Dale Larson Workshop 1 (Full-day)

Workshop Title
Meeting the Challenge of Caring: An Integrative Person-Centered Approach to Grief Counseling

Purpose/ Objective of Workshop

  • Identify significant recent developments and themes  in bereavement research and theory
  • Identify specific skills and strategies for more effective grief counseling 
  • List the key features and causes of both  compassion fatigue and burnout
  • Identify specific strategies for strengthening resilience and preventing compassion fatigue and burnout
  • Identify and strengthen experiences of compassion satisfaction in your professional work.

Brief Description
Working with people facing grief, loss, and trauma presents critical challenges:  How can we put our empathy and compassion to work without burning out? What are the keys to effective intervention? To address these challenges, this seminar brings together innovations in theory and practice in the areas of burnout and compassion fatigue, grief and grief counseling, and resilience and healing.  We explore topics ranging from mirror neurons, grief’s questions, the helper’s pit, and self-concealment, to innovative process-experiential counseling techniques and a model for personal stress management and self-care. Theory and interventions developed by Worden, Stroebe, Shear, Paivio, Greenberg, Gendlin, and Rogers are presented within an integrative Person-Centered Approach to grief counseling.  Specific counseling skills and strategies are identified and practiced. Lectures, discussions, and skill-building exercises  will bring theory to life as we explore how you can maintain your compassion while courageously assisting others to live with hope in a world in which loss is inescapable.

  • The Challenge of Caring
    • Rediscovering purpose in the work
    • Compassion’s crucible:  Empathy, compassion fatigue, burnout and the wounded healer
    • The inner world of helping: Emotional involvement as a helper,  balanced empathy, personal distress, the Helper’s Pit, interpersonal allergies, unrealistic expectations of self, superheroes as bad role models, and helper secrets
  • A Person-Centered Integrative Approach to Grief Counseling   
    • The healing power of experiencing experience: Getting grief working for clients
    • Integrating the loss: Beyond rumination, suppression, and experiential avoidance 
    • Providing safety, a secure base, and a strong therapeutic alliance 
    • Practicing person-centered and process-experiential skills:  balanced empathy,  experiential focusing, the client-frame-of reference response, and empty-chair interventions
  • Beyond Burnout: Keeping the Spark Alive
  • Great Moments in Helping

Facilitator Bio

Dale G. Larson, Ph.D., is Professor of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University, where he directs graduate studies in health psychology, and is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow in the American Psychological Association. A national leader in end-of-life care and training in the US, he was Senior Editor and a contributing author for the Robert Wood Johnson-funded national newspaper series,  Finding Our Way: Living with Dying in America, which reached seven million Americans, and is the author of the award-winning book, The Helper's Journey:  Working with People Facing Grief, Loss, and Life-Threatening Illness. His scholarly publications on stress management, grief counseling research and practice, self-concealment and health, and transdisciplinary team development are widely cited, both in the scientific literature and in the popular media. Dr. Larson was strongly influenced by his early work with Carl Rogers and Gene Gendlin. A popular national and international speaker, he recently authored a chapter on “A Person -Centred Approach to Grief Counselling” in the 2nd edition of The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling (2013).