Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC

Losses are a major reason why chemically dependent clients use chemicals, and issues around loss are often a major cause of relapse. This interactive, skill-building workshop will prepare participants to help chemically dependent clients cope with the wide range of losses they experience, including: The loss that accompanies giving up alcohol and other drugs; death of a parent, child, or sibling; ambivalent deaths; unspeakable deaths; separation/divorce; parental abandonment; the end of an addictive relationship; loss of custody of their children; evictions; loss of dreams; loss of employment; deterioration in physical functioning; etc. Topics covered include: Grief counseling with a focus on addictions; Types of losses chemically dependent clients grieve; How to do a grief inventory; Unspeakable deaths; First degree grief secrets; Personal characteristics of effective grief counselors; Gender differences in grief work and implications for substance abuse counseling; Story telling as grief work; The stages of grief and the role of the counselor; The work of Kubler-Ross revisited; and The termination phase of therapy with chemically dependent clients as grief work.


  1. Describe the wide range of losses that chemically dependent clients experience.
  2. Discuss the basics of grief counseling with a special emphasis on the addictions.
  3. Compile fifteen strategies for helping chemically dependent clients cope with loss.
Target Audience: Clinical personnel, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, educators. Introductory to Intermediate level. CE credits offered = 1.5 contact hours