"Addressing Patient Grief/Loss and Building Clinician Resilience: Counseling Skills and Other Strategies for Clinicians and Clinical Supervisors"

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Presenter: Rebecca Hunting Pompon, PhD

Rebecca Hunting Pompon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor with the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at the University of Delaware, received her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Washington. She has a clinical background in adult mental health and counseling, and clinical research training in aphasia and its rehabilitation. Her current research focuses on psychosocial factors following stroke and acquired aphasia – such as chronic stress, depression, and resilience – and their influence on aphasia treatment outcomes. Recently, Dr. Hunting Pompon modified and validated a measure of perceived chronic stress for people with communication impairments. She trains clinicians in counseling skills and interpersonal communication strategies across the allied health disciplines. For more information, please visit Dr. Hunting Pompon’s lab website – UD Aphasia & Rehabilitation Outcomes Lab at UDaroLab.com.

Course Description

People with acquired communication impairments and their families experience loss on multiple levels. A diminished ability to communicate with friends, family, and acquaintances is only the tip of the iceberg. Communication challenges can lead to drastic changes in future plans as well as the ability to participate in many activities of daily life. Some of these losses are experienced immediately, and other losses become apparent with time. Most of these losses evoke various forms of grief, which may become evident as we assess and treat our patients.

When working with patients and families grieving multiple losses, clinicians may feel unsure about how best to help. Many of us can feel uncomfortable in the face of active grief, and we may look for ways to help the patient, family member, and ourselves feel better in the moment. These feel-better-quick responses tend to focus on finding the positive in difficult situations, and this response can work against us as we try to build an honest, trusting partnership with the patient/family. So, how do we support patients and families who are experiencing multiple losses while building clinical rapport and trust? The goal of Part 1 of this workshop is to provide attendees with a useful perspective on the values and risks of various grief responses, as well as a practical, 5-point counseling skills strategy for responding to loss and grief. 

In addition to the emotionally draining work of supporting patients and families experiencing loss and grief, clinicians face other challenges. These challenges can include large caseloads, time-crunched schedules, and a range of professional and systemic stressors. SLPs and other healthcare professionals are often empathetic and committed helpers who may eventually experience “compassion fatigue” and burnout. With time, compassion fatigue and burnout can lead to problematic cognitive, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and health consequences – detrimental to the clinician and his/her work with patients. 

Fortunately, compassion fatigue and burnout can be prevented. The goal of Part 2 of this workshop is to provide attendees with recent evidence on the need for personal/professional resilience in the healthcare professions, and discuss a 3-part approach for building resilience (based on the work of Park et al, 2013): stress management, stress appraisal/coping, and growth enhancement. Tailoring and applying this approach will help clinicians prevent burnout and build healthier, less stressful clinical careers.

This interactive workshop will engage attendees through a number of self-reflection, discussion, and application activities.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the values and risks of various grief reactions, and use this knowledge to better support patients/families experiencing grief.
  2. Initiate a practical counseling skills strategy for responding to loss and grief.
  3. Summarize the symptoms and risks of compassion fatigue and burnout.
  4. Adapt and apply an approach for building personal/professional resilience.


This is an online workshop via Zoom. A link to the Zoom workshop will be sent to registrants two days prior to the workshop. The workshop is offered for .4 ASHA CEUs. Partial CEUs are not offered for this workshop. This event will not be recorded.


Time Description
9:30 - 9:40 Welcome and Course Overview
9:40 - 11:30

PART 1: Addressing Loss and Grief (includes breaks)

11:30 - 12:30

Lunch break

12:30 - 2:20

PART 2: Clinician Burn-out and Resilience (includes breaks)

2:20 - 2:30 Course Summary






Registration is closed
Free for UW-Affiliated SLP and AuD Clinical Educators
$50 for SLP and AuD Professionals in the community not affiliated with UW SPHSC

ASHA CEUs and OSPI CECHs available