Workshops

Free Introduction to the program with Jan Booth MA, RN,  NC-BC

Monday, January 8, 2024 |7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

Thursday, February 8, 2024 |7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

 

INTRODUCTION TO INTEGRATIVE THANATOLOGY—JAN BOOTH MA, RN, NC-BC

Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 | 7:00 – 9:00 pm ET

 

The focus of this introductory workshop is to begin to create a safe space where meaningful interaction with the death-positive movement can unfold. Students are introduced to thanatology as the study of death and dying and to their classmates for the next five months. We will explore our motivations for crossing the threshold to participate with the Art of Dying Institute. Students will become familiar with the Integrative Thanatology program syllabus and requirements for the certificate. Special attention will be given to the importance of individual plans for self-care and support through the months of this transformative program.

 

THE INNER PATH OF DYING—JAN BOOTH MA, RN, NC-BC

Saturday, February 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm ET

 

What if we re-imagined the end of life as a vital and purposeful stage of being fully human? In a death-phobic culture, practices that wake us up to our mortality are countercultural and radical acts. How do we learn and practice this particular path of awakening? To imagine new possibilities, we benefit from drawing out of a different well of thinking and experience — perhaps a different kind of knowing. Contemplative and mythic traditions teach the necessity of an inner path of dying—so that we can be more fully present with our own and others’ grief, losses, and death. This session draws from experiential practices, cultural tipping points, story-telling, music, and focused reflection to explore the mystery and meaning in dying – and how it transforms how we live.

 

MAPPING THE JOURNEY: RE-ENVISIONING DECISIONS ABOUT THE END OF LIFE—LESLIE BLACKHALL MD

Sunday, February 25, 2024|10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET


End of life is a developmental stage, which is experienced by all patients and requires a unique set of skills by their caregivers. However, those studying nursing, medicine, and other allied professions are usually not taught how their patients die. The absence of this education leads to misunderstanding about the nature and goals of medical care, inability to communicate, and increased suffering for clinicians, patients, and families.

Additionally, our healthcare institutions are designed to care for patients w/ acute episodic illnesses and are geared toward their recovery. However, many patients have chronic progressive life-limiting illnesses and will not recover. In this workshop, we will discuss how our education and institutional systems fail in the care of patients at the end of life and explore ways we can improve and transform them.  

 

DEEP LISTENING & PERSONAL REACTIVITY—IYA REV. DESHANNON BARNES-BOWEN MS & REV. EILEEN FISHER

Wednesday, March 6, 2024|7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET

 

One of the most profound gifts we can offer each other in spiritual care is to create spaces where people feel fully heard. Thich Nhat Hahn said, “Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person.” Listening is a sacred act that when done well, supports us in feeling valued and accepted. Personal reactivity can show up as a barrier to deep listening and impedes our ability to be present in our service to others. In this interactive session we will: 1) define components of deep listening 2) learn how activation happens and its impact on our bodies 3) develop skills to work with our activation 4) discover tools to listen more deeply.

 

END OF LIFE EXISTENTIAL DISTRESS AND PSYCHEDELIC MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE AS AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT—ANTHONY BOSSIS Ph.D. 

Monday, March 18, 2024 | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm ET 

 

During this webinar, we will present the findings from the 2016 landmark NYU School of Medicine clinical trial on psychedelic research aimed to relieve the psychological and existential suffering associated with a life-threatening illness or the end of life. The trial demonstrated the efficacy of a single psilocybin-generated mystical experience in helping individuals with cancer cultivate meaning, enhance existential and psycho-spiritual well-being, and foster a greater acceptance of the dying process with less anxiety.

 

The scientific findings of reduction in depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and demoralization will be presented along with implications for the future of palliative and hospice care and the study of thanatology and consciousness. Psilocybin is the psychoactive compound found in specific species of mushrooms.

 

Features of a mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, ineffability, and an enhanced awareness of positive emotions, including that of love. Mystical experiences offer a novel therapeutic approach to promote an openness to the mystery of death and a deeper understanding of the study of meaning and spirituality.

 

AFTER-DEATH CARE AND HOME FUNERALS—REV. OLIVIA BAREHAM

Saturday, March 23, 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET

 

This workshop demonstrates the role of the death midwife from the final breath through the 3-day home vigil and funeral until final disposition. Open to professional and non-professional end-of-life caregivers and anyone wishing to care for their loved one naturally, at home, according to personal, religious, and cultural traditions.

 

THE TOPICS COVERED WILL INCLUDE

  • Legalities & logistics of a 1 to 3-day home vigil
  • The death midwife kit
  • Care of the body (bathing, dressing, anointing)
  • Laying the body in honor
  • Dry-ice preservation
  • Stillbirth/Infant death – bringing baby home
  • Films, meditations, written exercises, and demonstrations support the information being shared.

 

CULTIVATING THE DOULA HEART —FRANCESCA ARNOLDY

Sunday, March 24, 2024 |10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET

 

Doulas step into the most intense, vulnerable thresholds of life to hold a hand, wipe a tear, and honor all that is meaningful. Feel invited to move from sympathy or empathy toward compassion to avoid energy depletion. Deepen your understanding of doula essentials of care. Learn useful, practical approaches and techniques that will enable you to support people more confidently through times of intensity, including birth, death, and grief. 

 

During this 6-hour interactive workshop, we will cover: 

  • Tenets of Doula Support 
  • Components of Compassion 
  • Liminal Space 
  • Being “Enough” 
  • The “Ins” of Holding Space
  • Personalizing with Plans 
  • Tools of the Trade  

 

EXPLORING THE GRIEF JOURNEY: CULTURAL, FAMILIAL AND PERSONAL DIMENSIONS—RABBI SIMCHA RAPHAEL PH.D. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm ET

 

Today, there is a burgeoning transformation of cultural attitudes to death and a plethora of theories, methods, and practices that guide our work with the dying and bereaved.  However, regardless of one’s approach or perspective, there is a growing recognition among spiritual caregivers and helping professionals that one is more adequately prepared for companioning the dying and bereaved by investigating our own personal reactions and responses to death and dying. Especially in this time of pandemic crisis and its aftermath of grief residue, there are high levels of stress affecting caregivers: being able to wrestle with one’s own personal losses and with the grief one encounters doing this work leaves an individual less susceptible to “compassion fatigue” and more open to caring for others.

 

With this in mind, this experientially-oriented workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to explore their personal grief journey, as well as how both families of origin and the surrounding culture impact our attitudes towards grief and loss. In the final analysis, we shall look at death as a teacher that gives one the opportunity for psychological and spiritual development.

 

HOW TO HELP AFTER A SUICIDE DEATH—KAREN WYATT MD

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 | 7:00pm -9:00pm ET

 

While less than 2% of all deaths in the U.S. occur by suicide, the aftermath of such a death is traumatic and overwhelming to the survivors, who need special support as they cope with shock and grief. The intent of this program is to raise awareness about suicide, break down the stigma that surrounds it, and prepare participants to support those impacted by suicide.  

In this webinar, we will cover the challenges faced by survivors of suicide death, what to do after a suicide death, as well as tips and tools for supporting a survivor of a suicide death.

 

MUSIC AS MEDICINE AT THE END OF LIFE—CATHARINE DELONG

Thursday, April 11, 2024 | 7:00-9:00pm ET

 

Music at the bedside brings beauty, intimacy, and comfort to end-of-life patients. It invites listeners to be present to what is going on both inside and around them. 

 

Catharine’s workshop offers the most effective uses of live vocal, instrumental, and recorded music for palliative individuals and their loved ones. She brings her experience as a freelance harpist, certified music-thanatologist, contemplative musician, and end-of-life educator to support patients and families, and to help them encounter the dying process as a natural passage. 

 

SOMATIC PRINCIPLES OF LIVING AND DYING:  SEEING DEATH AS PART OF VITALITY AND THE MOVING ARC OF LIFE —JEANNE DENNEY MA

Saturday, April 20, 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET

 

Death matters to every moment of human life and to our psychological health. Death is “somatic” or body-centered in its core. Dying is a deeply energetic, emotional, spiritual, and physical process in which consciousness and the body change together over time. Yet this important process is not covered in somatic theories, and we often do not include the unity of mind and body in end of life work. 

 

During this day we will study how energy, consciousness and the body change over the entire human life, with special attention to the energetics of the dying process itself. What we find teaches us about human life in every moment. How can we be both fearless and sensitive in service to the dying? Together we will practice “finding” this state within ourselves and being present with one another as we explore the jewels within silence. To fully experience these somatic principles, we will include The Deathbed Exercise, which is a profound and useful way of experiencing the somatic principles of death and dying.

 

 

AFRICAN AMERICAN DEATHWAYS – KAMI FLETCHER, PhD

Sunday, April 21, 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET

Being Black in America has meant a continuous fight for freedom and humanity.  Unfortunately, this fight and assertion of humanity does not stop with death.  In this workshop we will explore how white supremacy has sought to imprint upon death and dying by exploring the unnatural and disconcerting ways in which African Americans have died.  In the same vein, we will examine the ways in which burial grounds and mourning patterns have particularly served as important vehicles for challenging postmortem racism and autonomous identity formation.  Ultimately students will learn how African American deathways and death care have served as important spaces for collective memory and mainstays of self-preservation.

 

LANDSCAPES OF DEATH AND DYING : REIMAGINING COSMOVISIONS —WILKA ROIG MA, MFA

Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET

This workshop is a journey through time and place, to cultivate greater cross-cultural awareness and sensibility in the realms of dying, death, and life after death, and to reframe limited points of view through more expansive and inclusive perspectives. During the day we will meet other viewpoints, explore different ideas about death and the grieving process, connect with our own inner knowing and imaginal cosmovision, and generate new visions and innovative approaches in the work of companioning and end of life. 

We will focus on:

  • Transcending scripts, labels, myths
  • honoring origins
  • remembering our nature
  • evolving beyond ethnocentrism and insularity 

Teaching dynamics include lectures, practices, conversations, experiential exercises, breakout group work, and self-reflection exercises.

 

TRANSITION BY DESIGN: PLANNING AN INSPIRED & INTENTIONAL FUNERAL—AMY CUNNINGHAM 

Sunday, May 19, 2024 |  10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 – 5:30 pm ET

 

Planning for your own death, and getting acquainted with what is both traditional and newly possible in today’s end-of-life rituals, is a spiritual practice that enables you to face your own mortality with serenity and courage. Sadly, people who postpone funeral discussions are too frequently confronted with decisions involving thousands of dollars as they hold Kleenex in their hands. Any funeral service today faces challenges posed by the novel coronavirus, not least of which is paying for funeral service itself in hard times. So how can families today find greater solace, healing, and empowerment? 

 

Join funeral director Amy Cunningham in a day-long talk about changes within the American funeral service. We’ll cover how to plan an earth-friendly funeral with hands-on involvement, a more meaningful cremation, or a memorial service on Zoom. We’ll also discuss new ways to honor and remember our loved ones involving altars, music, flowers, dance, and meditation. A farewell to a loved one today might entail a sequence of healing experiences instead of just one event. We’ll review every conceivable option and discuss green cemeteries near New York City, cremation pros and cons, biodegradable casket decorating, blended-faith/alternative ceremonies, and more. 

 

THE DYING CHILD: END OF LIFE ISSUES IN PEDIATRICS

KAT KOWALSKI MDiv. BCC; EMILY JOHNSON MSN, CRNP; & CORA GALLAGHER CCLS, MA

Sunday, June 9, 2024 | 10:00 am – 12:30 pm & 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm ET

 

More than 40,000 children in the U.S. die every year from trauma, lethal conditions, heritable disorders, acquired illnesses, and prematurity.  Pediatric palliative care is a dynamic interdisciplinary approach to care that, in the face of complex and life-threatening diagnoses, strives to enrich a child’s quality of life through relief of pain and other symptoms while also addressing the child’s and family’s social, psychological, and spiritual needs.  In this session, members of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Palliative Care Team will share their experience and expertise working with pediatric patients and their families.  Students will gain a sense of life and death in an ICU and how the palliative care team works to ensure that even the briefest lives are infused with sacredness and dignity. Topics covered will include perinatal palliative care, the role of parents as decision-makers, the inclusion of children and teens in a death (their own/siblings’), memory-making, and more.

 

WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES

  • Educate students about pediatric and perinatal palliative care
  • Expand students’ understanding of how pediatric and perinatal palliative care are applied in various settings through real-world examples and case studies
  • Provide students practical information about meaningful memory-making activities, palliative birth plans, communicating with children and teens about death, parent and sibling support, bereavement and more 

 TRAINING MODALITIES

  • PowerPoint Presentation / Lecture
  • Videos & Discussion
  • Case Studies 
  • Interactive Exercises

 

 

STUDENT CAPSTONE WEEKEND

Saturday & Sunday, June 22-23, 2024 |10:00-5:00pm 

 

The presentation of capstone projects has evolved to be a sacred witnessing experience at the conclusion of our course. Each student presents an eight-minute project that represents a personal meaningful expression pertaining to some aspect of the end of life. Creativity is encouraged. Projects vary widely and reflect the uniqueness of each member of the class.