Sudden and Unexpected Loss
With Lisa Forrell, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Julia Samuel, and Dr Lucy Selman
Recorded Friday 21 May 2021
In this conversation we bring together a panel of distinguished academics, writers, and psychotherapists to explore together the many ways that the death of a loved one can be accommodated in order to free the bereaved to continue to live their lives.
Some of the discussion will centre on how therapists can resource themselves to enter empathically into the grief-landscape that their clients are occupying, maintaining the deep connection demanded of the therapy without losing their own deep connection to life.READ MORE...
We will also hear from two authors who have struggled with exceptional losses and found modes of recovery from overwhelming grief in acts of creativity. The event attempts to unravel some aspects of the unanswerable question: what can we do about unbearable loss?
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Julia Samuel in Conversation
The client’s loss and the therapist’s vitality
In this interview with Alice Jacobs Waterfall, Julia Samuel will use her 30-year experience as a psychotherapist specialising in grief to talk about clients who have experienced sudden and unexpected loss. She will discuss the importance of maintaining her own vitality while offering therapeutic empathy to those who are bereaved by traumatic death. Offering theories that she has found most supportive when a client’s trauma might otherwise render her powerless, she will describe the habits she has developed over the years to enable her to stay sane and fully engaged in her own life.
Q&A with Julia Samuel
Coming out of grief
Grief overwhelms every aspect of life and Lisa suffered three in a row: first her younger sister, then her psychoanalyst mother, and finally the most heart-rendering, her beloved and brilliant husband, Marcel Berlins. Her sister’s death came with complex grief, and relief. Her mother’s death deprived her of her guide and protection, but her husband’s death delivered an unbearable atrophy and desperation. Lisa will explore the ways she emerged from unadulterated grief, to live with the living and not with the dead. She will describe the strength she drew from the arts, and the limitations of psychotherapy in that process.
Q&A with Lisa Forrell
Grief: A long story
When Cathy Rentzenbrink was 17, her adored younger brother Matty was knocked over by a car. He never regained consciousness and died eight years later. Cathy will speak about the long road she has travelled since that night 30 years ago when she knelt next to him in the road. There has been much sadness and madness, but also hope and redemption. She will explore the role that both reading and writing books has played in her recovery, and share what she does now to honour her grief, and to stay rooted in the present rather than lost in the past.
Q&A with Cathy Rentzenbrink
Q&A with all Speakers
Dr Lucy Selman
The shape of grief in COVID-19
People bereaved during the COVID-19 crisis face extraordinary challenges: COVID-19 deaths are often sudden and unexpected, infection control measures limit contact prior to death, social support and mourning practices are disrupted, and the threat of the virus is omnipresent. In this presentation Lucy Selman will present findings from recent research, describing the experiences and support needs of those bereaved at this challenging time. She will also reflect on the societal consequences of the pandemic, which has brought death and grief centre-stage, and her experiences of running Good Grief, an international online festival that attracted 12,000.
Q&A with Dr Lucy Selman
Q&A with all panel