By Gift from Within
The purpose of this program is to provide clinicians, social workers, clergy and caregivers engaged in long term support with families after a violent death, helpful strategies to diminish the emotional distress of violent dying bereavement.
Violent dying from an accident, natural disaster, suicide, homicide or terrorist attack involves an external drama, a fatal human act, and the story of that drama must be retold. Unlike natural dying, loved ones bereaved by violent dying are left with a narrative dilemma – to tell two contradictory stories – the retelling of their loved ones life that is precious, and the retelling of the external drama of their loved one’s violent dying that is horrifying – and for some loved ones compulsive retelling of their dying may eclipse the retelling of their living.
This program demonstrates how to shift the psychological focus from the drama and the spectacle of violent dying for loved ones “stuck” in their bereavement and to shift the caregivers’ attention from an over emphasis on crisis support (catalyzed by our recent national disasters with 9/11 and Katrina) to the longer term psychological and spiritual needs of loved ones – months and years after the violent death
Instead of lectures, a panel of experts considers two case studies from video taped interviews with patients Dr. Ted Rynearson treated after the violent deaths of members of their families. The panel discussion is divided into three sections corresponding with three common, psychological responses to a violent death.
This program covers:
Phase 1. Intense Separation & Trauma Distress: The immediate challenge following a violent death is overwhelming distress related to both the reality of death (separation distress), as well as the reality of violent dying (trauma distress).
Phase 2. Reframing Dying and Nurturing Imagery: The next challenge involves revising and synthesizing the traumatic memories of the killing with the nurturing memories of the deceased.
Phase 3. Meaningful Reengagement: A later challenge is in establishing a meaningful reconnection with the flow of life – beyond the tragedy of violent death – by a hopeful recommitment with valued activities and relationships.
Dr. Ted Rynearson, Dr. Charles Figley, Dr. Alison Salloum, Janice Harris Lord, ACSW
RT Panel Discusssion 47:32 min, Two Clinical Interviews 62:09 min.