For the past 24 years Christopher Hall has held the position of Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, a government funded specialist bereavement service, which is based in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a psychologist who has developed a specialisation in the field of grief and bereavement over the past 25 years. Chris has trained many health and education professionals in grief theory and interventions and has keynoted at conferences throughout North America as well as Europe, Asia and Australia. He has a strong interest in complex bereavement experiences, the organisational impact of grief and loss and bridging research and practice.
Christopher was elected President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling in 2015. In 2007, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Work Group on Dying, Death and Bereavement and served as chair from 2010-2013. He currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the work group. The Association for Death Education and Counseling in 2018 awarded him the ADEC Service Award for his commitment to the field and advancing the study of dying, death and bereavement.
A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, Christopher is also an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne. He serves as the Editor of the journal Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement and is a former Associate Editor of Death Studies. Since 2010, Christopher has been a member of the Coronial Council of Victoria.
Dr Phyllis Kosminsky
Clinical Social Worker
Phyllis Kosminsky is a clinical social worker in private practice in Westchester, New York, and at the Centre for Hope in Darien, Connecticut, where her work focuses on grief, loss and trauma. She conducts trainings for mental health professionals nationally and internationally in the treatment of normal and complicated grief and is a regular presenter and national and international conferences.
Her publications include journal articles, book chapters, and the book Getting Back to Life When Grief Won’t Heal (McGraw Hill, 2007). Her book with John R. Jordan, Attachment Informed Grief Therapy: The Clinicians Guide to Foundations and Applications was published by Routledge in 2016.
Dr Kosminsky is an adjunct Professor of Social Work at Fordham University, a Past President of the Association for Death Education and Counselling, and a member of the International Work Group on Grief, Bereavement and Loss.
Access 'From practice to theory and back again: A personal perspective on grief and bereavement in a changing world' (2020) here.
"There is no essential difference between the two people engaged in a healing relationship. Indeed, both are wounded and both are healers. It is the woundedness of the healer which enables him or her to understand the patient … Healing is a mutual process. We cannot heal unless we acknowledge our woundedness and we cannot heal without our being healed ourselves. (Remen, May, Young, & Berland, 1985, p. 85)
As therapists, we study, write, teach, and help with the dying, bereavement and losses of other people. But what about our own losses? How have our life experiences with death, dying, and bereavement influenced our work? Have they led us into the field? Have they changed how we do the work? Have they changed how we view our mortality?
It was with these questions in mind that I invited author, social worker, colleague and friend, Dr Phyllis Kosminsky to join me on this episode of Book Club to discuss a paper written by Phyllis From practice to theory and back again: A personal perspective on grief and bereavement in a changing world. Our discussion explores the role of personal losses in shaping our work in the fields of death, dying and bereavement
Phyllis and I have always been intrigued by the strange alchemy of experiences, relationships and personality that invites us to this work. For some, this is a defining event in their personal narrative; for others, it is a complex web of experiences that can perhaps only be fully grasped in retrospect. In this episode we explore the role of self-disclosure and the reciprocal influence of our work on the ongoing reconstruction of our personal narrative. The casual inquiry made by an acquaintance when they discover that most of your professional life has centred on themes of loss, grief and bereavement often evokes a strange curiosity. What brings us to this work – and what keeps us in it?"
— Christopher Hall on his chosen text for Book Club.
Enjoyed this episode? To learn more...
Kosminsky, P. S. (2015). A reflection on the therapist’s experience of loss. Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement, 18(2), 34-36.
Remen, N., May, R., Young, D., & Berland, W. (1985). The wounded healer. Saybrook Review, 5(1), 84–93.