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Live Online Training

Reassembling Life after Suicide Loss

Earn 3 Continuing Education (CE) Credits

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

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December 8, 2023

9am-12pm, EST

Presented by

Sharon Strouse,


Associate Director

Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

USD$99 for 3-hour module /

USD$124 with 3 CE Credits

This training is intended for professionals who are seeking creative and imaginative skill development in their bereavement interventions with suicide loss survivors.  As no artistic talent is presumed on the part of the client or therapist, this course will be helpful for a broad range of mental health professionals, pastoral counselors and nurses, as well as expressive arts therapists.

This didactic, experiential workshop introduces collage as a medium for reassembling life after suicide loss. Collage is a therapy of the imagination, and of particular value in helping people transform and re-envision their lives.  Visual artworks are created from a variety of art materials with a focus on magazine words, images and ephemera, which are cut, altered, arranged and attached to paper or cardboard.  The unspeakable, fragmented elements of trauma arising from the suicide and its associated non-death losses are grounded in the experience of selecting, sorting, tearing, snipping, placing, taping and gluing imagery together.The transformation of bits and pieces into new forms is empowering and freeing, and allows for new embodied discoveries.

Art therapy based theory and practices are woven together with grief and bereavement theory.  Evidence suggests that the difficult work of meaning reconstruction is a central part of the healing process for suicide loss survivors, who experience a shattering of their assumptive world.  The essential elements of the creative process, deconstruction and reconstruction in service to healing, lend themselves to Neimeyer’s model of Meaning Reconstruction, with an exploration of the event story, back story and personal story as well as the clinical tenets of bracing, facing and pacing.  Worden’s Task Model of Bereavement and Rynearson’s Restorative Retelling Model are further explored through traumatic loss case studies that include collage images created over a 20-year period by the presenting faculty in response to the suicide of her seventeen-year-old daughter.

Collage is a creative act of inquiry, a means to intertwined and layered knowledge.  Constructing images promotes ways of knowing, shaping and storying grief and its impact on our assumptive world, so the experience does not remain senseless, silenced, unseen, immovable or untouchable.  Learners will create their own collages in response to a death or non-death in their lives and explore an internal landscape non-verbally as a way to piece together personal or professional experiences of loss. We will leave with an experience of collage as a springboard to verbal inquiry, the place where abstract ideas come to life and yield sudden insights.

Note:  This 3-hour CE module focuses on topics related to psychological practice, education, or research other than application of psychological assessment and/or intervention methods that are supported by contemporary scholarship grounded in established research procedures. 


  • Apply Worden’s Task Model to collage and discuss those tasks as evidenced in one of the case studies;

  • Analyze the collage process and product through a Meaning Reconstruction focus on the event, back and personal story narratives, as evidenced in one of the case studies; 

  • Describe how the collage process facilitates engagement with the three focal questions implicit in suicide bereavement and grounded in Rynearson’s Restorative Retelling: How did it happen, Who am I now, and What is my relationship to the deceased? and 

  • Summarize the tenets of art therapy collage with suicide loss survivors, anchored in Neimeyer’s clinical framework of bracing, pacing and facing.

Note:  Attendance of the Live Online Training session confers credit of 1 Techniques Module required for Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction, Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy, Certification in Grief Therapy for Suicide Bereavement or Certification in Grief Therapy for Non-Death Losses.


  • Materials list for collage work;

  • Detailed instructions for collage construction; and 

  • Illustrative questions for processing the construction of the collage and meaning making regarding the product that emerges.


  • 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 is required to receive CE credits.  No partial credit is awarded.

    • You are required to complete a CE quiz after this live training 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



  • Benefits of art therapy

  • Collage and trauma

  • Worden's Task Model of Bereavement

  • Rynearson's Restorative Retelling

  • Neimeyer's Meaning Reconstruction


  • Collage experiential

  • Sharing and processing


  • 9am-12pm, EST: Baltimore, MD, which corresponds to 6-9am in Pacific Time, 8-11am in Central Time, 2-5pm in Greenwich Mean Time, and 3-6pm in Central Europe Time.

The Zoom meeting link and the module materials will be emailed to all registrants in due course.

Disclosure Statement

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


Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT,  is a board-certified and licensed clinical professional art therapist and Associate Director for the Portland Institute.  Her art therapy private practice, national presentations, trainings and practitioner supervision / mentoring focus on traumatic loss, specifically with parents who have lost a child, suicide bereavement, and military family loss.  The theoretical foundations of her group and individual art therapy work are grounded in meaning reconstruction, attachment informed grief therapy, continuing bonds with the deceased and restorative retelling. She is author of articles and chapters as well as Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing, ( written twelve years after the suicide of her seventeen-year-old daughter.  She is co-founder of The Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation (, a non-profit dedicated to supporting programs that increase awareness of mental health through education and the arts.

Sharon Strouse,

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USD$99 for 3-hour module /

USD$124 with 3 CE Credits

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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