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On the Edge: A Case Study of Traumatic Loss

On the Edge: A Case Study of Traumatic Loss

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Earn 1 Credit for Case Studies toward
Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction
or Certification in Grief Therapy for Suicide Bereavement
Offered by the Portland Institute.

Presented by

Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD


Portland Institute for Loss and Transition

Professor Emeritus

Department of Psychology, University of Memphis

Purchase Now

USD$99 for 3-hour module

Major loss, especially of key attachment figures in our lives, can shatter a world of meaning anchored in that relationship, and leave survivors struggling to make sense of the loss and their lives in its aftermath.  When such losses occur violently and traumatically, they can further undermine core constructs of predictability, benevolence, and control, greatly complicating, intensifying and prolonging the emotional anguish into which we are thrown by our bereavement.  Over the last 15 years, a great deal of research has confirmed these propositions and suggested that the reconstruction of a world of meaning that has been challenged by loss should be a central goal in grief therapy.

But exactly how does this process unfold in the concrete clinical context of real clients suffering real losses?  This Case Study module addresses this question by presenting video recordings of Neimeyer’s therapy with a father bereaved by the drowning of his young adult daughter, as they carefully negotiate conditions of safety in revisiting and retelling the story of a horrific loss, integrating its painful meanings and images.  Learners participate in a close process analysis of the session to reveal the therapist’s moment-to-moment reading of the client’s need and readiness to engage in specific meaning reconstruction tasks, and to identify features of the therapy that promote reprocessing without re-traumatization.  As a result, learners will emerge with a deeper understanding of the nuances of restorative retelling of tragic death, and how these can be orchestrated collaboratively with a client in actual practice.


  • Describe the relevance of “introducing the loved one” as a prelude to retelling the narrative of the dying;

  • Summarize strategies for negotiating safety in revisiting a tragic loss without re-traumatizing the client;

  • Identify markers of client's need and readiness to engage the event story of the loss; and

  • Discuss principles of bracing, pacing and facing when using restorative retelling procedures to promote integration of a troubling narrative of death.

Note:  Completion of this program and return of the Responsive Journal satisfies 1 credit for Case Studies required for Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or Certification in Grief Therapy for Suicide Bereavement.


This program contains the following video segments:

  1. Meaning-Focused Grief Therapy: Principles of Practice (44 mins)
  2. Restorative Retelling: Integrating the Story of the Loss (48 mins)

  3. Orientating to the Work: Constructing Safety in Retelling (47 mins)

  4. Going to the Edge: The Effort After Meaning (42 mins)

  5. Exploring the Limit: Looking to the Horizon (37 mins)



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

Speaker Photo 26a.jpeg
Purchase Now

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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