➣ Educational Presentations

Ads and Objectives:

Deborah can provide multiple presentations on various topics. CEs are available upon request through HFA. The titles of the presentations are:

  • Soul Injury: Liberating Unmourned Loss and Unforgiven Guilt (Live or DVD format)
  • Veteran Care: Untold Stories, Untold Needs
  • PTSD and Trauma Integration
  • Aging, Chronic Illness, Dying Healed: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill
  • Forgiveness: Re-Vitalizing the Wounded Soul
  • The Hero Within: Restoring Wholeness
  • Loss, Grief, Caregiving
  • Moving from Good to Great: Implementing Programs that Respond to Soul Injury

Soul Injury: Liberating Unmourned Loss and Unforgiven Guilt

The mental and emotional injuries that accompany trauma are readily identified. Less recognized are the insidious wounds that occur with trauma and, indeed, with all of us whenever we deny the truth of our own experience. Whether traumatic or insidious, these “soul injuries” cut us off from the energy of our deepest self, robbing us of the essence of our being. Connecting with the part of self generating the pain, paradoxically, restores wholeness. Thus, soul restoration includes learning how to re-own, re-home, and revitalize scattered pieces of self by cultivating personal intimacy with the part of self carrying our emotional pain. The basis for addressing “soul injury” originated with a group of VA hospice nurses who cared for 10,000 dying Veterans. The nurses witnessed “soul injuries” firsthand as they surfaced unbidden on combat Veterans’ deathbeds. Let “warrior wisdom” show you how the heart can be disarmed through love, forgiveness, and self-compassion, starting a process that “restoreths the soul.”

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: Soul Injury: Liberating Unmourned Loss and Unforgiven Guilt

• Identify and define an overlooked, unassessed wound: Soul Injury.
• Describe the importance of acknowledging and addressing soul injury, especially in at-risk populations
• Compare and contrast traumatic soul injury, insidious soul injury, PTSD, and moral injury
• Identify the impact that soul injuries have on family, personal caregivers, and professional caregivers
• Describe how stoicism, fear of emotional pain, unmourned loss, and unforgiven guilt/shame contribute to the creation and perpetuation of soul injuries
• Learn how to support others in the cultivation of honesty, courage, and humility to disarm the fearful heart through love, forgiveness, and self-compassion so that personal intimacy can be achieved
• Discuss re-owning, re-homing, and re-vitalization processes that facilitate Soul Restoration
Program Info – Soul Injury Live Format
Program Info – Soul Injury DVD format
Board Approvals – Soul Injury DVD Format
Board Approvals – Soul Injury Live


Veteran Care: Untold Stories, Untold Needs

Many military experiences impact peaceful dying for veterans – even though their death might not occur until decades later. The stoic military culture, combat training, and war itself can change a veteran in fundamental ways; their families may also be affected. Emotional, spiritual, social, and soul injuries that veterans have sustained impact them throughout their lifetime, especially as they face death. Deborah Grassman has personally taken care of more than 10,000 dying veterans. This changed her. In this presentation, she shares with you what they taught her. You will be changed too. You will learn about the unique needs of veterans as they age and face the end of their lives, the impact of the military experience on families, and tools for effective ways to respond to veterans’ needs. Join Deborah, author of Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, for an enlightening presentation that facilitates understanding the “soul injury” that veterans and their families sometimes sustain.

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: Veteran Care: Untold Stories, Untold Needs

• Describe the emotional, social, spiritual, moral injuries sustained by combat veterans and their families and how these impact their quality of life
• Verbalize influences that a military culture exerts on veterans and their families
• Outline 3 combat/dangerous-duty aftermath-of-war trajectories requiring differing treatment plans
• Identify appropriate assessment and intervention for combat and non-combat veterans
• Identify the unique features that Vietnam veterans experience at end-of-life
• Describe the key elements of a “Fallen Comrades Ceremony” that releases the unmourned loss and unforgiven guilt that Veterans experience

Program info Veterans
Board Approvals – Veteran Care


PTSD and Trauma Integration

Research now shows that PTSD is in the head – the traumatized brain is remarkably different than it was prior to the trauma. Attention, perception, and memory are radically altered in the fear-based brain. Recovery measures that focus on re-setting the emotional brain to respond appropriately to danger and to recover its capacity to experience safety and relaxation have been found to be the most effective. Resetting the brain includes developing self-compassion, awakening parts of the body where memories are stored, transforming the brain by installing new “software,” and cultivating honesty, courage, and humility to do the work of recovery. Join Deborah Grassman, author of Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families and The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, for a presentation that will provide you with a newer, keener insight into the aftermath of trauma.

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: PTSD and Trauma Integration

• Verbalize the relevance to PTSD of the brain circuitry – especially the amygdala, as well as the “Me” brain
• Contrast pre-trauma brain behaviors with post-trauma brain behaviors
• Distinguish “ re-living” vs. “re-visiting” memories and their relationship to being re-traumatized by memories vs. integrating memories
• Verbalize the role that helplessness plays in the formation and activation of PTSD
• Cite evidence for what helps and what does not help PTSD
• Identify at least 6 interventions that help re-vitalize resilient areas of the brain

Program info PTSD

Board Approvals – PTSD, Brain Integration


Aging, Chronic Illness, Dying Healed: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill

American culture overvalues youthfulness and undervalues or completely dismisses the value of aging. Acute illness is viewed compassionately and treated aggressively; chronic illness receives less attention, support, and sympathy. As members of our death-denying, youth-inspired society, we unconsciously adopt these values for ourselves. Without even realizing it, we cut ourselves off from our inner elder who holds the wisdom that we secretly long for. It is never too late or too early to make the acquaintance of the Wise Elder archetype that awaits redemption. Nor is it too late to help patients develop an “exit strategy” by providing them with a prognosis. Provocative videos and thought-stimulating questions that help clinicians craft therapeutic dialogue that openly addresses healthcare dilemmas with patients and their families.Let Deborah Grassman, author of The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill and Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, take you into your depths to discover ways you can access the interior Sage awaiting your acquaintance.

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: Aging, Chronic Illness, Dying Healed: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill

• Identify cultural barriers that interfere with healthful aging
• Verbalize the Developmental Tasks of Aging according to Erikson
• Recognize “Ageism” and its implications for providing healthcare
• Identify personal and professional practices that open the mind to the wisdom of aging
• Become acquainted with the ageless, interior “Wise Elder” who can cultivate the courage to change and grow
• Discuss simple ways to open the door for meaningful dialogue about prognosis
• Identify an essential End-of-Life Strategy for helping others prepare for death
• Identify personal barriers toward aging and dying
prgram info aging, chronic illness, dying
Board Approvals – Aging, chronic Illness, Dying


Forgiveness: Re-Vitalizing the Wounded Soul

Would you like a coupon that you can cash in to redeem your suffering? Would you be surprised that the coupon would not erase your suffering, but rather draw you into it so you could discover its meaning? In a desirable state of healthcare affairs, these questions would not seem odd. The general public and healthcare clinicians would stop trying to soothe guilt away with rationalizations: “That was a long time ago” or “You were just obeying orders” or “You were doing the best you could at the time.” They would start asking themselves some difficult questions and wrestle with the answer. These questions might include:
• If peace on earth begins with me, then how do I make peace with everyone and everything causing me unrest?
• Have I ever considered that my anger could be a gift, guiding me into the forgiveness process?
• How can I become proficient in the forgiveness process?
This presentation collaborates with non-religious based authors and philosophers such as Frankl, Nouwen, and Peck to develop a map for successful suffering. This map opens new vistas for healthcare providers as they interact with their patients. Utilizing her experience of hospice in India, Deborah will also highlight the power of “and” along with the tyranny of “or,” facilitating integration of experience without compartmentalization so you can “Be here now!”

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: Forgiveness: Re-Vitalizing the Wounded Soul

• Define forgiveness, its value, and the effects of non-forgiveness
• Contrast guilt from shame
• Articulate common mistakes to be avoided in the forgiveness process
• Identify processes that facilitate forgiveness
• Identify tools that facilitate forgiveness
• Identify essential elements in Viktor Frankl’s conceptual framework r/t successful suffering, as well as elemental concepts from Henri Nouwen and Scott Peck
• Discuss the power of “and” along with the tyranny of “or”

Program info forgiveness

Board Approvals – Forgiveness


The Hero Within: Restoring Wholeness

Do you find yourself in the same situations over and over without effective tools to change? Are you curious about how you can move from sole to soul? Would you like to recover the energy of pieces of self you may have knowingly or unknowingly scattered from: self-disregard, heartache, neglect, abuse, chronic illness, trauma, death, or war so you can inhabit yourself more completely? Join Deborah Grassman, author of the books The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We were Born to Fulfill and Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families as she describes how to cultivate pervasive personal peace by re-owning and re-homing scattered pieces of self so that wholeness can be restored. Using mythological stories, Deborah invites us to penetrate defensive, intimidating inner terrain that often prevents us from encountering our loving, grace-filled, compassionate self that hides its vulnerability in our depths. We can achieve what poet Derek Walcott so eloquently describes: “The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the others’ welcome.”

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: The Hero Within: Restoring Wholeness

• Identify at least 3 processes that help recover the energy of pieces of self that may have knowingly or unknowingly been lost through: self-disregard, heartache, neglect, abuse, trauma, or death
• Identify processes that facilitates a change in relationship to loss, disappointment, and failure
• Verbalize use of integrative letter-writing as a tool for re-owning and re-homing pieces of self
• Verbalize use of integrative letter-writing as a tool for restoring wholeness
• Participate in a dramatization of a mythological story that depicts the healing process
Program info Hero Within
Board Approvals – The Hero Within


Loss, Grief, Caregiving

“Those Who Grieve Well, Heal Well.” This famous saying seems oxymoronic. In a grief-fearing American culture, loss is perceived as failure and grieving is viewed as destructive. Just the opposite is true: grief is creative. Grieving helps us let go of what was so we can open up to what is. Grief is the natural, normal expression of loss; UNMOURNED loss is the destructive culprit. When we box up our emotional pain, our vitality, personhood, and passion get boxed up as well. Learning how to develop a different relationship with the part of self carrying our emotional pain is the secret for living a passion-filled life. Caregivers are faced with losses, yet they often fail to grieve. Ongoing, unrelenting, caregiving can wear a person down. It slowly and gradually exerts PTSD-like effects on the brain and nervous system and can produce “compassion fatigue.” Whether providing care to a family member or working as a healthcare provider such as a nurse, social worker, or clergy caregivers face loss, change, and transition on a daily basis. Because the losses are chronic, they may not even be recognized, subtly robbing the care provider of their own sense of self. By disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain, we unwittingly contribute to the loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue that disconnection causes. Connecting with the part of self generating the pain, paradoxically, restores wholeness. Join Deborah Grassman, author of Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families and The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, for a perspective that is sure to expand your knowledge and skill in revitalizing personal and professional caregiver’s heart that is wary of any further changes in their ever-demanding life.

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: Loss, Grief, Caregiving

• Contrast “normal” grief, “complicated” grief, and chronic sorrow.
• Verbalize at least 3 ways to provide support for caregivers, patients, and families experiencing loss, change, and transition
• Identify the mental, emotional, and physiological effects of UNmourned loss, disappointment, and failure
• Contrast “burn-out”, “compassion fatigue,” and “secondary traumatic stress disorder”
• Distinguish between martyrdom, heroism, codependency, and being the “perfect” caregiver
• Identify at least 3 self-care practices that liberate unmourned loss and access resiliency

Program info Loss, Grief, Caregiving

Board Approvals – Loss, Grief, Caregiving


Moving from Good to Great: Implementing Programs that Respond to Soul Injury

Have you ever wondered what elevates clinical practice from good to truly great? You might be surprised to discover that there is not a radical difference. Yet, subtle changes in knowledge, skills, intuitions, risks, and self-awareness can create places of profound emotional safety for patients and their families. These techniques foster the development of trust so that superficial facades can be penetrated more quickly and safely. The value of creating “safe sanctuaries” also lies in the power of summoning the courage to tell our own stories. Stories, shared in a small community of trustworthy people, remind us that we belong to one another and that we can help each other. Stories connect us to each other and ourselves. Sharing our story opens our hearts and teaches us how to encounter our pain. Telling our story renders meaning out of chaos so that our suffering is not wasted. Stories preserve memories and help us define who we are. They help us sort out what is significant from what is not. Understanding our story grows us into our larger selves so we can become more conscious. They expand our imagination and stimulate creativity so that new vistas are opened. Stories shared among trusted friends restore hope as possibilities for new passageways are created. Stories help us redeem the destiny we were born to fulfill. Stories show us how to cultivate honesty, courage, and humility so that we can access the hero within. The Native-American “talking stick” tradition promotes safe sanctuary so stories can be told. This format to elicit deeper and more meaningful stories emanates from the hero within. The format also levels the playing field, equalizing the power for all participants regardless of position; no voice dominates, and no voice is excluded.
Join Deborah Grassman, author of Peace at Last and The Hero Within , for an interactive format that challenges clinical practice, fostering mindful application of old skills in a new way.

OBJECTIVES for PROVIDER-DIRECTED ACTIVITY

TITLE: Moving from Good to Great: Implementing Programs that Respond to Soul Injury

• Verbalize understanding of the elements needed to provide an effective “Fallen Comrades Ceremony” for Veterans and First Responders
• Verbalize understanding of the elements needed to provide an effective “Caregiver Soul Restoration Ceremony” for personal and professional healthcare providers
• Discuss practical considerations in providing a Soul Injury program or event, including limitations, cautions, and rationales
• Cite at least 3 ways to increase effectiveness of presentations and public speaking
• Describe steps in developing effective story-telling skills and safe-sanctuary communities that foster the liberation of unmourned loss and unforgiven guilt

Program info Soul Injury Leadership
Board Approvals – Soul Injury Leadership

 

Retreats and Workshops

In Your City or Ours (Tampa)

4-8 Hour Ceremonial Workshop: Soul Restoration

Caregiving, whether personal or professional, takes a toll! Caregivers encounter emotional pain on a regular basis. Understandably, we often disconnect from the pain. By disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain, we unwittingly contribute to the loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue that can ensue. This presentation provides a restorative experience of self by re-owning and re-homing parts of self that may still be carrying unmourned grief. The program is 3-dimensional providing education for the mind, safety for the heart, and courage to develop a new relationship with weariness in the soul. This ceremonial workshop will be a gift you give to your staff and to the families of your patients. The length (4-8 hours) can be flexibly designed to meet your needs.

4-8 Hour Ceremonial Workshop: Soul Injury

The physical, mental, and emotional injuries of war are readily identified. An equally prevalent but seldom talked-about wound is “soul injury. This injury can subtly and not-so-subtly rob Veterans of their vitality. The source of soul injury is unmourned grief from fallen comrades and other losses, as wells as unforgiven guilt and shame over things veterans think they should or should not have done. Unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt can sabotage lives. Military programs have provided few forums that respond to soul injuries, leaving veterans carrying these burdens alone. Family members of combat veterans are also affected; their wounds, too, often go unnoticed and untended. Complicating matters further are civilians, who may not recognize their role in supporting the reintegration of veterans back into themselves. This 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop is designed for Veterans and their families, as well as those with non-military trauma such as first responders, victims of childhood abuse, crime, accidents, or natural disasters, etc.

1-Day Workshop: Forgiveness & Healing

Would you like to recover the energy of pieces of self that may have knowingly or unknowingly become scattered from: self-disregard, heartache, neglect, abuse, trauma, death or chronic illness so you can inhabit yourself more completely? Deborah Grassman joins forces with Dr. Abi Katz to help you discover the liberating effects of forgiveness.

1-Day Retreat: Aging and Chronic Illness: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill

If you don’t want to be the age that you are, then you haven’t gotten the lessons you’re here to get! Come meet your interior sage. Presentations and exercises provide a powerful experiential day.

3-Day Retreat: The Hero Within

The “Opus Peace” founders will take you on an inner pilgrimage that re-owns and re-homes scattered pieces of self so wholeness is restored. In a surprisingly simple way, you will discover vitality you may have forgotten you had. This can be a life-changing weekend that awakens you to your self!

Book Circles: Consider Starting One

What do churches, civic groups, book clubs, community associations, healthcare agencies, and prisons have in common? They participate in a book circle utilizing Deborah Grassman’s book, The Hero Within, Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born To Fulfill. The book provides clear, practical, and meaningful perspectives that are shared simply and powerfully, while providing therapeutic tools for personal growth and healing:

-“I keep this book at my bedside now and reference it frequently.”

-“I wish I would have known about this book years ago. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.”

-“Sharing the concepts within a community was simply awesome.”

What do veterans, veteran organizations, and civilians who care about veterans have in common? They participate in book circles utilizing Peace at Last: Stories of Hope & Healing for Veterans and Their Families:

-“I met myself on the pages of this book!”

-“I learned lessons from comrades that have gone before me in death. They taught me things about myself that no one else could have. I learned how to live!”

We’ll Help You Start One!

Sharing stories in a small community of trustworthy people, remind us that we belong to one another and that we can help each other. Stories connect us to each other and ourselves. Don’t miss this opportunity for new vistas that will awaken your interior hero. Contact us and we will help you start an 8-week Book Circle. Deborah will even join you via phone for one of them!

Education. Compelling workshops presented in unusual and engaging ways on intriguing topics: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Aging, Personal Healing, Veteran issues, Self-Care, Chronic Illness, End-of-Life care, Spiritual Growth, PTSD, Forgiveness, Good Grief.

Low-cost Retreats. 1, 2, or 3-day retreats in your city or ours (Tampa). Topics include: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Personal Growth and Healing, Forgiveness, Aging.

Soul Restoration Ceremonial Workshops. Caregiving, whether personal or professional, takes a toll! Understandably, we often disconnect from the pain. Disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain contributes to loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue. This 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop will provide a restorative experience for your staff or your patients’ families.

Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops. We will help your community organize, plan, and implement a ceremony for combat veterans which helps them lay down any burdens of unmourned grief or unforgiven guilt they may still be carrying. The gaping hole in our society from the aftermath of war can be healed!

Book Circles for Personal Growth.Utilizing the book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, we will help you grow small communities of people who want to cultivate pervasive personal peace.

Book Circles for Veterans. Utilizing the book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, you can become an agent of healing for our nation’s heroes by hosting a book circle for veterans and their families.

Free web-based Materials, Tools, Resources, and Blogs.

We offer these services with our Opus Peace prayer: Cultivate in me, oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, humility, and courage to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen