Mount Saint Mary College recently hosted “No Boundaries: Complicated Grief,” the first in a three-part conversation on grief and loss for healthcare professionals.
The event, which included a welcoming and networking reception, was presented by the Kaplan Family Foundation in collaboration with Cornerstone Family Healthcare; Mount Saint Mary College’s Center on Aging and DIS-Ability Policy (CADP); Access: Supports for Living; and Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall.
Following greetings by Lauren Naru, vice president of Marketing and Development at Cornerstone Family Healthcare, and Lawrence Force, professor of Psychology and director of CADP, the audience heard from keynote speaker Dr. Kenneth Doka, a licensed mental health counselor and preeminent expert on grief.
Dr. Doka discussed modern theories on loss and grief, and, in using his own practice perspectives, explained how the theories that healthcare professionals use on a daily basis are constantly evolving.
“All of us, whether our primary reason today is personal or professional, have dealt with our own personal grief,” he said. “Grief is a very, very individual reaction. It’s not about death, it’s about loss. It’s loss that affects us.”
He explored various theories that, when used effectively, can help healthcare professionals in counseling their patients. Mainly, helping them to understand their own grief, focusing on the idea that grief is not a time-bound process that ends in detachment.
“All kinds of losses deal with grief; they move from predictable paths or stages to personal pathways.” Dr. Doka explained. “We don’t get over it. We live with a loss, and that’s important for setting goals.”