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Ruth Stewart-Verger

Bereavement Workshops:

 Storytelling and Bereavement

Telling stories about the lives of people who are dying is a normal part of the palliative care process. It is one of the ways that health care professionals learn what they need to know about their patient and, how those who are dying make sense of how they are experiencing the death process. Similarly, telling stories about the life of people after they have died is a normal part of the grieving process in many cultures.

Bereavement counselors have long understood the power of story in enabling those who are grieving to express their feelings. When people are coping with death, their own or another's, stories are invaluable. Many will want to tell their own story, or to participate in the telling of the family story. Anecdotes can be woven together to create the story of challenges, of lives entwined, of triumphs and defeats. Or, the story may be a fable or folktale chosen to facilitate or illuminate the life journey. The story can be told by, or to, the person at life's end. The story can be told by, or to, the family and friends grieving. The stories told will depend upon the situation and the individuals involved.

This workshop will build on the natural skills and interests of participants and assist them in understanding the potential value of storytelling in bereavement care and, will provide skills in judging when to use story telling in a therapeutic way.

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