Live Training

Holding onto Grief:

Addressing Resistance to Change in Bereavement

Earn Credit for 1 Case Study toward

Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction

Offered by the Portland Institute.

Karen Smits (Pixabay)

August 28, 2020

9-11am, PDT


August 31, 2020

9-11am, SGT

Presented by

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD


Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology, University of Memphis

USD$99 for 3-hour module

You’ve spent years offering support to bereaved people, helping them express their grief, manage waves of disruptive emotion, process the loss, and pursue a changed life and renewed bond with their deceased loved one.  But what do you do when they respond to none of these initiatives, and remain mired in an anguishing and life-limiting grief despite your best efforts, and their own genuine suffering?

This presentation is designed to address just these questions.  Beginning with a discussion of the reality of resistance in grief therapy, we’ll consider new research that illuminates how the meaning of mourning can contribute to prolonged grief disorder and create invisible impediments to substantial and lasting change.  Drawing on Bruce Ecker’s coherence therapy, we will then consider several means by which clinicians and their clients can discover and ultimately transform hidden “pro-symptom positions” that work against the client’s own positive goals.  We will then illustrate several procedures—analogical listening, visualization, symptom deprivation and overt statement—to reveal and explore “immunity to change” and witness this empathic stance unfold in recordings of actual therapy sessions with three different clients.  Learners will leave better prepared to discern and work with the sources of “stuckness” that many clients confront in the course of grief therapy. 


  • Summarize research linking symptom coherence with complicated grief outcomes;

  • Spot the emergence of “immunity to change” processes in order to befriend resistance and overcome unconscious roadblocks to therapeutic progress;

  • Adapt analogical listening to reveal sources of reluctance to release painful symptoms and struggles; and

  • Utilize visualization, symptom deprivation and overt statement to discover and transform the client’s hidden problem-sustaining positions.


  • Description of key concepts and procedures of coherence therapy;

  • A copy of the Coherence in Grief Scale (CIGS) with scoring key and unrestricted permission for its use in clinical practice and research;

  • A list of sample Overt Statements of pro-symptom positions related to both death and non-death losses

  • Rubrics for brief reflective writing that, upon completion, confers credit of 1 Case Study leading to Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction (3 hours total activity, including 2-hour webinar and approximately 1-hour reflection).


  • 28 August, 9-11am, PDT: Portland, OR, which corresponds to 12-2pm in New York, 5-7 pm in London, and 6-8 pm in Amsterdam.

  • 31 August, 9-11am, SGT: Singapore, which corresponds to 9am-11am in Hong Kong and Perth, 11am-1pm in Sydney and Melbourne, and 1pm-3pm in Auckland and Wellington.

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


Presenting Faculty

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, maintains an active consulting and coaching practice, and also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition.  Neimeyer has published 30 books, including Routledge’s series on Techniques of Grief Therapy, and serves as Editor of Death Studies. The author of over 500 articles and chapters and a popular workshop presenter, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process.  In recognition of his contributions, he has been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

© 2020 by Portland Institute