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Bereavement After Suicide: Understanding and Working With Loss Survivors

The suicide of a loved one can have a profound and sometimes devastating impact on those left behind, called suicide loss survivors. 

Bereavement after suicide may entail high levels of disorientation, guilt, regret, anger, shame, and trauma. Survivors sometimes also find their relationships with other people changed, as they struggle with the social stigma often placed on suicide, and the altered family relationships that have been changed by the feelings of guilt, blame, and failure that suicide may engender. Survivors may also be at risk for elevated rates of complicated grief and future suicidality themselves. All of this makes surviving the suicide of a loved one a potentially life-transforming ordeal that requires a level of support that goes beyond traditional grief counseling. Yet very few mental health training programs devote any time to training clinicians about the challenging work of suicide postvention – helping survivors cope with the tragic loss. 

At this session, the presenter will provide a focused overview of the impact of suicide on survivors, and the clinical and support responses that are needed after a suicide occurs. The session will include didactic presentation, group discussion, case examples from the presenter’s practice, and video clips from grief therapy sessions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define who is a suicide survivor and the risks to their mental health and well-being. 
  • Describe common themes in the bereavement of survivors.
  • Understand the tasks of psychological re-integration after suicide loss 
  • Gain useful information about specific clinical techniques that can be of use in grief therapy with survivors. 

John (Jack) Jordan, Ph.D., FT
Dr. Jordan is an internationally renowned researcher and licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He has specialized in grief counseling with survivors of suicide and other traumatic losses for more than 35 years. In addition, Jack has published over 50 clinical and research articles, chapters, and full books in the areas of bereavement after suicide, support group models, the integration of research and practice in thanatology, and loss in family and larger social systems. 

Registration: 8 am
Program: 8:30 am - 4 pm
Boxed Kosher lunch provided.

Fee: $40. Payment is at the door.

6.5 CEUs:  6.5 CEUs for social work, counseling, and clinical psychology.

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This session is sponsored by the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss and the Illinois Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah
3220 Big Tree Lane
Wilmette, IL 60091

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Betsy Lazerow MEd, Education and Networking Coordinator
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