Being with Grief and Death 2020

Being with Grief and Death

This workshop has been postponed until 2021 when we can hopefully meet in person.

Dying and grieving are essential and unavoidable aspects of our humanness. With our versatile minds we are able to touch on death as an inevitable reality and yet the prospect of death for ourselves, or our loved ones, is troubling and often a source of intense confusion and distress. A dominant cultural movement is therefore to avoid and deny death and all that may draw us near to it. It has been postulated in many traditions that in this move to avoid contact with death, and the depths of grief, we also compromise full and rich contact with life.

In this workshop across two days, we will move towards understanding and being with death and grief. We will engage dialogically across our humanity and mortality, reclaim the existential lineage of phenomenology and experiment with how to be present to our own experiences of grief and death in order that we may be better positioned to offer support to others.


Presented by


Tracy is a psychotherapist, mental health social worker and educator who has been working as a clinician in private practice for 20 years. She is on faculty at Gestalt Therapy Brisbane and lectures at Southern Cross University on grief and trauma informed practice in the human services.

Tracy has trained and specialised in the field of death and dying, grief and bereavement for the last 17 years and worked with individuals and couples, as a trainer and as a supervisor to other clinicians. She has been closely affiliated with the Amitayus Home Hospice Service in the Byron Shire since 2003 and is on their training committee and team. Tracy has a strong interest in educating people from the community and in professional roles to compassionately care for the dying and be informed and practiced in how to be and work with those experiencing grief.

Who is the workshop for?

  • Students, graduates
  • Practitioners
  • Others wanting to understand more about grief

Participant Outcomes

  • Better understanding of grief
  • Connecting with others through grief

About this Workshop

Death, dying, and grieving are and are present in each of our lives and each of our clients. We are always sitting precariously on an edge between life and death, with grief and loss a close and constant companion. Such contemplation naturally provokes existential anxieties and inclinations to deny mortality or the pain of grief. The dominant death denying culture tends to grimace and devise strategies to redirect away from death, dying and pain. With few anchors and stepping-stones to journey grief process in the dominant culture, those grieving are often at sea with strange and disorientating feelings, thoughts and somatic symptoms arising. Both Existentialism and Buddhism hold that reflection on death provides a clear and important pathway into living with vitality and authenticity (Yalom, 2008; Rimpoche, 1993). As Gestalt therapists, who aspire to practice with inclusion, authenticity and an existential phenomenological methodology, there is an inherent imperative to meet our own experience on this edge, notice the view, the somatic responses, and our own process of presence. In this way we will be better equipped to meet another as they stand on this edge, share the journey and wholeness of being human with all its challenge and riches.

This workshop will offer an opportunity for participants to experience and explore their relationship to the edge of life and death, while also meeting another on this edge. Emphasis will be given to relational reflection and experiment that encourages and encompasses phenomenological enquiry and sharing of presence.

Significant and nuanced losses punctuate the lives of every client and therapist. These experiences, often including the death of loved ones or the ending of relationships, have both acute and ongoing impacts. These impacts will present in both recognisable patterns, which have been captured by grief theory, as well as unique expressions that invite sensitivity, curiosity, and respect from the therapist. With few anchors and stepping-stones to journey the grief process in the dominant culture, those grieving are often at sea with strange and disorientating feelings, thoughts and somatic symptoms arising. Similarly, this workshop aims to inform and orientate therapists and health professionals to recognise grief when it arrives, to gain an understanding of the nature and importance of grief and how to support the grieving. It will also provide Experiential exercises will be offered to create opportunities for personal reflection and practical application of a grief-informed approach while also highlighting the importance of self-awareness, self-care and tuning in to when referral or co-care is appropriate.

Event Details

Start date: 17 October 2020

End date: 18 October 2020

Start time: 09:00 a.m. AEST

End time: 04:00 p.m. AEST

Venue: Gestalt Therapy Brisbane