Plenary Lectures

Traumatic Losses and Bereavements among the Syrian Refugees in Jordan


Alean Al-Krenawi, Ph.D

Professor, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

In the context of conflicts, refugees in general exposed to various types of multiple traumatic losses. In line with Wortman & Latack’s definition of traumatic losses, losing homes, death of friends and family members as well as limbs amputations are real examples of traumatic losses. They all occur without warning, untimely, they involve violence and there is damage to the loved one’s body. Meanwhile, they are all caused by the perpetrator intentionally to cause harm. Loosing homes is one of the biggest problems that face Syrian refugees who left their homes as a result of unbearable conditions. These conditions are embodied by violence, collapsed infrastructures and being in danger.  Loosing homes usually affects all family members starting. Children usually have their own atmosphere, dreams, memories and their own toys, which make them highly, attached psychologically to their homes. Moreover, most refugees experience family and friends’ deaths, which leave the refugees surrounded by prolonged grief since they keep memorizing their relations with them. Undoubtedly, with the ongoing war and conflicts, the number of limb amputations usually increases among refugees. These days we are conducting a research in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, where we exploring the psychological effect of the ongoing traumatic events on Syrian family members, these findings will be presented in the conference. 

A New Look at Disenfranchised Grief

Kenneth J. Doka, Ph.D
Professor, The Graduate School, The College of New Rochelle, New York; Senior Consultant, The Hospice Foundation of America, Washington DC, USA


This presentation explores disenfranchised grief as grief that is not openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned, or publicly mourned.  The presentation reviews the thrity year history of the concept--noting the development  of varied contexts of disenfranchised griefalternate perspectives on classification, critical commentaries, influences on other theoretical concepts such as chronic sorrow and ambiguous loss, as well as developing research. The presentation explores the five current contexts and causes of disenfranchised grief as well as complications arising from disenfranchisement.  The  presentation considers as well,  the cultural factors that can disenfranchise grief.  A strong emphasis of the presentation is on interventive strategies that can enfranchise grief.

Attachment Informed Grief Therapy

John R. Jordan, Ph.D

Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA

Dr. Jordan specializes in grief counseling, specifically for suicide loss survivors

Although it has been extensively studied in general psychotherapy research, the role of the therapeutic relationship in grief therapy has received comparatively little attention.  Attachment Informed Grief Therapy (Kosminsky & Jordan, 2016) provides us with a way of understanding the role of the clinician in helping with recovery after loss, particularly after traumatic death. After a brief review of attachment theory, this presentation will describe the elements of the therapeutic alliance that are crucial in all grief therapy, regardless of the theoretical orientation of the therapist. It will also briefly discuss the use of an understanding of attachment dynamics in customizing the therapy to the client’s dominant attachment style, and the necessary characteristics of the therapist that allow for the development of a secure therapeutic attachment in grief therapy.

Living “Betwixt and Between”: Building the Capacities of Field Workers Who Support Refugee Minors Through Loss and Transformation

Danai Papadatou, Ph.D

Professor of Clinical Psychology, School of Health Sciences, Dept. of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Approximately 58.000 refugee and migrants currently live in Greece, faced with an uncertain future, due to the closing of European borders. Among them, 3.400 unaccompanied minors, mostly adolescents, live “betwixt and between” their home of origin (past), the ideal home of their aspired destination (future), and the “making-of-a-home” in Greece (present), while facing an uncertain future. These home representations affect their identify formation in conditions characterized by a prolonged liminality.


In my presentation I will first describe some of the challenges that unaccompanied refugee adolescents experience as a result of living “betwixt and between” worlds, which affect how they form and break attachments, cope with loss and trauma, and experience transformations. Then, I will refer to the challenges that Greek field workers encounter in their striving to support unaccompanied adolescents through loss and liminality. Special consideration will be given to a project, funded by Unicef, that seeks to build the capacities of 500 field workers and shelter managers. It is implemented by “Merimna” (a non profit organization for the care of bereaved children, families, and communities) and has three components: (a) training on loss, grief, trauma, resilience, stress management, and work culture, (b) supervision and support, and (c) the development and implementation of “good practices” on identified issues of concern.


Specialists in loss and bereavement have much to offer in a field affected by the rhetoric on the “refugee trauma”, yet have much to learn about loss in protracted refugee situations, involving repeated displacements, a permanent temporariness, and the experience of liminal states.

120 Years of Working with the Bereaved:

Lessons Learned and Possible Futures for the Field Contemplated

Ruth Malkinson, Simon Shimshon Rubin, Eliezer Witztum

International Center for the Study of Loss, Bereavement and Human Resilience

University of Haifa


In the Hebrew idiom, it is customary to wish one's fellows a long, healthy and productive life "until 120." In our combined 120 plus years of professional focus on bereavement and the bereaved, we have had many teachers and a humbling array of transformative learning experiences. As we contemplate the continuing evolution of the field of loss, bereavement and human resilience, we understand that there are a dizzying array of choices and decisions facing the clinicians working with the bereaved. In this talk, we each address a selection of the most significant past, present and future aspects of our individual and joint journeys within the field. The material presented is chosen with particular attention to its current relevance for clinicians and the bereaved themselves. We conclude with our thoughts on possible directions for the evolution of our field in Israel and the world.



Rubin, S.S. Malkinson, R. and Witztum, E. (2016) The Many Faces of Loss and Bereavement: Theory and Therapy. Haifa, Israel: University of Haifa Press with Pardes Publishing. (Hebrew).

Rubin, S. S, Malkinson, R., Witztum, E. (2012) Working with the Bereaved: Multiple Lenses on Loss and Mourning (The Series in Death, Dying, and Bereavement). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.


Rubin, S.S., Malkinson, E., & Witztum, E. (2018). The Two-Track Model of Bereavement and Continuing Bonds. In D. Klass and E. Steffen (Eds). Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice, 2nd edition. New York: Routledge.


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