ACT for Grief and End-of-Life
Helping Clients Take Intentional Action and Find Meaning in the Face of Loss
How can people live with intention and vibrancy when they stand to lose someone they love — or perhaps even their own life?
The cultural messages we receive about death don’t often equip us to answer that question. We’re taught not to talk about it, to treat it as taboo, and to guard ourselves against the pain it can cause.
So, while loss is a reality of human experience, few people have effective tools for coping when they encounter it.
They often get stuck worrying about the future, or caught ruminating on the past. They become unmoored from the present moment, where life is really lived and where meaning and vitality lie.
For the same cultural reasons, most clinicians have little training in how to support those facing this issue.
Even when clients come in with the express purpose of processing the death of a loved one or dealing with news of their own life-threatening diagnosis, clinicians often struggle to see a way forward.
Many find themselves colluding with broader cultural messages to circumvent the content or protect the client from their feelings.
They might avoid bringing it up in sessions or implicitly encourage the client to distract themselves from thinking about it. Or, on the other hand, they may try to help the client see the bright side or reasons why they shouldn’t be afraid.
These courses of action are well-intentioned, but they’re aimed at achieving a specific outcome: changing how the client feels about their situation.
Not only does this kind of approach rarely work — it’s also not required in order for the client to live with more intention and vitality when it matters most.
When the focus is instead on process, it allows therapy to transcend the pursuit of momentary relief, helping clients take intentional actions that support their values and make life vibrant, even in the face of loss.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) offers a process-based approach with these goals in mind. Using the model, clinicians can help clients develop important skills that allow them to:
- Discriminate between their thoughts and feelings about death and the actual event of death itself, so they can spend less time trapped in their mind and more time living in the here-and-now
- Process grief and other difficult experiences by making space for them rather than engaging in avoidant behaviors, such as cycles of worry or dwelling on past choices
- Explore how to live meaningfully each day when time is short or they’ve lost someone they love instead of spending weeks, months, or even years waiting to feel differently about a painful situation
These are some of the main skills you’ll learn how to teach in ACT for Grief and End-of-Life, a new live online course taught by Dr. Jennifer Gregg.
With the tools and process-based approach you’ll learn, you can help clients navigate the toughest moments of their lives while encouraging them to contact meaning and vitality in every day.
Inside the course
ACT for Grief and End-of-Life offers an uplifting vision of how to help those facing loss connect with purpose and vibrancy in their lives.
Whether a client is facing anxiety about their own death, anticipating the death of a loved one, or finding their way after a loss, you’ll learn how to take a compassionate, effective, and process-based approach to treatment.
In 4 live online sessions, Dr. Gregg will take ACT skills and boil them down to their most essential elements so you’ll have a better understanding of how to work with the various parts of the model in a way that’s sensitive to this specific context. This will allow you to:
- Help clients develop psychological flexibility skills without requiring them to talk about death
- Be braver and more confident when working with clients facing loss
- Have a better understanding of the possibilities open to you and your clients when working in this area — including with those experiencing complicated grief
- Facilitate deeper work while respecting the client’s boundaries and supporting a stronger therapeutic relationship
- Give clients tools to take valued actions in the present moment even in the face of fear, grief, difficult stories about what might have been, or other challenging experiences
Throughout the training, you’ll engage in breakout group discussions and exercises, and will receive worksheets that can provide structure for conversations with clients who are particularly resistant to talking about loss.
You’ll also engage in experiential exercises that will invite you to examine your own thoughts, stories, and fears around death, giving you a personal understanding of the ACT work as well as a touchstone for empathizing with what clients might be experiencing.
Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll have a much clearer way forward with clients experiencing loss and a specific set of tools for helping them connect with the here-and-now, giving them an opportunity to be proud of how they show up each day for their values.
This training offers 8 CE hours if attended live. We can only provide CE to those who are present via Zoom for the live sessions. However, the sessions will be recorded and available to watch later. Registrants may access these recordings at any time for up to nine months after the live training ends.
Before enrolling, please review conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information here.
Session 1: May 7, 2024, 4 pm-6 pm ET
- Fearing death and dying, ACT model applied to death anxiety
- ACT interventions for death anxiety
Session 2: May 14, 2024, 4 pm-6 pm ET
- Conceptualizing difficulties individuals face at end-of-life
- Interventions and approaches for patients (and clinicians) at end-of-life
Session 3: May 21, 2024, 4 pm-6 pm ET
- Loss, bereavement, and grief
- Strategies for working with recent loss from an ACT perspective
Session 4: May 28, 2024, 4 pm-6 pm ET
- Conceptualizing long-term and complicated grief
- ACT interventions for complicated grieving
Participants will be able to:
- Define and conceptualize illness anxiety from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective
- Apply ACT-consistent interventions for death anxiety
- Describe and provide ACT-consistent interventions for fear of dying
- Describe an ACT conceptualization of bereavement and ongoing pain experienced at the death of a loved one
- Identify ACT-consistent interventions for processing recent loss
- Describe long-term and complicated grief from an ACT perspective
Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live online course is sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and is approved for 8 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.
Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
Joint Accreditation: In support of improving patient care, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
IPCE: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 8 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.
Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 8 ANCC contact hours.
Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 8 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Psychologists: Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.
Social Workers: As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. Social workers completing this course receive 8 clinical continuing education credits.
Drug and Alcohol Counselors: This course has been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 8 CE hours. NAADAC Provider #165310, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, is responsible for all aspects of its programming.
National Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6759. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
NY Social Workers: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0467
NY Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0198.
NY Psychologists: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0002.
NOTE: Many state boards accept offerings accredited by national or other state organizations. If your state is not listed, please check with your professional licensing board to determine whether the accreditations listed are accepted.
Hardt, M. M., Williams, J. L., & Jobe‐Shields, L. (2022). The role of experiential avoidance in the relationship between traumatic distress and yearning in sudden and unexpected bereavement. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 78(4), 559-569.
Farahi, S., & Khalatbari, J. (2019). Effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy on the life expectancy, resilience and death anxiety in women with cancer. International Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, 6(3), 9-19.
Nam, I. (2016). Suicide bereavement and complicated grief: Experiential avoidance as a mediating mechanism. Journal of loss and trauma, 21(4), 325-334.
We understand, sometimes things come up!
Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration prior to 14 days before an event/course. If a registrant would like to cancel their registration within 14 days of the event, no refund will be offered. However, the registrant can elect to receive a credit to be used toward another Praxis event within 1 calendar year.