Grief and Loss Workshops

The death of a loved one, the onset of chronic illness, natural disaster—catastrophe can strike out of nowhere and leave us devastated. Rarely do we allow ourselves the time and space to “lean in” to our losses and our grief.

I offer a variety of writing workshops designed to help people gently investigate what they have lost and for what they are mourning. Participants are looking for ways to try to slow down and reflect, to break out of cyclical negative thought patterns, to face fear, to lower stress, to alleviate pain, and to find healing shifts in perspective. One woman told me, “I’ll do anything to try to deal with this relentless grief, as long as it’s legal.”

My grief and loss workshops allow participants to explore their inner landscapes in a safe and supportive environment where privacy and gentle boundaries encourage deep exploration. It’s understood in the groups that we care about each other but we can all take care of ourselves. No one has to take care of anyone else—and this is often liberating. Sharing can be important, but unlike in talking groups, we share by writing together, not verbalizing. Occasionally I offer participants the opportunity to share particular writings with the group, but there is absolutely no pressure to read. The focus is always on the inward journey, on connecting with one’s self.

Participants rarely consider themselves writers, yet through a series of carefully cultivated prompts, they unearth insights, inner strength, powerful narratives, and resources they had no idea they possessed. The workshops are also an opportunity to honor, in writing, memories and the legacies of those who are no longer here.

My offerings include:

Workshops for Bereaved Mothers
These are often ongoing groups that meet monthly or semi-annually.

Workshops within Hospices
For the psych-social staff: the emphasis is on how to use writing with clients and their families. I also offer workshops for the staff, to help them deal with all the grief and loss they experience within the workplace.

The Art of the Condolence Note
A workshop I’ve offered for lay populations, congregations and clergy, as well as for medical professionals.

Space for Ourselves
A specialized workshop for those dealing with chronic illness.

Writing about Loss
These more generalized workshops are open to entire adult communities, anyone who has experienced significant loss–of a partner, a family member, a job, a pet, one’s health, or a way of life (example: giving up a home and moving to a retirement community).

Interested? Contact Me
If you’re interested in having me offer a writing workshop or series for your civic group, church, or community organization, contact me–even if you aren’t sure what you want or need. We can brainstorm and tailor a program to your particular needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

And please feel free to browse on my site for more information on my programs. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Below are responses from participants in Writing for Caregivers, a staff development workshop series I offered for counselors and medical staff.

“This has been an amazing opportunity to reconnect with myself. I had no idea how disconnected I had become. The exercises have changed my life and instilled the curiosity and willpower for me to continue journaling after today. You have changed my life and I THANK YOU!”
–Kay Watson, Community Education Liaison, Hospice and Palliative Care Center

“. . . I learned that there is a writer (fiction) inside me! I’ve always seen myself more as a non-fiction recorder who can embellish, but this was a wonderful awakening. Thank you!”
–Donna Hampton, Grief Counsellor

“I have learned that I love to write. I have been reminded that I can write about lots of things—not just myself, my life. I have learned that I learn a great deal when I write.”
–Sara E. Bridges, Community Education Liaison

“Confirmation that writing is good therapy, good self care. Venting on paper, dreaming on paper–anything on paper is not wasted energy, but a beginning step for healing and wholeness. Writing is essential for my well-being. Thank you, it has been a joy and a blessing!!”
–Chris Martin, Long-Term Care Liaison

“Writing is a good way to find out what you’re thinking.”
–Carol Ford, Community Partnership Liaison

“Some days everything was funny. The subject could have been Death and I would still write something that made me laugh. Prompts, objects and paintings, all really helped to get my writing started.”
–Faye Everhart, Volunteer Coordinator

“I’ve learned to express myself in writing in different ways. I’ve learned there is still much work to be done on myself but also how far I’ve come. I’ll miss this monthly event. Thanks for it all!”
–Anna Scott, Medical Liaison