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A Pandemic of Loss: Understanding, Supporting and Integrating Grief

January 16, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

$125.00 – $225.00

(NOTE: Register for BOTH, Pandemic of Loss AND Self-Care During Troubling Times, and receive a $40 discount automatically applied upon checkout. MUST register for both events at the same time for the discount to be applicable. The discount will not be retroactive if purchased at separate times.)

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

Grief is the internal and natural response to loss. Everyone, either in their personal or professional life, will inevitably be faced with a situation of loss and resultant grief. 2020 has been a year marked with global loss and grief, bringing these experiences front and center in the lives of many people.

Unfortunately, North America is a largely death phobic and grief illiterate culture, making it challenging to know the best way to help. Grief literacy is something that is needed, now more than ever, for us personally and professionally.

We are proud to be hosting a 7-hour virtual learning experience designed to improve your understanding of grief; both death related and non-death related. In this virtual workshop, you will learn about grief and loss, the historical significance of death symbols and rituals, and how in modern culture we have lost many of these helpful rituals, and adopted many unhelpful strategies and cliches to avoid the pain caused by grief. To counteract this modern view, you will learn about a helpful and effective model of grief support called the Companioning Model. Companioning is about…

●  Being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.

●  Going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.

●  Honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.

●  Listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.

●  Bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles.

●  Walking alongside; it is not about leading.

●  Discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling up every moment with words.

●  Being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.

●  Respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.

●  Learning from others; it is not about teaching them.

●  Compassionate curiosity; it is not about expertise.

You will leave this workshop with a holistic and deeper understanding of grief, and feel more comfortable in supporting others.

Who Should Attend?

This workshop will be appropriate for anyone who is involved with care-giving to someone who has suffered a loss – perhaps in a professional role, or personal. The Companioning Model does not require any professional designation to employ. All it requires as a “prerequisite” is an open heart and willingness to learn about someone else’s experience. If you are wondering if this workshop is appropriate for you to attend, contact Sandy (sandy@yogaforgriefsupport.com​ or 780-916-2417) and she can discuss it with you.

January 16 2021
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
January 23 2021
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Hosted on the Zoom Platform: A link will be provided upon checkout, as well as sent in a reminder a few days prior to the event. 

Learning Objectives

●  To be able to define grief and identify a variety of losses a person could experience both in general and as a result of the Covid pandemic.

●  To examine the misconceptions we have in our society about grief, and to recognize the impact these misconceptions have on the experience of grief.

●  To learn the 11 Tenants of the Companioning Model of grief support, and to practice applying it during the workshop.

●  To demonstrate basic supportive skills in a small group setting.

●  To appraise and support your role as an individual providing grief sensitive care, and become aware of community resources.


●  Understanding Loss, Grief, Mourning and Bereavement

●  Grief and Loss Through a Broader Lens: Losses Experienced Throughout The Lifespan, Covid-related losses

●  The Ripple Effect of Grief/Loss

●  Exploration of Death and Grief Culture Historically

●  Grief in 2020 – Neoliberalism and modern culture

●  Understanding the Misconceptions of Grief

●  The Reality of Grief: Manifestations of Loss: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual

●  Grief is Not an Illness: Introduction to the Companioning Model

Day 2

●  Overview of the Support Role and Practical Ways of Supporting Grief

●  The 11 Tenets of Companioning The Bereaved

●  Supportive Strategies: What To Say When You Don’t Know What To Say.

●  Community Supports in Edmonton and Canada

●  Question and Answer

Presenter Bio: Sandy Ayre is an Occupational Therapist with a Certificate in Death and Grief Studies Certificate through the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins Colorado. She works on the Tertiary Palliative Care Unit at the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton, supporting patients and families at the end of life. She also is a certified yoga instructor. Since 2009 she has been providing Yoga for Grief Support – a grief support group in Edmonton that uses yoga and meditation as a supportive modality. You can find her classes online as well at www.yogaforgriefsupport.com


In 2019 Sandy offered a 2-day grief workshop that was very well received by the participants. This virtual offering is based on the same information, however, abridged to be delivered virtually. The following are some testimonials:

“This is a very valuable workshop that all healthcare workers should have access to, to help educate and enhance the knowledge base to a topic that is not taught or talked about, but as a healthcare worker are exposed to constantly. Having tools and resources to help guide healthcare professionals on a topic that touches everyone is invaluable.”

“Great workshop, the presenter was warm, knowledgeable and caring.” “Sandy is an amazing presenter, gave lots of pauses and time to reflect.”

“Sandy answered everything in detail and honestly. I liked her knowledge and experience while allowing us to explore answers.”

“Calm, well-paced, organized. Thanks for including self-care and resources. Quite helpful.”


January 16, 2021
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
$125.00 – $225.00
Event Category:


Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists
(855) MY1-SAOT
View Organizer Website


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