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When Grief Goes Viral: An Update on Assessment & Intervention in COVID Crisis

When Grief Goes Viral: An Update on Assessment & Intervention in COVID Crisis

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Buy $99

Earn 1 Credit for Technique Module toward
Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction
or Certification in Grief Therapy for Non-Death Losses
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

USD$99 for 3-hour module

With the global pandemic of COVID-19 has come the loss of a world of once familiar routines, relationships and resources that previously conferred on our lives a sense of security and meaning.  This module introduces both a carefully developed screening tool for coronavirus anxiety (CA) as the contagion spreads and a newly published screener for the pandemic grief (PG) it will leave in its wake.  Beyond noting the psychometric data supporting the validity, reliability and utility of both measures, this module encourages practice in bridging from assessment to intervention and suggests evidence informed techniques for dealing with both CA and PG constructively. 

Because of the pervasiveness of changes engendered by the Coronavirus and policies required to mitigate contagion, ambiguous losses and challenges to our assumptive world compound grief associated with bereavement and call for greater recognition and support by mental health professionals.  In particular, we will examine a growing body of evidence that conservation of core beliefs and a capacity to make meaning of the losses associated with the pandemic and unfinished business associated with COVID bereavement mediate adaptation to these often-traumatic transitions.  Beyond the broad orientation to assessing and addressing pandemic related anxiety and grief, we will also highlight some of the themes and strategies for meaning-oriented grief counseling that are explored in depth in other PI learning modules.


  • Implement the What Have You Lost technique to explore ambiguous losses associated with the pandemic;

  • Describe a validated brief screening tool for assessing coronavirus anxiety and its relation to a range of worrisome outcomes;

  • Discuss a newly published 5-item screener for dysfunctional grief following COVID bereavement and the impressive evidence for its incremental validity;

  • Bridge from the numerical responses to these screening measures to the richer personal narratives that they signal;

  • List four evidence-informed risk factors for complicated or prolonged grief exacerbated by the COVID crisis;

  • Identify six therapeutic procedures for addressing Coronavirus anxiety and unfinished business in bereavement; and

  • Conceptualize an actual case of COVID bereavement to identify themes to address in treatment.

Note:  Completion of this program (total 3-hour activity, including approximately 2-hour recorded webinar and 1-hour reflection) and return of the Responsive Journal satisfies 1 Technique Module required for Certification in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction or Certification in Grief Therapy for Non-Death Losses.


This program contains the following video segments:

  1. Demography of Disease: Assessing Coronavirus Anxiety (28 mins)
  2. What Have You Lost?  A Personal Perspective (31 mins)

  3. The Shadow of Pandemic: Assessing Grief After COVID Loss (55 mins)

  4. 15 Minutes with Dad: A Case Study (36 mins)


  • Instructions for the What Have You Lost exercise, with guidelines for processing;

  • Copies of 3 psychometrically validated assessment tools, with scoring instructions:

    • The Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS), which measures somatic / physiological symptoms of distress about the pandemic that display high validity, sensitivity and specificity;

    • The Pandemic Grief Scale (PGS), which assesses clinically significant levels of COVID grief effectively and efficiently; and

    • The Unfinished Business in Bereavement Scale (UBBS), which measures two distinct dimensions of unresolved relational issues with the deceased that are exacerbated by the circumstances of COVID deaths and essential guidelines for their mitigation.

    • All scales have been placed in the public domain to encourage their use in clinical and research contexts.

  • 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 Grief Therapy for Non-Death Losses.


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 21a.jpg

USD$99 for 3-hour module

For other enquiries, simply email Carolyn.

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