Grief and Loss in OOHC and Post Adoption

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

Grief and loss occur in many situations, including terminal illness, disability, loss of employment, migrant and refugee experience, adoption, divorce/loss of love, and in the situation of death of a loved one.

This workshop addresses ways to respond to those experiencing grief and loss in the context of adoption and foster care. The workshop will be taught from a Narrative Therapy perspective, and will include opportunities to practice counselling skills in pair work.

The ideas presented will be drawn from narrative therapy and community work practices which are used in many different cultural contexts to support people to tell their stories in strengthening rather than ‘re-traumatising’ ways. Key to this practice is the notion of ‘double-listening’ – listening for not only the story of hardship and loss but also for stories of resistance, reclamation and hard-won knowledge. In grief work we draw on the concepts of continued connection with loved ones even after loss.

During the workshop, participants will consider the grief and loss experience of birth families in the OOHC and adoption system, as well as the experience of children who are in the process of adoption or foster care. It is also relevant for those working with adults who were fostered/adopted as children.

Case examples will be from the presenter’s experience working with birth families and with adults who were fostered or adopted as children.

Participants will leave with new ideas, and a sense of hope and possibility for this challenging and rewarding work, with:

  • Ideas of how to support people in the telling of their stories to reduce the risk of 're-traumatisation'
  • Able to collaboratively identify acts of resistance to hardship and loss
  • Able to collaboratively identify acts of reclaiming life from the ongoing effects of hardship and loss
  • Ability to demonstrate respectful ways of engaging parents presenting with anger or distress
  • Fresh ways to engage with people experiencing grief from a recent loss
  • Confidence in responding to adults and young people who were removed from their birth family as children or infants

Who should attend?

OOHC staff, post adoption counsellors, generalist counsellors, family support workers