Bereavement scholar-author to lead UF workshop on grief Feb. 26

Dean Emihovich

Dorothy Becvar


January 16, 2009



Dean Emihovich

Dorothy Becvar

Dorothy S. Becvar, an internationally recognized scholar and author on death-related bereavement and grief, will lead an all-day workshop titled “In the Presence of Grief,” Feb. 26 at the University of Florida College of Education. Becvar’s presentation, to be held on campus at the Norman Hall Terrace Room from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is part of the college’s long-running Arthur G. Peterson Death Education Lecture Series. The workshop is geared to UF faculty members, students and staff, and to local clinical practitioners, but the general public also is invited. Continuing education units will be offered to licensed practitioners for a nominal fee of $25. Seating is limited to 50 participants and advance reservations are required.

Becvar is a professor of social work at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. She is editor of Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, has written or co-authored several books on family counseling, grieving and spirituality in healing, and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. She also is president and CEO of The Haelan Centers, a non-profit, holistic-healing center offering training, education and holistic therapeutic services. She is a licensed practitioner in both marital and family therapy and in clinical social work.

At the UF workshop, Becvar will discuss recent research revealing that bereavement never ends for those who have lost a loved one-refuting conventional treatment models that she says “may, in fact, do a disservice” to grieving clients.

“More than picking up the pieces and moving on (after the death of a loved one), individuals are challenged to create an entirely new picture, or story, about themselves, their world, and what it means to live,” she said. “This process involves acknowledging grief as a constant companion while also learning to open up once again, to reclaim joy, as well as sadness, as valid and acceptable parts of the experience.”

Becvar said workshop participants will come to understand the impact on the grieving process of various kinds of loss and will learn strategies for working with family members who are “living in the presence of grief.”

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided and a book sale and signing reception will follow the workshop at 4 p.m.

On the following day, Feb. 27, Becvar will hold informal conversations with College of Education graduate students and faculty (10-11:30 a.m.) in Room 158 Norman.

The UF death education series was originally funded in 1977 through a gift from the late Arthur G. Peterson, then a retired Harvard University professor. The initial lectures were coordinated by Hannelore Wass, then a faculty member in education psychology at the College of Education and a pioneer in the field of death studies. Peterson’s gift to UF was prompted by his friendship with Wass.

To RSVP (no later than 5 p.m. on Feb. 13), email Rosie Warner: For more information, contact Ana Puig in the College of Education at or 392-2315, ext. 235.

# # #

Larry Lansford,, 352-392-0726, ext. 266