Helping Individuals and Families Coping with Grief: Best Practices for Bere...

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TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

3033 Wilson Blvd

3rd Floor

Arlington, VA 22201

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Helping Individuals and Families Coping with Grief:

Best Practices for Bereavement Professionals

This 1.5-day seminar will be led by Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv, an internationally-recognized expert in grief and loss. Beginning with a basic review of grief concepts, participants will next explore six areas where previous understandings of grief have been challenged and developed. Dr. Doka will review research on grief interventions as participants consider the goals and techniques of grief counseling in individual, family, and group settings.

Day 2 focuses on specific relationships and populations, including special issues in parental and sibling loss as well as the effective counseling techniques to use with children and adolescents. The day will also consider complications of grief – especially those created by sudden traumatic loss and suicide.

Throughout both days, participants are assisted to assess the sensitivity of theoretical perspectives and interventive techniques appropriate for populations with whom they work. The seminar stresses the ways that culture, spirituality, gender, and development affect the grieving process and use of interventive approaches. The program concludes with a discussion of self-care for those working with the bereaved. The course will include lecture-discussion, small group discussions, role-playing, and other interactive experiences.


Kenneth J. Doka, PhD, MDiv

Professor of Gerontology, The College of New Rochelle Graduate School

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the context of loss and grief in North American societies;
  2. Describe the physical, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and spiritual manifestations of grief;
  3. Discuss the ways that culture and grieving styles may influence the manifestations of grief;
  4. Discuss six challenges to current understandings of grief;
  5. Describe contemporary research on grief interventions;
  6. Describe some of the unique aspects of military loss as well as the interventive and support services that the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers:
  7. Discuss the goals and techniques of individual, family, and group interventions;
  8. Given case studies, select and defend appropriate interventive strategies;
  9. Discuss the value of ritual and describe four different types of rituals;
  10. Describe forms of complicated grief, including those noted in the DSM-5 as well as other manifestations of complicated grief;
  11. Delineate risk factors for complicated grief;
  12. Describe complications of parental loss and sibling loss;
  13. Discuss complications of traumatic loss as well as devastating losses such as suicide or other self-destructive deaths;
  14. Define Disenfranchised Grief and note five contexts of disenfranchised grief as well as interventive strategies to assist disenfranchised grievers;
  15. Discuss the nature of stress; the ways that stress is manifested; individual ways of coping with stress; and define concepts including counter-transference, least possible contribution, appropriate boundaries, and moral distress; and
  16. Identify three individual strategies of self-care and three organizational strategies of self-care.


Seating is limited. Workshop registration fee is $75 and includes lunch on Day 1. Continuing education credit (8 hours) is available for an additional $75. See below for more information.

Day 1: 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Day 2: 9:00 am - Noon

Click here for printable details.

Refund Policy: Cancellations must be received via email to institute@taps.org and are eligible for a refund according to the terms below. Substitutions are allowed. Refunds cannot be credited towards future Institute events or programs.

  • Before May 20: 100% refund
  • May 20-June 3: 50% refund
  • June 4-10: 25% refund
  • After June 10 and no-shows: no refund


Continuing education credit (8 hours) is available from a variety of boards through the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing® for $75 per certificate. Attendance is required both days to obtain CE credit. Payment is separate from the registration fee and is made after completing the CE exam. Instructions for obtaining your certificate will be provided at the workshop. Click here for a program information sheet and list of board approvals.


Dr. Kenneth J. Doka is a Professor of Gerontology at the Graduate School of The College of New Rochelle and Senior Consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America. He serves on the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) advisory board.

A prolific author, Dr. Doka’s many books include Grief is a Journey; Grieving beyond Gender: Understanding the Ways Men and Woman Mourn; Counseling Individuals with Life-Threatening Illness, and Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow. In addition, Dr. Doka has published more than 100 articles and book chapters. Dr. Doka is editor of Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying and Journeys: A Newsletter to Help in Bereavement and serves as an editor and author of Hospice Foundation of America’s Living with Grief® book series.

Dr. Doka was elected President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling in 1993. In 1995, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Work Group on Dying, Death and Bereavement and served as chair from 1997-1999. The Association for Death Education and Counseling presented him with an award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education in 1998. In 2000 Scott and White presented him an award for Outstanding Contributions to Thanatology and Hospice. His Alma Mater Concordia College presented him with their first Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2006, Dr. Doka was grandfathered in as a Mental Health Counselor under NY State’s first licensure of counselors.

Dr. Doka has keynoted conferences throughout North America as well as Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He participates in the annual Hospice Foundation of America Living with Grief® program and has appeared on CNN and Nightline. In addition, he has served as a consultant to medical, nursing, funeral service and hospice organizations as well as businesses and educational and social service agencies. Dr. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister.

What are my parking options for the event?

Public parking is available at the 3033 Wilson Boulevard garage for $10 ($7 if in by 9 am) and there are several public garages within walking distance. Street parking is available (most with 2-hour time limit) and the Clarendon metro station (Orange & Silver Lines) is across the street. Uber is readily available from anywhere.

Is there a discounted hotel rate for this workshop?

Discounted rates are not available. The Institute is located in Arlington, just outside DC, so there are plenty of nearby hotel options in Arlington, DC, Alexandria, and Falls Church to choose from. The closest hotels are Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza, Residence Inn by Marriott Arlington Courthouse, Hilton Garden Inn Arlington/Courthouse Plaza, and Clarion Collection Hotel Arlington Court Suites. We recommend booking early.

What is the closest airport?

Reagan National (DCA) is 5 miles away; Dulles (IAD) is 23 miles; and Baltimore (BWI) is 38 miles. DC is notorious for heavy commuting traffic, so we suggest you try to plan your arrival and departure times with that in mind if arriving at or departing from Dulles or Baltimore.

How can I contact the organizer with questions?

Email Institute@taps.org or call 800-959-8277.

Presented by Boeing


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TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®

3033 Wilson Blvd

3rd Floor

Arlington, VA 22201

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