Live Training

Transcending Taboos:

Re-writing the Self in Grief

Earn Credit for 1 Practicum Module toward

Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or

Certification in Art-Assisted Grief Therapy

Offered by the Portland Institute.

Transcending Taboo - Poster Pic.jpg

By Sophie Lengle

April 16, 2021

9am-12pm, PDT

Presented by

Reinekke Lengelle, PhD

Assistant Professor Interdisciplinary Studies

with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Athabasca University, Canada

USD$99 for 3-hour module

While sadness is readily sanctioned in bereavement, other less comfortable emotions such as anger, regret, relief, guilt, joy, and desire are frequently considered taboos by those facing loss.  Because research shows that a much larger pallet of feelings is common in those who are grieving, this module uses writing techniques to enlarge the space for the expression of “unwelcome” thoughts and feelings.  A desire for “identity maintenance” is often at the heart of not admitting to a more complex set of authentic responses to loss.  In addition to making it safe for clients to express relief and joy, the techniques learners will learn in this module will challenge three common taboos in bereavement: acknowledgement of secondary losses (e.g., becoming estranged from common friends; losing a joint home), unfinished business with the deceased (e.g., unresolved regrets and conflicts), and ongoing sexual desire following partner/spousal loss.  Learners will practice creative writing exercises that work with each of these impediments to growth through grief and learn how a range of taboo feelings are adaptive in their own way, even if they depart from common cultural scripts for “appropriate mourning.”  In working with one’s own ‘taboo material,’ learners will learn how to open space for clients to do the same, ultimately accommodating a wider range of lived experience in grief, as part and parcel of true resilience. 


  • Facilitate clients’ use of Dialogues of Healing to transform taboos, promote validation of secondary losses and resolve unfinished business;

  • Discover the adaptive function of sadness, anger, and joy in grief and the role of negative emotion in promoting resilience; and

  • Practice inquiry-based writing exercises that challenge constraining assumptions about one’s personal identity as a grieving person.



  • 9am-12pm, PDT: Portland, OR, which corresponds to 12-3pm in New York, 5-8pm in London, and 6-9pm in Amsterdam.

  • 9am-12pm, SGT: Singapore, which corresponds to 10am-1pm in Tokyo, and 11am-2pm in Sydney and Melbourne.

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


Guest Presenter

Reinekke Lengelle, PhD is Assistant Professor Interdisciplinary Studies with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University in Canada.  She is a researcher in the area of narrative career development, writing for personal development, and writing the self in bereavement.  She designs and teaches both online and face to face.  She has been teaching and developing this type of writing for 24 years and is also a researcher with The Hague University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands.  Lengelle began her career as a playwright, poet, author of non-fiction, and ran a small publishing house called Black Tulip Press.  She is currently symposium co-editor with the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling and is part of an international group of scholars in the area of narrative and dialogical career guidance.  Her forthcoming book to be published by Routledge is entitled Writing the Self in Bereavement: A Story of Love, Spousal Loss, and Resilience, an authoethnography of her experience as a widow reconstructing her life and her relationship to her husband, Frans, following his death.  In it, she sharpens and deepens the relevance of life writing, for not only giving voice to the emotional and relational nuances of grief, but also for learning the affirmative lessons of loss as our lives continue to evolve.

Reinekke Lengelle, PhD

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.