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Emotion Co-Regulation & Meaning Co-Construction in Family Grief Therapy

Emotion Co-Regulation & Meaning Co-Construction in Family Grief Therapy

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Earn 1 Credit for Technique Module toward
Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction 
Certification in Family-Focused Grief Therapy
Offered by the Portland Institute.

Presented by

An Hooghe, PhD

Psychologist and Marital and Family Therapist

 Verbinding in Verlies 

Practicum Faculty

Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Jessica Barboza, MA, LMFT

Adjunct Faculty

St. Edward's University

USD$99 for 3-hour module

Though grief is widely considered a family affair, how can therapists best promote both personal and interpersonal resilience in a field dominated principally by individualistic theories?  Approaching this question from a systemic perspective, meaning can be viewed as a fundamental principle of resilience and shared meaning has the potential to bring families and communities together.  The goal in this module is to illuminate the interactive dynamics of grieving couples and families and consider their implications for the practice of family therapy.

Accounting for the varied and differential grief experiences of surviving family members, interpersonal meaning-making processes become increasingly complicated in the wake of loss.  Qualitative studies suggest that family members must co-regulate emotional responses to effectively co-construct meaning together.  In this training, we will explore how to facilitate co-regulation strategies in grief therapy.  By blending concepts and interventions from Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Meaning Reconstruction Model, the Meaning Co-Construction approach offers clinicians a comprehensive, process-focused conceptualization of family grief therapy.

The Meaning Co-Construction approach outlines four specific goals for family grief therapy: 1) facilitate shared meaning in a relational context, 2) reestablish an enduring connection with the deceased, 3) deepen attachment security in relationships with surviving family members, and 4) reorganize narratives of the self and loss through new patterns of interactions.  Additionally, four key strategies facilitate change within the family system: 1) accessing and expressing primary emotions, 2) deconstructing and exploring narrative alternatives, 3) reconstructing narratives of self and family in relation to the loss, and 4) facilitating co-regulative patterns of interaction.  Learners will be able to understand the role of coregulation in the meaning-making process, learn new therapeutic strategies to incorporate into practice, and discover the power of relational connection in the grieving process.


  • Discuss how attachment (with the deceased and with surviving family members) impacts the grieving process using examples from learners' clinical practice;

  • Identify recent and relevant theoretical contributions to family grief therapy;

  • Describe how processes of co-regulation lead to secure attachment and shared meaning in the family; and

  • Apply integrated narrative and emotionally-focused therapeutic interventions to an actual family case study.

Note:  Completion of this program and return of the Responsive Journal satisfies 1 Technique Module required for Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or Certification in Family-Focused Grief Therapy.


This program contains the following video segments:

  1. Family Resilience:  Meaning-Making and the Co-Regulation of Grief (40 mins)
  2. Emotional Attunement:  Reconstructing Negative Cycles of Interaction (35 mins)

  3. Couples Therapy as a Relational Quest:  A Case Illustration (44 mins)

  4. From Reproach to Reconnection:  The Restoration of Attachment (50 mins)


  • Summary of therapeutic goals from Meaning Co-Construction approach;

  • Examples of strategies outlined in the Meaning Co-Construction approach;

  • Diagrams depicting the processes of co-regulation and relational meaning-making to use for clinical case conceptualization;

  • A PDF copy of all the slides used in the presentation; and

  • The Responsive Journal that, upon completion and return, confers 1 credit of Technique Module leading to Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or Certification in Family-Focused Grief Therapy.


Presenting Faculty

An Hooghe, PhD, MFT is a Clinical Psychologist and Marital and Family Therapist in Belgium. She combines clinical work with teaching and qualitative research at Context (University Hospital Leuven), and in her private center ‘Verbinding in verlies’ (Connection in loss). Her main domain of expertise relates to parents who have lost a child and complicated grief processes in families. She has published several articles on couple communication in national and international journals, and a book she wrote with bereaved parents ‘Anders Nabij’ (Being near in a different way). She is a member of several organizations, including the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG). More information:

An Hooghe, PhD, MFT

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Guest Presenter

Jessica Barboza, MA, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a doctoral candidate at Utah State University where she researches family meaning-making in bereavement. She is also a published author in Family Process, the leading journal for family therapists, and adjunct faculty at St. Edward’s University. Her published work has been recognized at professional conferences and she has been invited as a panelist and workshop presenter for local and national organizations. She maintains an active clinical practice in Austin, Texas where she supports bereaved families in their journey towards realizing greater interpersonal and individual resilience.

Jessica Barboza, MA, LMFT

Photo - Jessica Barboza.jpg

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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