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Erica Sirrine, Ph.D., LCSW, FT
12 Hours 07 Minutes
Jan 27, 2021
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Dr. Erica Sirrine is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience in the field of death, dying, and bereavement She earned a PhD in social work and has been awarded the distinction of Fellow in Thanatology by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Dr. Sirrine has conducted and published research on grief and bereavement, including a recent study on college student experiences of loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She maintains a blog on grief and is the author of Sammy's Story, an anticipatory grief counseling book for young children experiencing the serious illness of a parent.
Dr. Sirrine has extensive expertise providing individual and group therapy to children, adolescents, adults, and families experiencing illness and loss. She has implemented numerous interventions and programs aimed at improving the emotional health of clients and currently serves as the Director of Social Work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Dr. Sirrine frequently presents seminars on bereavement and loss throughout the United States and is known for her interactive and engaging workshops. A former university dean and professor, she has been distinguished as "Professor of the Year" and the National Association of Social Workers Heartland, Florida Unit's "Social Worker of the Year."
Financial: Erica Sirrine is dean and professor at Southeastern University. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Non-financial: Erica Sirrine is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling; the Council on Social Work Education; the National Alliance for Grieving Children; and the National Association of Social Workers.
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- Analyze the cognitive components of understanding grief in childhood (i.e., irreversibility, non-functionality, causality, universality) and connect these concepts to a developmentally appropriate treatment approach.
- Distinguish between different types of grief and recognize the implications of different types for treatment/intervention with children and adolescents.
- Perform a clinical assessment to identify grief reactions, coping mechanisms, red flag behaviours, and factors that influence mourning in grieving children and adolescents.
- Design individualized therapeutic interventions to help children and adolescents express and reconcile grief.
- Analyze continuing attachment bonds after death and their relevance to clinical practice with bereaved children and adolescents.
- Evaluate developmentally appropriate grief symptomology for children and adolescents and assess for clinical concerns.
- Investigate how traumatic loss impacts young people and use trauma-informed interventions to reduce symptomology.
- Utilize strategies for providing anticipatory grief support to children facing the death of a parent, family member, or friend.
- Determine boundaries of professional competence and analyze ethical considerations for working with minors and families
- Utilize developmentally appropriate techniques for working through regret, forgiveness, and reconciliation with children and adolescents
- Assess factors that can influence the grief process, such as multicultural and spirituality considerations, nature and type of loss, and support system.
- Use concrete terms to increase effectiveness in grief work with children.
Critical Concepts for Treating Grieving Children & Adolescents
- Grief vs. mourning: A distinction
- Primary and secondary losses
- Parental and sibling loss
- Non-death losses experienced by kids
- Traditional grief models & kids
- Cognitive components of understanding grief in childhood
- Grief concepts & loss responses by developmental age and stage (using case examples)
- Distinctions between adult and youth responses to loss
- Explaining sensitive topics like suicide or homicide death to kids
- Magical thinking, guilt, and regret in childhood loss
Assessment of Grief & Loss in Children & Adolescents
- How children and adolescents understand and cope with death
- Six common questions following a death
- “Things we want adults to know about our grief”
- “De-code” the meanings of behaviours
- Factors that influence mourning and healing in kids
- Red flag behaviours
- Ethical considerations for working with kids
Normal vs. Abnormal Responses to Loss in Children and Adolescents
- Depression vs. bereavement: A DSM-5 distinction
- Differentiating between normal, complicated, prolonged, and traumatic grief in children
Traumatic Grief in Children & Adolescents
- Trauma exposure and traumatic loss
- Assessing traumatic grief
- Differentiating from normal bereavement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Evidence-based interventions for treating traumatic grief
The Role of Attachment in Childhood Grief
- The role of the pre-death relationship
- Factors that influence continuing bonds
- Assessment and expression of child and adolescent continuing bonds after death
- Adaptive vs. maladaptive continuing bonds
- Grief Cave Intervention
Anticipatory Grief Counselling
- Talking to kids about terminal illness and death: Do’s and Don’ts
- Anticipatory grief interventions
- Explaining cancer to kids
- Explaining the dying process to kids
- Strategies to prepare kids for funerals & memorial services
- Strategies to prepare children to return to school after a death
Individual Interventions to Help Children Reconcile Losses & Discover Hope
- Bibliotherapy and journaling
- Therapeutic games and play
- Expressive arts interventions
- Poetry, writing, and music interventions
- Memorialization Rituals- Holidays and Significant Dates
School-Based and Group Interventions
- Factors for assessing and counselling kids and teens at schools
- Strategies for building rapport
- 6-week support group session outline
- Grief Camps
- Family Camps
- “Pamper Days”
- Social Workers
- Case Managers
- Marriage & Family Therapists
- Bereavement Counselors
- Hospice Professionals
- Other Mental Health Professionals
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