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Childhood Grief and the Healing Power of Superheroes

March 10, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CST

Presented by The Institute for Professional and Continuing Studies

This webinar is being hosted on Zoom. The link to the Zoom meeting will be included in your order confirmation email from Eventbrite.

About This Event

We all have our favorite superhero—Batman, Black Panther, or Wonder Woman. Whether they wear a cape or a crown, they are champions in the fight between good and evil. They also face adversity, trauma, and loss, often as children. Yet, there is another super power—the power of healing. Superheroes can help bereaved children and their families when we explore their origin stories. They provide a framework for understanding grief, a concept that confuses most of us, but especially children. These stories and the actions of the human beings in them allow children to process their own losses. Comics, books, film, and play based on superheroes are successful approaches for children coping with loss and trauma. Children and adolescents can explore themes relevant to their own experiences and even identify their own “super” healing skills and strengths.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this lecture attendees will be able to:

1) Define how children understand death and grief.

2) Recognize portrayals of trauma and loss in the media and the arts, specifically in a superhero’s origin story.

3) Discuss how caregivers offer stability, continuity and support, to superheroes.

4) Describe efficacy of grief-informed therapeutic uses of superhero-based comics, books, film and play as tools of healing and growth.

Speakers

Jill A. Harrington, DSW, LCSW maintains a private practice in the Washington D.C. area and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology. Dr. Harrington is the former Senior Field Researcher for USUHS/Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress and is one of the first published authors on military family bereavement. She is the creator and Lead Editor of the new textbook, Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss. Dr. Harrington is teaching a new special grief & trauma elective class this semester based on the Book.

Donna Gaffney, psychotherapist and educator, has long addressed loss and grief in children’s lives. She integrates literature and film into her practice and educational programs; curating appropriate materials and writing discussion guides for children’s and young adult literature, film and theater. Donna is writing a discussion guide for the new documentary, Something Beautiful Left Behind, winner at SXSW film festival and wrote a family discussion guide for the New York Life Foundation book series, Kai’s Journey. She is the author of “Childhood Grief and The Healing Power of Superheroes” and co-author of “Parents and Caregivers: The Everyday Heroes Behind Superheroes” in Superhero Grief, The Transformative Power of Loss edited by Jill A. Harington and Robert A. Neimeyer. Donna holds master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University; Rutgers University, and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Program Standards and Goals

This program meets APA’s continuing education Standard 1.1: Program content focuses on application of psychological assessment and/or intervention methods that have overall consistent and credible empirical support in the contemporary peer reviewed scientific literature beyond those publications and other types of communications devoted primarily to the promotion of the approach.

This program meets APA’s continuing education Goal 1: Program is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or science.

References

Cohen-Manor, Y. (2019). The healing power of superhero stories: Bibliotherapy and comic books. In Rubin, L.C. (Ed), Using Superheroes and Villains in Counseling and Play Therapy: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. Routledge.

Gaffney, D. (2020). Childhood Grief and the Healing Power of Superheroes. In J.A. Harrington & Neimeyer, R.A. (Eds.), Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss. Routledge.

Gaffney, D. (2017). Perilous journeys, the voices of Latina girls growing up in New York City. Unpublished manuscript, Columbia University.

Gaffney, D.A., Kaplow, J., Layne, C., A., & Primo, J. (2016). A Selective Literature Review on Childhood Grief and Bereavement: Current Research Findings and Future Directions. Publisher: Authors.

Hunter, S. B., & Smith, D. E. (2008). Predictors of children’s understandings of death: Age, cognitive ability, death experience and maternal communicative competence. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 57(2), 143-162.

Plantinga, C. (1999). The scene of empathy and the human face on film. In Carl Plantinga and Greg M. Smith (Eds), Passionate Views: Film, Cognition, and Emotion. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Rubin, L. C. (Ed.). (2019). Using Superheroes and Villains in Counseling and Play Therapy: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. Routledge.

Sandler, I & Gaffney, D (2020) Parents and Caregivers: The Everyday Heroes Behind Superheroes. In J.A. Harrington & Neimeyer, R.A. (Eds.), Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss. Routledge.

Stylianou, P., & Zembylas, M. (2018). Dealing with the concepts of “grief” and “grieving” in the classroom: Children’s perceptions, emotions, and behavior. OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying, 77(3), 240-266.

Work, A. (2017) The Value of Parental Co-Viewing on Children and Families. Cinesthesia. 6(2).

Registration and Fees

Chicago School Faculty, Students, and Alumni: Free (Chicago School email required for free registration)

Community Members: $20.00

Potential Students Only (*No CEUs Provided*)

All funds raised through this workshop will benefit The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Washington DC Campus Counseling Department Scholarship Program.

Refund Policy: 100% of tuition is refundable up to 48 hours before the program. Within 48 hours of the program, tuition is nonrefundable.

Continuing Education

Target Audience: Professionals from all mental health disciplines and graduate students from all mental health disciplines.

Psychologists. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Danielle Bohrer at 312-467-2364. There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.

MFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs. Course meets the qualifications for continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. If you are licensed outside of California please check with your local licensing agency to determine if they will accept these CEUs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to offer continuing education programming for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is an accredited or approved postsecondary institution that meets the requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54(f)(1), 4989.34, 4996.22(d)(1), or 4999.76(d) of the Code.

Participation Certificate. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is able to provide students and other participants who simply wish to have documentation of their attendance at the program a participation certificate.

Non Psychologists. Most licensing boards accept Continuing Education Credits sponsored by the American Psychological Association but non-psychologists are recommended to consult with their specific state-licensing board to ensure that APA-sponsored CE is acceptable.

*Participants must attend 100% of the program, and pass a brief comprehension quiz, in order to obtain a Certificate of Attendance.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington DC Campus has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 3061. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.