SIY and families; and

● Acquire 5 strategies which can support improved resilience for SIY & caregivers living with ambiguous loss.


10:00-10:15am  Welcome

● Instructions

● Introductions

10:15-10:45am  Ambiguous Loss

● Overview:

  ○ All loss is grieved; death & non death losses

  ○ Types of Loss experienced by SIY

  ○ Grief Complicators

  ○ Ambiguous Loss Defined

● Questions & Answers

10:45-11:00am  Breakout Rooms

● Activity: What have You Lost?

● Main Room Reflection

11:00-11:20am  The Myth of Closure

● Polling Activity: Beliefs About Closure

● Education:

  ○ The Myth of Closure

  ○ Learning to Tolerate the Distress & Anxiety of Ambiguous Loss

  ○ Grow Around Grief

● Guided Discussion

11:20-11:35am  Break (CE hours will not be offered for this time)

11:35am-12:00pm  Managing Stress of Ambiguous Loss

● Creating an environment of safety

● The physiological responses of anxiety and stress

● Teaching physical regulation before emotional regulation

● Relaxing the body and practicing presence

● Practice Demonstration:

  ○ Breath Work

  ○ Utilizing Senses

  ○ Creating safety

  ○ Movement

● Guided Discussion

12:00-12:45pm  Coping Strategies for Ambiguous Loss

● Education: Coping Strategies to Improve Resilience

  ○ Processing Emotions

  ○ Developing a Flexible Mindset

  ○ Practicing Rituals

  ○ Engaging with Community

  ○ Evolving Hope

● Guided Discussion

12:45-1:00pm  Closing

● Review

● 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 (2.75) 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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