A New ‘U’ in Systemic Bereavement: Undigested Grief, Embodied Stories and CMM

A conference session by Tracey Johnston and Peter Robinson
Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre and Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre

23 September 2021, 02:30 PM

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About this conference session

The workshop aims to present our systemic bereavement therapy findings and to help therapists consider grief as a relational process, with an emphasis on stories of spirituality and grief, reflexivity and explorations of embodied and ‘undigestible’ grief processes.

The workshop will offer participants the opportunity to consider our systemic approaches to working with ‘grief as a relational process’ with the bereaved in individual, couple, family and group therapy at ‘Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre’, an independent psychotherapy service based in the multi-cultural context of Aberdeen – the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’.

The workshop will explore:

  • Grief as a relational process and the possibilities of co-constructed identities through the collaborative co-creation of new stories with the bereaved person about the deceased.

  • The ‘Remembering Practice’ (Narrative Therapy) idea that the relationship with the deceased doesn’t have to end when a person dies, but can be a resource for an ongoing continued bond.

  • Our use of Co-ordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) as a helpful interactional methodology used to explore the spirituality of grief and also…

  • Consider the embodied experience of grief as an ‘Undigestible’ story, which we have introduced as a new ‘U’ in CMM’s ‘LUUUUTT’ model. (The LUUUUTT Model is an acronym for Stories Lived, Untold, Unheard, Unknown, Unallowable, Told and story Telling.)

  • Show how the extension of this model can be used to facilitate therapeutic re-storying of the process of grief from an individually held position toward relationally held healing experiences.

  • ‘Radical Presence’ and ‘Spiritual Relational Reflexivity’ in therapeutic work with bereavement, spirituality and the dying.

  • Additional findings from two systemic bereavement groups, one of which, as CMM Fellows, we previously presented at the CMM Institute Learning Exchange Fellows Program at the Institute of Family Therapy (IFT), London in October 2017.

The workshop will consist of an overview of the above with examples from our practice shown via presentation, case descriptions, client feedback, short video clips from clients on the impact of the approach plus exercises and group discussion.

Tracey Johnston

I am a systemic psychotherapist working in independent practice at Possibilities Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre. I have a special interest in bereavement, spirituality and CMM approaches which I use within individual, couple, family and group contexts. I am a CMM fellow and have written on spirituality and bereavement. Reference: TJ Johnston (2017) 'Somewhere Between God and Medicine There is a Place for Me': the Ethical Stance of ‘Radical Presence’ with 'Spiritual Relational Reflexivity' as Ways of Enhancing Therapeutic Possibilities. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy. 38, 115 – 124.

Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson is a Psychotherapist trained in Systemic Psychotherapy, CBT and other Psychotherapies. He has extensive experience of providing therapy to individuals, couples and families having worked in the NHS and in independent practice. He is also a fellow of the CMM Institute.

Hosted by AFT in collaboration with Friends of KCC and CMM Institute