NCDE Summer Institute –
The Helper’s Journey: Counseling for Grief, Loss and Trauma

Monday, July 22 2013

National Center for Death Education 2013 Summer Institute

Speaker: Dale Larson, Ph.D.


Workshop Description

Working with people facing grief, loss, trauma, and life-threatening illness poses critical challenges for counselors and other health providers: How can we put our empathy and compassion to work without burning out? What are the keys to effective intervention? How can recent developments in research and theory on grief and grief counseling, burnout and compassion fatigue, and resilience guide our clinical practice?

This workshop brings together cutting-edge innovations in theory and practice to address these challenges. We will explore ideas and models from diverse areas—from work on telomeres and mirror neurons to the study of trauma, shame, self-concealment and disclosure, and healing–and translate these ideas into specific counseling and self-care skills that can provide the foundation for successful and rewarding clinical work. The theoretical and practical sides of these topics will be explored through lectures, discussion, and experiential exercises in a highly interactive format.

Educational Goals

1. Identify significant recent developments and themes in bereavement research and theory

2. Identify specific skills and strategies for more effective grief counseling

3. List the key features and causes of both compassion fatigue and burnout

4. Identify specific strategies for strengthening resilience and preventing compassion fatigue and burnout

5. Identify and strengthen experiences of compassion satisfaction in your professional work


Dale G. Larson, Ph.D., is Professor of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University, where he directs graduate studies in health psychology, and is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow in the American Psychological Association. Dr. Larson co-directed a national mental health skills training program for hospice workers, produced the Caring Helper: Skills for Caregiving in Grief and Loss videotape series, chaired the First National Conference on Hospice Volunteerism, and was Senior Editor and a contributing author for the Robert Wood Johnson-funded national newspaper series, Finding Our Way: Living with Dying in America, which reached seven million Americans. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Helper’s Journey: Working with People Facing Grief, Loss, and Life-Threatening Illness. For further information: