Exclusive grief training, Avignon may 2020

Exclusive grief training for psychotherapists 

Avignon, May 2020

with Phyllis Kosminsky (USA) & An Hooghe (B)

 Five days of intensive training in grief therapy

Date: Sunday May 10th – Friday May 15th 2020

In these five days of intensive training in grief therapy we create the opportunity to learn, share, and reflect on what we have come to understand about grief, loss, and the work of providing support to those affected by painful life changes.

Being together with other (grief) therapists we offer a combination of

theory and practice

exercises and reflection

 psychological and physical components of grief

learning and leisure in a beautiful setting and magnificent nature

with experienced trainers in grief therapy

Organization: Expertisecentrum Verbinding in Verlies (Center of Expertise: Connection in Loss), Boutersem, Belgium


We will welcome you all on Sunday late afternoon, giving us time to settle in and get to know each other as people and therapists.

On Monday and Tuesday Phyllis will present a narrative of her 25 years of work with the bereaved, with the explicit goal of illustrating how her understanding of grief, her therapeutic approach and her views regarding the role of a grief therapist have evolved throughout the course of her career.

“What I want to emphasize here is how I have come to understand the value and importance of treating each person who comes to me as an individual rather than a generic bereaved person. What doesn’t work: a “gold standard” treatment for everyone. What does work: applying what we’ve learned about effective interventions for bereavement on a case by case basis. 

An example of this is taking into account the client’s attachment orientation, and I will give examples of what this looks like with several client case studies. We will take a deep dive into understanding the different ways that people form attachments and how these differences are reflected in how people grieve. We will focus on three “pillars” that are important in work with the bereaved and illustrate these with case studies. I’ll talk about the specifics of attachment informed grief therapy, with a focus on restoring mentalization, developing affect regulatory capacity, and regaining a sense of self in the wake of loss. I’ll talk about how to help clients manage difficult emotions, how to work with clients who have suffered a traumatic loss, how to use a cognitive behavioral, structured intervention to address blocking beliefs and persistent intrusive thoughts, and how to adapt each of these approaches to individual clients. 

We will use client videos and case discussion to deepen our understanding of how theory translates into practice and how insights about attachment can strengthen our work with bereaved individuals. You will have insight into the value of attachment theory in guiding treatment formulation, and tools that will help you support your bereaved clients.

Ample opportunity here to have a case discussion with participants, to talk about examples from people’s own personal or professional lives. I certainly want this to be a relaxed, interactive session with plenty of room for people for questions and discussion”.

The following three days (Wednesday – Friday) An Hooghe (assisted by Uschi Vandenbroeck) will present a program filled with videos of her own case studies, working with bereaved parents, including couple and family therapy, combined with demonstrations and exercises of techniques in grief therapy. 

In addition, we will take time to reflect on our own position as therapists (with our own losses) and the need and value of self-care.

"Over the years I learned that ‘having lost a loved one’ is not a quest for therapy, but people seek our help in psychotherapy when they feel important connections might be threatened: the connection to themselves, to their loved one, to their partner and family, or surroundings… Threatened to feel lost in themselves and/or isolated from others”. 

Exploring these (threatened) connections gives direction to the psychotherapy approach, attuned to what the bereaved (couple or family) needs.

Being present as a therapist, following the process of our clients, specific techniques can be helpful to work with and restore these different connections”.    


During these days, the training will be supplemented with physical experiences guided by Katrien Hooghe

In the last ten years An & Katrien Hooghe have increasingly worked together to combine a psychotherapeutic approach with a holistic physical approach (body work, mindfulness and Chikung (a conscious and playful way of movements, creating life energy to flow). Together they have conducted several group programs in Avignon with bereaved parents. 

An illustration of the value of a holistic approach and group work will be presented and experienced.

All this will be combined with the richness of nature of this beautiful location, and time to relax and have fun.


We rented two beautiful houses for the participants. This is in Rochefort du Gard (near Avignon). Visit their website www.jaca.fr (Mimosa and Olivier). Each house has its own swimming pool and is located at the top of the mountain.


We have 9 rooms in these two houses and prices differ slightly per room.

All rooms have double beds. You can share a room or choose to have a separate room.  

Click here for detailed prices

Early bird prices until November 4th 2019. 

Reduced prices for members (click here for more information)

Prices include:

A diverse program with a combination of training, self-reflection, group interaction, leisure and fun in an exclusive setting and atmosphere

  • Pick up from/to the airport (Nimes) or train station (Avignon) 
  • Grief training with experienced grief therapists and trainers from diverse approaches and frameworks.
  • Excursions and walks to Ardeche and other magnificent places in this beautiful nature
  • Time for yourself to reflect and relax
  • Your stay in an exclusive house
  • 5day healthy meals (prepared with honest and local ingredients) and drinks (including alcoholic beverages)

Not included: Transportation to Nimes (f.ex. flights with Ryanair Charleroi – Nimes, around 40€ one way, or trains Brussels – Avignon, around 250€ round trip).


  • Phyllis Kosminsky (USA), clinical social worker, PhD. Specializes in life threatening illness and grief. Author of the book Attachment-Informed Grief Therapy. 

Over the past 24 years, Dr. Kosminsky has provided counseling to hundreds of bereaved individuals and has conducted trainings for mental health professionals nationally and internationally on the treatment of normal and problematic grief. Her publications include journal articles, book chapters, and two books: Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal (McGraw-Hill) and Attachment Informed Grief Therapy: The Clinician’s Guide to Foundations and Applications, co-authored by John R. Jordan (Routledge). Dr. Kosminsky currently serves as the President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She is a member of the International Work Group on Bereavement and Loss, and Adjunct Professor of Social Work at Fordham University in New York.

(From Sunday – Wednesday morning)

  • An Hooghe, Clinical Psychologist, Marital and Family Therapist, PhD. Certified in Grief Therapy as Meaning Reconstruction.

For many years An has combined clinical work with teaching and research at Context (University Hospital Leuven) and in her private center ‘Verbinding in Verlies’ (Connection in Loss). Her main domain of expertise relates to parents who have lost a child and complicated grief processes in couples and families. She has published several articles on couple communication in national and international journals, and has written a book with bereaved parents ‘Anders Nabij’ (Being near in a different way). She is a member of several organizations, including the International Workgroup on Death, Dying and Bereavement (IWG).

  • Uschi Vandenbroeck, Clinical Psychologist, Marital and Family Therapist, PhD.

Working as a family therapist in a maternity ward and fertility centre for many years has brought Uschi into close contact with visible and invisible losses. Inspired by her clinical work, she pursued her PhD in Biomedical Sciences on the topic of decision making processes in assisted reproduction. She specializes in reproductive psychology as well as perinatal loss and mental health during and after pregnancy and family building. As a trainer she is involved in the Special Interest Group of Psychology and Counselling of the European Society for Reproductive Medicine and in the postgraduate marital and family training at Context (Leuven University). In addition, she works in the private practice ‘Connection in Loss’ where she works with individuals, couples and families to find or create new meanings in loss.

  • Katrien Hooghe, Physical therapist, holistic trainer in meditation, Chikung and mindfulness.

Katrien has her own group practice (www.back-in-balance.be), which is a holistic centre for everyone who wants to pursue a healthy and conscious way of living. She specialized in different domains of Western medical science. Since many years her interests evolved to include an Eastern approach of medical science, with specializations in mindfulness, mediation, acupressure, Reiki and Chikung. Through physical movements she works on the emotional, spiritual and energetic body of the person. One of her main domains of interest and expertise is working with the grieving body. In a close cooperation with An, she guided many bereaved parents in intensive treatments and retreats abroad.        

For registration or more information: contact an.hooghe@verbindinginverlies.be

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