Working with Traumatic Grief

2021thu17jun10:00 amthu11:30 amWorking with Traumatic Grief

Event Details

Webinar Overview

Working with Traumatic Grief: Understanding and managing the conflicting processes of trauma and grief.

Many traumatic experiences involve loss and grief. Whenever loss occurs in circumstances that are tragic, sudden, horrible or involve great suffering there is a traumatic dimension to the grief. Such loss needs to be distinguished from the pain of loss that may be natural, expected and yet still sad and painful. This webinar will describe the bodily, emotional and mental processes involved in the natural trauma and grief responses.

Much has been learned about trauma and grief in the last half century although they may occur together and we may think that any grief is traumatic, it is helpful to recognise they are quite distinct responses to different threats. Grief involves the loss of someone who is part of ourselves and their absence in the real world causes pain and motivates a process of accepting and adapting to it. Trauma involves an experience of threat to self or other and activates physical and psychological responses to cope that may not subside but keep reactivating the experience causing post-traumatic stress.

These two adaptive responses – grief and trauma have distinct physiological emotional and psychological patterns and require distinct techniques to facilitate recovery from them. In traumatic grief they alternate and often conflict or cut across each other preventing recovery.

The workshop will describe each of these processes so they can be recognised and discuss the strategies and techniques required to help them resolve. Examples and illustrations will be used to clarify the material.

Learning Outcomes

Following this webinar participants will:

  • The defining patterns and responses of traumatic stress
  • The defining patterns and responses of grief
  • How these two responses interact in traumatic stress
  • Broad strategic principles for disentangling them and facilitating recovery.

Presenter Biography

Rob Gordon, Ph.D is a Clinical Psychologist and has worked with survivors of traumatic events, disasters, work related critical incidents for 40 years. He has been a consultant to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Bushfire Recovery Victoria, The Victorian Department of Education and Training and the Emergency Services Department of Australian Red Cross for emergencies and traumatic events. He has worked with communities affected by disasters throughout Australia and New Zealand and consults to a range of agencies supporting people affected by trauma and grief; he provides training to many government and non-government agencies and has published articles and book chapters on trauma and grief. He is the President of the Australian Confederation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies and conducts a psychotherapy practice in Box Hill, Victoria.


(Thursday) 10:00 am - 11:30 am AEST