Carla Sofka (Half-day)

Workshop Title
Contemporary Prayer Beads as a Tool for Coping with Loss

Brief Description
Beads have been used for centuries as tools for spiritual reflection and prayer.  Using beads to create tangible representation of loss can provide a therapeutic tool to facilitate reflection and healing. This workshop will assist participants in considering how beading and the creation of contemporary prayer beads can be used in support groups and individual counseling with individuals dealing with illness and loss. 

Participants will gain information about the history of prayer beads and learn how the symbolism of gemstones and color can be used to represent components of emotion as well as individual life events and experiences.  Following a discussion of the skills and resources required to implement a beading intervention, this experiential workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to create their own strand of contemporary prayer beads and to gain familiarity with strategies to process the experience within a group setting.  

No beading skills are required to participate in this workshop and basic beading supplies will be provided.

Target Participants (and any pre-requisite)
Individuals who are looking for practical activities for use in their work with those who are dealing with grief.


Facilitator Bio

Carla J. Sofka, Ph.D., MSW, B.S. is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. In addition to teaching the introductory course on social welfare and social work, she teaches courses on communication skills, social work practice, social work research methods, and an elective course on grief and loss.

She has taught online courses on hospice care and death in popular culture for King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, has presented workshops for the Institute of Life and Death Education and Counseling at the National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, and has taught a preconference course and specialty workshops at the annual conference of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She has clinical experience in medical, psychiatric, and hospice settings as well as experience in a funeral home.

Sofka has published one book (Dying, Death, and Grief in an Online Universe), several book chapters, peer reviewed journal articles, and encyclopedia entries on a variety of topics. She has served as an Associate Editor of Death Studies since 1996 and is the Immediate Past President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling.