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Live Online Training
United States

Addressing the Trauma of
Suicide & Overdose Loss:

Meaning-Focused Therapeutic Techniques

Earn 3 Continuing Education (CE) Credits

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Portland Institute for Loss and Transition is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  Portland Institute for Loss and Transition maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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The Soul of A Place (Austin Eddy, 2020)

June 14, 2024

9am-12pm (PDT)

Presented by

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD


Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology, University of Memphis

Carolyn Ng,


Associate Director

Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

USD$99 for 3-hour module /

USD$124 with CE Credits

Viewed through the lens of the Tripartite Model of Meaning Reconstruction in Loss, the death of a significant person by suicide presents profound narrative challenges to integrating the event story of the loss, reconciling the back story of the relationship with the deceased, and revising the personal story of the life of the survivor.  In this module, we focus on the first of these impediments to making sense of the loss, grounding clinical recommendations and practices in recent conceptual and empirical contributions to understanding and addressing the needs of survivors.

We begin with an overview of suicide and drug-related death, both of which have increased alarmingly in the past two decades.  We then present a nested model of traumatic bereavement that highlights unique symptoms and struggles encountered by those bereaved by both causes and give particular attention to the multifaceted search for meaning in their wake.  Drawing on the latest studies of the most prominent needs endorsed by survivors, we identify which unmet needs are most predictive of anguishing and prolonged grief symptomatology, and the role of meaning in mediating the impact of several evidence-based risk factors on bereavement outcomes.  We will note cultural differences in suicide patterns most relevant to the audience and feature clients who differ in gender, relation to the deceased and type of loss.

Turning from assessment to intervention, we first present and practice a creative technique for resourcing tragically bereaved clients to ensure their safety.  We then review concrete guidelines for a meaning-focused therapeutic retelling of the story of the loss that buffers clients against re-traumatization while helping them make sense of both the event and themselves in its aftermath.  Viewing frequent clinical videos to illustrate key concepts and interventions, and gaining hands-on practice with relevant tools and techniques, learners should complete this module with greater confidence and competence in addressing the needs of survivors of tragic loss with trauma-informed care.

Note:  This 3-hour CE module focuses on application of psychological assessment and/or intervention methods that have overall consistent and credible empirical support in the contemporary peer reviewed scientific literature beyond those publications and other types of communications devoted primarily to the promotion of the approach.


  • Describe recent trends in the incidence of both suicide and drug overdose and their implications for bereaved survivors;

  • Recognize unique themes that distinguish responses to a continuum of loss by various causes; 

  • Summarize recent research on the expressed needs of survivors of both suicide and overdose loss and their implications for risk of prolonged grief;

  • Implement one creative technique for reinforcing client resources for addressing traumatizing aspects of suicide and drug-related death; and 

  • List and define three procedures for mitigating re-traumatization while helping clients integrate the story of the tragic dying.

Note:  Attendance of this Live Online Training session confers credit of 1 Technique Module required for Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction, Certification in Family-Focused Grief Therapy, or Certification in Grief Therapy for Suicide Bereavement.


  • A PDF copy of the presentation slides;

  • A copy of the recently validated Sudden-Bereavement Needs Inventory (SBNI) along with scoring instructions and permission to use it in clinical and research contexts;

  • Instructions for a creative tool, My Safe House in Times of Storms, for reinforcing client's safety in the wake of traumatic loss, with further questions for processing the client’s response; and 

  • Detailed guidelines for Restorative Retelling, with particular reference to suicide and drug-related deaths.


  • Psychologists, social workers, counselors, art / music / expressive arts therapists, pastoral care personnel, healthcare professionals, bereavement volunteers

  • To qualify for the 3 CE Credits, please kindly note that:

    • Full attendance of the entire session is required to receive CE credits.  No partial credit is awarded.

    • You are required to complete a CE quiz after the session.  An overall score of 75% or higher within three attempts is required to obtain CE credits.

    • The certificate of CE credits will be issued to you upon your submission of a participant evaluation form.


  • Intermediate



This program contains the following segments:

  • Suicide and overdose loss:  Incidence and impact (20 min.)
  • Assessing client needs following sudden loss:  A practice session (40 min.)

  • Resourcing clients and reinforcing safety:  My Safe House in Times of Storms (1 hr.)

  • Restorative Retelling of the tragic loss:  Avoiding re-traumatization (1 hr.)


  • 9am-12pm, PDT, Portland, OR, that corresponds to 12-3pm in Eastern Daylight Time, 5-8pm in British Summer Time and 6-9pm in Central European Summer Time.

Note:  The Zoom link and learning materials will be emailed to the registrants in due course.

Disclosure Statement

This recorded module is not supported financially by a manufacturer of any commercial product and there is no sale of any product or publication during the live training session.  There is no known conflict of interest for this CE module or the presenting faculty.


Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, and maintains an active consulting and coaching practice.  He also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, which provides both onsite and online training internationally in grief therapy.  Neimeyer has published 35 books, including New Techniques of Grief Therapy: Bereavement and Beyond and The Handbook of Grief Therapies, and serves as Editor of the journal Death Studies.  The author of over 600 articles and book chapters and a frequent workshop presenter, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process. Neimeyer served as President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and Chair of the International Work Group for Death, Dying, & Bereavement.  In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, made a Fellow of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, and given Lifetime Achievement.

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD

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Carolyn Ng,

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Carolyn Ng, PsyD, MMSAC, RegCLR, maintains a private practice, Anchorage for Loss and Transition, for training, supervision and therapy in Singapore, while she also serves as Associate Director of the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition.  Previously, she was a Principal Counsellor with the Children’s Cancer Foundation in Singapore, specialising in cancer-related palliative care and bereavement counselling.  She is a registered counsellor, master clinical member and approved supervisor with the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) and a consultant to a cancer support and bereavement ministry in Sydney, Australia.  She is trained in the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, USA, community crisis response by the National Organisation for Victim Assistance (NOVA), USA, and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) by LivingWorks, Canada.  She is also a trained end-of-life doula and advanced care planning facilitator.  Her recent writing concerns meaning-oriented narrative reconstruction with bereaved families, with an emphasis on conversational approaches for fostering new meaning and action.

USD$99 for 3-hour module /

USD$124 for CE Credits

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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