Friday, November 16, 2018 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM EST
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Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel Trade Center 
181 Boston Post Road W
Marlborough, MA 01752

Driving Directions 


Rosemary Marshall 
Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. 

Grief and Traumatic Loss: Unique Challenges and Interventions when Working with Substance Use Disorders

Presenters:  Heidi L. DiRoberto, LMHC

                      Yeonjoo Son, LMHC

With the rise in numbers of fatal overdoses, our clients are experiencing pre-mature loss at a much higher rate than other populations served. The reaction to this epidemic is wide ranged in our comunity. While some individuals are able to express their grief and need for clinical intervention, others are unable to identify emotions related to loss and are disconnected, which has led to some normalization. This has challenges in the recovery process including, illicit use.

Loss is a part of every human experience, yet it is one of the most difficult and isolating experiences to manage under the best of circumstances. Having skills and supports in place to manage the emotions and situations around a loss is a luxury many of our clients lack in their personal lives. Skills-building around grief to support traumatic loss is essential to this population and their recovery process. 

This presentation addresses grief and loss from a psychoeducational perspective, with a strong focus on normalizing, skills acquisition, and processing emotions.

Learning Objectives

After participating in this program, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the Impact of Grief and Loss
  • What is a traumatic Loss?  What is PTSD?
  • Stages of Grief and Loss through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Challenges when working with individuals who have co-occurring disorders, i.e., more likely to have adverse childhood experience, more prone to have a co-occurring disorder, bio psycho social model, risk of relapse, overdose prevention, fatal outcomes, etc.
  • Assessing Readiness for Treatment
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Identify Risk Factors and Protective/Resiliency Factors, how do you assess for this?
  • Safety planning:  Working with families and commuity supports to treat the whole client.
  • Increasing skills to handle stress and trauma:  Utilizing skill based therapies, like DBT and Seeking Safety to increase Emotion Relulation and Distress Tolerance.

Continuing Education Hours 6.0

NASW  - National Association of Social Workers - LICSW

NBCC - National Board of Certified Counselors - LMHC

LADC - Massachusett Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services

NAADAC - National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors - CAC/CADAC