On May 2nd, the Aspen Center for Living Peace sponsored an all day workshop for mental health practitioners and patients titled Finding Peace After Loss. The subject, “Grief Expressed, Grief Lived, Grief Transformed. From Initial Shock to Recovering Meaning” was gracefully presented by Rev. Lexie Potamkin, MS, Marie Dezelic, PhD, and Gabriel Ghanoum, PsyD.
Drs. Dezelic and Ghanoum offered topics from their heralded new approach to grief and loss: The Meaning-Centered Therapy Workbook (available through Amazon), based on Victor Frankl’s logotherapy and existential analysis. The model incorporates previous authors’ grief models, stresses important considerations that impact grief, and proposes a “continual phase” of grief – a lifelong journey of recovery and meaning-making.
The overall emphasis of the workshop was the importance of staying connected with a loved one. Love imprints a memory and it is possible, and healthy, to continue to create meaning with a loved one by sharing their stories and their life lessons. While accepting that the loved one is no longer present, they can continue to have a presence in the griever’s life,
Feedback from those in attendance was very positive. Participants felt the workshop was “cathartic and powerful,” “allowed them to continue to release many unnecessary emotions” and offered a perspective that what they “have experienced thus far is a natural part of the grieving process” and that their feelings are part of the process. The objectives did invoke deep emotion and brought up feelings regardless if the loss was recent or long ago, if the participant had experience the loss of a loved one or loss in another aspect of life.
The meaning-centered model was designed to help participants fully embrace all aspects of loss, from the various stages of grief to understanding the full meaning and purpose in their life now without the physical presence of their loved one.
As a psychotherapist who has worked with many clients in the area of grief and loss, this workshop covered all aspects of grief and we are grateful to the three presenters whose kindness, knowledge and compassion was ever present in our hearts.
– Dr. Constance Clancy, Ed.D. www.drconstance.com
Our group “seeing the world with new eyes” at the end of the seminar: