Experiential Action Methods and Tools for Healing Grief and Loss-Related Trauma: Life, Death, and Transformation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Experiential Action Methods and Tools for Healing Grief and Loss-Related Trauma

Life, Death, and Transformation, 1st Edition

By Lusijah Sutherland Darrow, Janet Childs


200 pages

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pub: 2020-04-23
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Experiential Action Methods and Tools for Healing Grief and Loss-Related Trauma introduces innovative psychodramatic and creative expression methods for helping those affected by bereavement and trauma.

Each section focuses on a particular acute or secondary grief issue, providing supportive and explanatory material that can be given to clients, and experiential action methods for providers. Real-world vignettes and psychodrama tools delineate a unique approach to unlocking and shifting entrenched perspectives related to persistent grief and loss-related trauma, with chapters organized for practical use and application by counselors and therapists. The book also includes critical incident stress training material specifically for first responders, a frequently overlooked population.

The practical guidance offered in this book will be of great interest to all who work with grief and trauma, including practicing and trainee psychologists and therapists, counseling centers, hospice organizations, bereavement support programs, and ministers.


"This book is a must-have for anyone seeking to learn innovative, creative, and effective ways to work with death and dying. The authors share personal and professional experiences of using experiential and other methods of change combining an Eastern and Western wisdom and knowledge. Readers will walk away with immediately useful new interventions while having their own souls renewed."Kate Hudgins, PhD, TEP, clinical psychologist and director of training at Therapeutic Spiral International.

"The authors have developed a powerful, user friendly ‘how to’ manual for those who are doing grief work. The section on Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is so strong and reflects the authors’ extensive experience and wisdom. This book will be a valuable resource for all practitioners involved in grief work."Brian Cahill LCSW, former clinical director of Catholic Charities in San Francisco, CA; author of Cops, Cons, and Grace.

"I’m not sure if this resonates more for me as a career child welfare social worker who has seen a lot of trauma firsthand, a supervisor and manager responsible for taking care of first responder staff in a large government agency or ‘civilian’ me, who has experienced loss and trauma in my personal life. The connection of mind, body, and well-being are an essential component to the roadmap to healing. The detailed techniques, action steps, and example vignettes make this an easy and informative read for clinicians and lay readers alike."Jonathan Weinberg, child welfare social worker; former adjunct professor, San Jose State University School of Social Work.

"An important contribution to the literature base – to my knowledge, this is the only book dedicated to psychodramatic work with grief and loss! The experiential techniques outlined by the authors, including sociometry and psychodrama, foster connection after loss while helping clients get unstuck and renegotiate their grief. A blend of practical recommendations, theoretical considerations, and personal experience, this is a must have publication for professionals working with grief and loss." – Dr. Scott Giacomucci, DSW, LCSW, CTTS, CET III, PAT, director and founder, Phoenix Center for Experiential Trauma Therapy; co-editor, Autobiography of a Genius by Jacob L. Moreno

"Comprehensive and wise throughout, Darrow and Childs' book provides a creative and compassionate guide to using active and expressive techniques in working with grief and loss. This wonderful and original book takes a direct and healing approach, and the clinical examples are moving and useful. The authors convey a deep understanding of the nature of loss, the power of group-work in healing, and the benefits of using active and expressive techniques with both individuals and groups."Nancy D. Whiteside, LCSW, former manager at Worcester Youth Guidance Center.

"Experiential Action Methods and Tools for Healing Grief and Trauma provides sensitive and real methods for navigating the grief journey. Kindness and an open heart are fully present in clearly described psychodramatic and sociometric tools for helping people access their internal, interpersonal, and transpersonal strengths. This book is absolutely essential for those who want to support others on the complex path of healing from grief and trauma." – John Olesen, MA, TEP, psychodrama trainer and former hospice therapist.

"This book combines insights from grief and loss literature with a practical, four-tier structure developed by The Centre for Living with Dying that provides sequential components to guide practitioners in helping clients manage grief and loss and the stressors that accompany them. The addition of psychodrama as the methodology for exploring these components (Acknowledge, Express, Act, and Reconnect) offers an innovative approach to this work that is cognizant of current neurological research demonstrating the efficacy of action methods for promoting post-traumatic growth."Mario Cossa, RDT/MT, TEP, is co-director of Therapeutic Spiral International with an international reputation as a psychodrama trainer and practitioner.

"This fine book states clearly that grief is a natural life experience we all go through in healing the reality of loss and change. The authors teach us that each grief journey is unique and how reaching out to others for support and being kind to one’s self can enable us to survive the pain."Charles Garfield, PhD, author, Life’s Last Gift: Giving and Receiving Peace When A Loved One Is Dying and founder, Shanti Project.

Table of Contents

1. Approaching the Grief Journey 2. Centre for Living with Dying Grief Program 3. Psychodrama and Sociometry with Grief Work 4. The Beginning: Sharing the Story 5. Tools for Coping 6. Loneliness 7. Fear 8. Sadness 9. Anger 10. Unfinished Business 11. Frozen Moments 12. Guilt 13. Mementos: The Power of Action Steps in the Aftermath of Loss 14. Unique Issues After Violent Death and Suicide 15. Grief Work Beyond the Acute Stage 16. Faith and the Grieving Process 17. Creative Expression Activities for Larger Groups and Day-long Retreats 18. Grief Work with Fragile Populations 19. Family Dynamics with Loss and Change 20. Stress, Trauma, and Critical Incident Stress Management 21. Grief Training for Clinicians and Caregivers

About the Authors

Lusijah S. Darrow LMFT, CP, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychodramatist, and continuing education provider. She brings a transpersonal perspective and keen intellectual curiosity to human growth and healing derived from a life-long spiritual practice and her previous career in biomedical research.

Rev. Janet Childs, DD, is the director of the Bay Area CISM Team at the Centre for Living with Dying program, Bill Wilson Center, San Francisco, USA. For over forty years, Janet has dedicated her life to providing support, education, and crisis intervention to people facing loss, grief, and serious illness, as well as to responders and caregivers on the front lines.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Grief & Loss