NDL Onsite Components

1)  NDL Core Courses (12 hours)

Core Courses invite learners to acquaint with other types of “deaths” that one may experience in life, and address them within a Meaning Reconstruction framework.  Categories of non-death losses include those arising from threats to health, significant relationships, occupational and career identity, and other more abstract losses (e.g. erosion or shattering of spiritual or secular worldviews).  These Core Courses are offered as full-day workshops covering the following essential areas:

  • Disenfranchised grief and the social context of loss and grief

  • Ambiguous loss

  • Tangible and intangible loss

  • Chronic sorrow and nonfinite or living losses

  • Meaning-making after non-death losses

  • Latest research on non-death losses

2)  NDL Techniques Modules (9 hours)

Each module is nested within additional days of workshops, and is focused on a specific therapy technique.  Learners pursuing NDL Specialized Certification are required to learn six techniques at any location in the world in which such training is offered. 

3)  NDL Case Studies (4 hours)

Each case study is embedded within a full-day workshop.  It consists of a case conceptualization exercise or videotaped clinical session with a close process analysis to reveal the therapist’s moment-to-moment reading of the client’s need and readiness to engage in specific meaning reconstruction tasks.  


When offered onsite, Case Studies commonly bridge from viewing to doing through a  Practicum component, in which learners apply assessment and intervention skills relevant to non-death losses with coaching from Portland Institute faculty.  By alternating naturally between concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation, learners complete a full cycle of experiential learning and become better prepared to practice the nuances of meaning reconstruction in the wake of loss.  Learners are required to complete two case studies at any location in the world for NDL Specialized Certification.

4)  NDL Practicum Studio  (6 hours)
Learners form small groups and practice Meaning Reconstruction skills related to non-death losses, with Portland Institute faculty serving as coaches, for face-to-face or videoconference role-play in a shared language.  Each session includes practice with learners taking turns in the role of the therapist, client and observer, followed by feedback and processing.  Learners are required to complete four sessions for NDL Specialized Certification.

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