What would you say to honor the life and legacy of a loved one? The experience of loss is universal as individuals grow up and grow older, but few venues exist to explore these themes within our wider culture.
From 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 7, the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning will present an innovative five-hour workshop that surveys key concepts from the research literature on grief, loss and creative coping strategies in a safe and respectful environment.
In "Finding Words to Honor a Life: Techniques for Crafting a Eulogy," Dr. Gail Eisen will offer students a unique mix of engaging research highlights from the literature of life-span psychology with opportunities for thoughtful discussion about the practical applications of concepts to their personal, familial and professional lives. The class will examine classic themes of grief and loss and will include unique content on the role that eulogies can play in helping individuals to both process, and recover from, the loss of a loved one.
Class highlights include:
» The role of culture in shaping attitudes and apprehensions about loss — and why our cultural emphasis on stoicism and a “rapid recovery” from sadness makes recovery more difficult.
» A review of factors that influence the reactions of survivors, such as the circumstances of the death, existing social supports, coping style, spiritual beliefs, available resources and other variables.
» The importance of expressing feelings as a critical first step in the recovery process.
» The role of eulogies in helping individuals to process a loss and provide an integrated “life-story” of the deceased that can guide and inspire future generations.
» Creative techniques for crafting a eulogy that will honor the memory and deeper meanings found within the mosaic of an individual’s life.
» Opportunities for new learning, insight, and empathy that can accompany a loss.
“The CLL offers unique approaches to the psychology of relationships, and bold topics that help people explore the meanings and dynamics of relationships,” said Andy Harper, executive director of the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning. “We welcome the community to engage with experts like Gail Eisen who can help the community find ways to honor relationships and offer comfort to others. This class represents a unique side of lifelong learning — putting difficult thoughts into words can be a challenge at any age.”
Eisen, a former Fulbright Senior Scholar, will devote one part of the class to exploring the function of eulogies within a memorial service, as well as the sometimes beneficial role they play in helping mourners understand the full spectrum of a person’s life. Quite often, a eulogy will suggest the greater life-lessons that can be learned from an individual’s values and behaviors, and these tend to be the eulogies that offer the most profound consolation.
The cost of the half-day workshop is $35 and will be held in Room 3 at the SBCC Schott Campus, 310 West Padre St. in Santa Barbara. It is open to all members of the community and will also be of value to counseling, healthcare, financial planning, and business professionals who work closely with clients who have experienced a recent loss. Five CEUs are available to MFTs and LCSWs who wish to review these foundational concepts from the literature of life-span development.
— Flannery Hill is a publicist representing the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning.