TraumaOnline
The newsletter of the
International Trauma Training Institute (ITTI)
Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC, Editor
Jeanne Thomas, MBA, Associate Editor
 
Spring 2022, Vol. 5, No. 1
ITTI is keeping up to date in this cyber world. By March 15, 2022, all of our courses will be transferred to a new learning platform. As we speak, we have moved several of them, and are working on getting them all transferred. If you register now for one of the courses that have already been moved, you will be able to start before March 15.

What will this new learning platform mean to you? You will be able to register for any course and begin at any time, take as much time as you need for completion, and the material will be available to you for 1 year.

When you register, you will be directed to set up your account where all of your course history will be lodged and will be available to you at any time.

Also by March 15, we are launching a new program: Complexities of Grief, Loss, and Trauma. Sadly, we have seen the need for grief counseling surge from COVID cases. Many of us have lost loved ones, friends, and colleagues, and are unable to be with them as they go through the ravages of the disease. This course will help clinicians provide meaningful counseling to those in need.

In addition, ITTI is presenting a revised and updated Sex Offender Treatment Provider course. Many more of you encounter sex offences in your work. This course covers a wide variety of topics relative to successful treatment of a problem plaguing our society.

Stay safe and well,

Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC,
President, ITTI
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A CONVERSATION WITH DR. SUSAN POSADA
ON GRIEF, LOSS, AND TRAUMA
by
Angela Brinton Ed.D., MSCP, LMHC

What we know.....
Grief and loss are considered a natural, inescapable part of human experience. It is a multifaceted process that sometimes involves the help of
f a professional. Seeking the right help can be confusing as there are many interpretations and methods of grief support. I invited Dr. Susan Posada to shed some light on this topic based upon her experience and training. She provided the following definition of grief “Grief is a feeling that results from one’s experience of a perceived or real loss in what they see as reality.”
 
Dr. Posada, a kindred spirit, and a committed marriage and family therapist, has become a trusted colleague and collaborator. In a recent conversation with her regarding the complex nature of grief and loss processing, she reminded me that although we are learning more about grief as a form of trauma, there is still so much that remains in the shadows. In her experience, working with individuals and families struggling after a loss, there are many layers in the cycle of grief. As we peal back the layers, we may discover past unresolved or traumatic grief which becomes a barrier to healing. She further explains, “There is a similar process in the initial experience after a loss but it’s how people make sense of it; that affects how they get through their daily life in what I think of as being in survival mode. Initially it seems very similar, but then after that, there's so many residual things that take place in people’s lives, depending on the type of loss”. For example, she discussed how the cycle of grief may include your own personal grief but also grieving for other’s grief, simultaneously.
 
The ripple effect of primary and secondary losses can have a lasting impact. What further compounds the grief response is the individual’s personal history with grief and trauma. Dr. Posada explains “We've all had traumas in our life, macro and/or micro trauma. We need to explore several areas when helping people cope with any type of grief. The question becomes: how have we resolved past traumas in our life? What point in life did we experience it and at what phase of individuation were we going through when we had those traumas? What kind of support network did we have back then to get through those traumas?” These common factors influence the grief response.
 
“Then there's the other variable of the individual themselves, and what I have found is that people who have gone through more of the individuation process in psychological development seem to have an easier time than people who have unresolved attachment issues”. Individuals rely on their attachment style to cope with hardship and regain a sense of security. Therefore, the different attachment styles will impact the way grief is expressed, which makes it important to honor and respect those differences.
 
Another factor in one's recovery of loss is the person's experience of anguish and animosity that occurs from others when people begin to judge the grief reaction of each other. There may be criticism based on the length of time one is grieving, denial, avoidance, or obsessive behavioral reactions.
 
When grief and trauma intersect, it can create an overwhelming sense of powerlessness. When this occurs, there may be a need for intensive treatment interventions. As Dr. Posada mentions, formal training in grief counseling is often limited to a linear framework which does not encompass all the nuances that need to be considered in grief work. She suggests allowing your experiences with past clients to guide your professional development while constantly reflecting on your own biases with spirituality and get them out of the way. “My best training has come from experience with clients and just being present and open, watching their process unfold, and really learning from them.”
What’s missing.....
It is important to consider the social and cultural influences of grief and bereavement. “Knowing that human experience is a result of the condition of the human brain and cultural influences, helps us realize whatever people are going through is really a normal process, not optimal, but normal and natural.”
 
Grief literature ranges from academic, scholarly work to books on self-help strategies and coping. “I think one piece that I have found missing in literature is spirituality.” The topic of spirituality is not completely absent from grief research but certainly underrepresented. The nature of spiritually is based on connection. Connection and continuing bonds are considered instrumental in the grief process. So why is there such limited exposure? “I often wonder if professional people are afraid to say more about it because of how they might be perceived from their peers. Did they speak on spirituality too much?
 
“Will they be judged by other professionals? There's not a lot out there, and I think that we need to get into people's spiritual beliefs and use that to their advantage and healing. If there is a positive correlation between the grieving process and spiritual experiences, why is the topic avoided?”
 
Where do we go from here....
Considering the complexity of grief, loss, and trauma there is a demand to add a new dimension to grief counseling. Not only do we need to consider collective grief during a pandemic, but we must also reflect on alternative forms of expressing grief. Social and cultural norms for bereavement have been disrupted due to restrictions and isolation. The impact of grieving numerous losses with limited opportunities to witness mourning rituals can create obstacles to healing. Normalizing the grief process (pain) and supporting the integration of spirituality (hope) offers a pathway toward resilience, healing, and recovery.
 
Dr. Susan Posada has a well-established psychotherapy private practice in Tampa, Florida. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years in the Mental Health Counseling Field. She practices individual, couple and family therapy, bringing comprehensive services for emotional/brain health. She recognizes that optimal wellness requires attention to the mind, body, spiritual, and social aspects of one's life.
 
About the Author: Angela Brinton earned her Doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision (CES) from National Louis University. She launched SCOPE-LLC in 2015 with the vision of bridging the gap between community and school by integrating services with a holistic body, mind, emotion, and spirit approach that focuses on developing an overall wellness. Her current research interests include grief and loss, mindfulness-based clinical interventions, and trauma informed counseling. 
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ALL ITTI's COURSES ARE NBCC APPROVED (ACEP# 6674);
CTCSW is also approved by NASW
(#886782500-1939); SUD, MI, & NA are also approved by NAADAC (#193785 expires 5/1/2022)

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NBCC ACEP# 6674
NASW #886782500-1939
NAADAC #193785 Exp. 5/1/22