Join us Monday, October 14th for our Pre-Conference sessions

Participants can choose from three concurrent sessions:

LOSS Team On-Scene Skills Training using Psychological First Aid

Presented by Denise Meine-Graham & Robbie Graham

12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed model developed after 9/11. PFA is a framework to help individuals in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event. PFA interventions are designed to reduce the initial distress caused by a traumatic event and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning and coping. Based off five key principles: Safety, Calming, Connectedness, Self & Community Efficacy, and Hope, the PFA framework aligns with the LOSS Team mission – to be an instillation of hope by providing resources, understanding, and support to suicide loss survivors.

This 4-hour session is appropriate for up-and-coming LOSS Team leaders and volunteers as well as existing LOSS Teams interested in learning some new skills to further equip volunteers.


• Provide an overview of what to expect at the scene of a suicide.

• Learn the eight Core Actions of PFA and discuss how these Core Actions may be used on the scene of a suicide.

• Experiential learning using role plays.

• Review the importance of debriefing and self-care.

• Discuss loss survivor follow up ideas and timing.

To get the most out of this skills training, it is recommended but not required that participants complete the free online Psychological First Aid certification prior to attending.

Grief Therapy for A Tragic Loss: A Trauma-Informed Approach 

Presented by Robert Neimeyer, PhD & Carolyn Ng, PsyD, MMSAC, RegCLR

10:00 am – 5:30 pm

When the death is tragic and untimely, as when a significant person dies by suicide, overdose, or fatal accident, grief can be particularly complicated by a gamut of challenging emotions, ranging from horror and helplessness to anger and incomprehension. In such cases, grief therapy needs to adopt a carefully tailored approach that recognizes the role of trauma in impeding the mourner’s integration of the loss. In this full-day workshop, we will begin by considering how we can quickly assess our clients’ needs in terms of the Tripartite Model of Meaning Reconstruction in bereavement, featuring obstacles to revisiting the event story of the death, reaffirming the back story of the relationship with the deceased, and revising the personal story of the mourner’s own sense of identity in the shadow of loss. We will then discuss the power of presence as a fundamental dimension of the therapeutic “holding environment” that makes deep work possible with highly vulnerable and traumatized survivors. This will provide a context for studying how to facilitate a healing “re-telling” of the loss experience under conditions of emotional regulation, deliberation and sense-making regarding the dying narrative. Drawing on clinical videos of clients contending with losses through both sudden natural death and suicide, we will learn to listen between the lines of the stories clients tell themselves and others about the death and how we can help them integrate the narrative of the loss into their lives with less reactivity and greater meaning. Subsequently,
we will introduce techniques for helping mourners discern the deeper significance of their experience and identify the important needs and life lessons implicit in them by listening to the unvoiced meaning of their grief, which often resides at the level of their embodied emotion. Drawing on a telehealth demonstration of Analogical Listening, we will explore the role of metaphor in helping clients reach beyond literal language to symbolize how they carry their grief somatically, and what it can tell them and us about how they now might move toward healing. We then consider arts-assisted methods that build on this somatic exploration and prompt clients to visually symbolize the living impact of their losses. Externalizing them in this way can help survivors to step back, make greater sense of what they have been through and discern a way forward. Alternating between visualizing and voicing the felt sense of their grief
can help clients find the self-compassion, insight and action required to reconstruct life out of their loss.

Learning Objectives:

• Distinguish between therapeutic “presence” and “absence” in the process of therapy;

• Implement Restorative Retelling procedures for mastering the event story of the loss;

• Identify markers for the use of narrative retelling of an event story of loss, and guidelines for avoiding re-traumatization;

• Summarize guidelines for Analogical Listening as a form of embodied dialogue to help clients make greater sense of their emotions and themselves;

• Describe how a non-literal, figurative form of inquiry into the felt sense of loss can help clients symbolize their implicit embodied meanings; and

• Experiment with visual arts to externalize the inner landscape of loss, permitting further dialogue with it to discover unanticipated steps toward healing.

Telling Our Stories Workshop

Presented by Jojo Taylor

12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This workshop will guide survivors of suicide loss, suicide attempts, and those with lived experience of suicide in crafting their personal stories for sharing with others.

Topics covered will be the following:

• Public speaking and issues to consider when talking about suicide

• Facts about suicide, grief, and loss

• Suicide risk factors, protective factors, and warning signs

• Ways to develop and organize your story

• Sharing your experience safely and reducing potential harm

• Considerations for presenting to different audiences

• Responding to audience questions

• Example presentation

Participants can work on their stories during the workshop and request feedback from the instructors and the audience if desired, but presenting in front of the group will not be required.

Participants will leave the workshop feeling more confident in how they share their lived experience, in order to have the desired impact on their audience (suicide prevention, legislation, community events, panel discussions, etc), while reducing the potential harm to themselves and others of sharing about a traumatic experience. This workshop will be beneficial even if participants do not have an interest in sharing publicly, as this can still help them reflect on their experience, as well as craft ways to answer personal questions from others.

We recommend that at least two years have passed since the survivor’s loss or attempt.