ISU Hosting a Conference Addressing Loss

January 11 2007

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indiana State University's Center for the Study of Health, Religion and Spirituality will host a conference titled "Facing Loss: Reconstructing Meaning, Reconstructing the Self" Feb. 1-3.

Loss is a universal human experience, but relatively few health professionals have adequate training in understanding and working with loss. Loss occurs not only in natural disasters or and situations involving death, but when people go through divorce, retirement, moving, or other life transitions. In addition, the very threat or anticipation of possible loss can have a profound impact on individuals' well-being and their sense of self and meaning.

This conference is aimed at psychologists, social workers, nurses, physicians, marriage and family therapists, chaplains, clergy and others involved in health care or helping professions. Participants will learn about types of loss, some of the effects of loss, and ways to help those facing loss.

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., professor and director of psychotherapy at the University of Memphis, will present "Lessons of Loss: Grief and the Quest for Meaning" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, in Hulman Memorial Student Union, Dede II. The program is free and open to the public but registration is recommended due to limited seating.

Neimeyer, who also maintains an active clinical practice, has published 20 books, including "Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss" and "Lessons of Loss: A Guide to Coping." The author of nearly 300 articles and book chapters, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his professional workshops.

In recognition of his scholarly contributions, he has been granted the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, made a Fellow of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, and given the Research Recognition Award by the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

Friday and Saturday events will be conducted at the Landsbaum Center for Health Education, located one block south of Union Hospital at 1433 N. 6 1/2 Street.

On Friday, Neimeyer will present "Death, Loss and the Quest for Meaning" at 10 a.m. while Jean Kristeller, ISU professor of psychology, will present "Drawing on Spiritual Resources in Cancer Care."

ISU faculty members Tom Johnson and Patrick Bennett will discuss their research on loss in conjuction with natural disasters beginning at 2 p.m. in a presentation "Consequences of Loss Following Hurricane Katrina: Making Meaning in the Wake of Disaster."

The day will conclude with a panel discussion concerning the impact of the work done by the pioneering therapist and researcher Michael J. Mahoney, Ph.D.

On Saturday, Feb. 3 Neimeyer will conduct a day-long workshop beginning at 8 a.m. on "Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss." A central process in grieving entails reconstruction of the bereaved person's world of meaning. Participants will explore this perspective through systematic presentation and "hands on" practice with meaning-making strategies.

To register or to learn more about the conference call (812) 237-4011 or 1-800-234-1639. Participants can register for one day (Friday or Saturday) for $40 or both days for $60. The fee covers continuing education credits, continental breakfast on Saturday and lunch.

The conference is free to Indiana State University students, faculty, and staff, and to full time students enrolled at St Mary of the Woods, Ivy Tech (Terre Haute campus only) and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Students enrolled at other colleges or universities receive a 50 percent discount on the single day or two day rate. Proof of current enrollment is required.

Continuing education credits for Indiana psychologists, social workers, licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists will be offered for each of the above programs.

Contact: Tom Johnson, associate director, ISU Center for the Study of Health, Religion and Spirituality, (812) 237-2449 or

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or

ISU Communications and Marketing: (812) 237-3773 or

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Indiana State University's Center for the Study of Health, Religion and Spirituality will host a conference titled "Facing Loss: Reconstructing Meaning, Reconstructing the Self" Feb. 1-3.

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