Alexandra Kennedy, MA, MFT
Alexandra Kennedy, MA, MFT
Alexandra Kennedy, MA, MFT
Psychotherapy Strategies for Grieving & Living Fully
Psychotherapy Strategies for Grieving & Living Fully
Psychotherapy Strategies for Grieving & Living Fully

WORKSHOPS

Spirituality Courses

Courses on Loss and Grief

Courses on Dreams

Travel Courses

Conferences and Trainings

Courses on Loss and Grief

Awakening to Life in Transition

A retreat with Ralph Steele and Alexandra Kennedy

October 27 - 29 2017

In the natural flow of life we will pass through many transitions—involving changes in our family, work, living situation, community, health and sense of identity. These transitions often bring us face to face with the harsh reality of loss and grief, of how vulnerable we really are, of living in an aging body-- and of our inescapable appointment with death. We can resist these transitions or we can learn to flow with them.

Working with them, we can learn how to open up a space for the universal to inspire and transform our daily lives.

For all of us going through transition in our lives, this retreat is an opportunity and an invitation to awaken to life more fully in this moment, to trust life flowing through us with all its challenges and gifts. Instead of reacting to these changes with anxiety and fear, we can discover at our source a deep sense of peace and well-being.

    In this workshop, we will:
  • bring our attention to our bodies so we inhabit them more fully and listen to their needs as we deal with the stress of change.
  • learn to soften the belly, let go of control, and trust the guidance of a deeper wisdom from within us.
  • embrace (without feeling overwhelmed) unattended grief that inhibits our capacity to feel fully alive and to keep our hearts open.
  • work with the breath and subtle energies of the body that connect us to vast reservoirs of energy.
  • investigate, explore and challenge our fears so we no longer contract from the discomfort, pain and anxiety that change can bring.
  • learn methods for staying present in times of transition in order to respond creatively as needed and to make healthy decision.

We will use Buddhist mindfulness and powerful breath practices along with guided meditations and psychotherapeutic approaches that help us awaken, heal and feel more fully alive.

If you are experiencing transitions, change or loss in your life and want resources to move through this more gracefully, this retreat is for you. There are no prerequisites in terms of meditation practice for attending this retreat—everyone is welcome.

The retreat is held on the beautiful grounds of the Land of the Medicine Buddha retreat center in the Soquel hills, where you will be free to walk miles of trails in the ancient redwoods, swim in the spring-filled pool, steam in the sauna, get a massage, and visit the various sacred sites.

  • $540 for double occupancy lodging all meals, and instruction
  • $100 extra for single occupancy
  • $434 for commuters, includes all meals
    $50 non-refundable deposit to hold your place; space is limited
  • $50 early bird discount if signed up before Nov 1st 2016
    Registration & Further Information: Life Transition Meditation Center 505-982-4183 ext 2 or info@lifetransition.com

Alexandra Kennedy, MA MFT and Ralph Steele, MA MFT are both psychotherapists (with more than 80 years experience in the field between them—an inspiring team!) with private practices in Santa Cruz and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Both meditated and trained with Stephen Levine and other seminal teachers in the 70s.

Alexandra has written three books on grief (Losing a Parent, The Infinite Thread and Honoring Grief), along with another book, How Did I Miss All This Before?, that explores her spiritual journey from a woman’s perspective.

Ralph founded the first Elizabeth Kübler-Ross Hospice training program at Northern New Mexico College and created Life Transition Therapy, a meditation based trauma center. His first book, Tending the Fire, explores his year as a Buddhist monk in Thailand and Myanmar.

Transforming Our Losses

Grief: Facing Loss with an Open Heart February 19-20 2-16

Offered at John F Kennedy University Graduate School

Each one of us will be called on at different times to face loss—but will we embrace it or shrink from it? It is our ungrieved losses that take a toll on our hearts and deaden us to life. How can we tap the power of grief to transform our lives, open our hearts and awaken us to a deeper participation in the world? How can we learn to actively grieve in the midst of our daily lives—without feeling overwhelmed? How can we support others who are grieving? Addressing these questions, this course will offer a unique perspective to grieving while weaving together inspiring case histories with practical advice, suggestions and effective strategies. We will explore stages and tasks of grieving, common somatic and emotional reactions, damaging effects of unresolved grief, fears and concerns, types of grief dreams. Lecture will be combined with experiential exercises and discussion. John F Kennedy University, Campbell CA (408) 236-1120

Transforming Our Losses

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

Honoring Grief Retreat
January 24, 2015 9:30-4:30 PM

"Embrace your grief for there your soul will grow." - C.G. Jung

Summer has given way to fall, a time of letting go and loss. We are losing the light as the days shorten; trees are losing their leaves, as the sap returns to roots in the dark earth; flowers and vegetables, just a few weeks ago so lush and bountiful, are dying back. This is a natural time every year to feel our losses.

Over a lifetime we will experience many losses—not just the loss of loved ones but the loss of a marriage, health, a job, our dreams, or a child when he or she goes off to college. As we age, we will be faced with the grief of unfulfilled dreams. Daily we experience disappointments, rejections, failures, mistakes, setbacks, mishaps— all the little losses that are a part of our every day living. Most of us shrink from loss, thinking that if we just keep busy we can close our hearts a little to protect ourselves from loss. We pay a price in terms of our vitality, happiness and health. If we are to regain a sense of connectedness with ourselves and with spirit, we need to find a proper place to release our grief.

We will gather in the safe sanctuary of a peaceful home in the Soquel foothills. Through meditation, journal writing, breathing exercises, poetry, walking in nature, dream work, periods of silence and sharing, laughter, and group ritual, we will dedicate a day to the soul work of grief. We will review our losses of the past year (not just the big losses but the small ones as well), honor them with with a ritual and then explore the new perspectives and choices that these losses have brought into our lives. As we embrace our grief with awareness, kindness, humor and with enough depth to heal, we will emerge lighter, brighter, and more at peace in our hearts. With hearts that are flexible, fluid and open to the world, we can embrace life more fully. When we walk lighter on this Earth, we contribute to the healing of this planet.

$85, $25 deposit to hold your place (workshop limited to 15)

Please bring a lunch, journal, pillow, blanket, and walking shoes

Grief Therapy 
Offered at John F Kennedy University Graduate School

"Until grief is restored in the West as the starting place where man and woman might find peace, the culture will continue to abuse and ignore the power of water, and in turn be fascinated with fire."
—Malidoma Some

Each one of us will be called on at different times to face loss—but will we embrace it or shrink from it? It is our ungrieved losses that take a toll on our hearts and deaden us to life. How can we tap the power of grief to transform our lives, open our hearts and awaken us to a deeper participation in the world? How can we learn to actively grieve in the midst of our daily lives—without feeling overwhelmed? How can we support others who are grieving? Addressing these questions, this course will offer a unique perspective to grieving while weaving together inspiring case histories with practical advice, suggestions and effective strategies. We will explore stages and tasks of grieving, common somatic and emotional reactions, damaging effects of unresolved grief, fears and concerns, types of grief dreams. Lecture will be combined with experiential exercises and discussion.

John F Kennedy University, Campbell CA
408 874-7760

The Infinite Thread: 
Healing Relationships Beyond Loss
Online course offered at innerlandscape.com

By taking this Online 15 CEU course (using The Infinite Thread as the text) the participant will learn

  • Effective strategies for grieving without feeling overwhelmed
  • Methods for resolving unfinished business with a loved one—even years after the death
  • The healing role of the imagination in grief
  • This course is approved for 15 CEUS by the National Board for Certified Counselors #5803.
  • An Online course meeting the qualifications for 15 continuing education credits for MFTs and LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Science Examiners #2387
  • Approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing Provider #13258 for 18 contact hours.
  • NAADAC Provider # 389
  • TX Board of Social Work Provider #CS3518
  • Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling Provider # BAP745

Order this course Online

Or call 1-888-575-7263
Checks or money orders to:
ILS
39705 SW Blooming Fern Hill Rd. 
Cornelius, Oregon 97113

Present at the Passing

First Congregational Church, Santa Cruz 
Thursday, September 1, 2011 6:30pm -- FREE EVENT

Jan Landry (retired Hospice nurse and co-owner of Awareness and Relaxation Training), Julie Boudreau ( Hospice Education & Outreach Coordinator), Alexandra Kennedy (therapist and author) and Tandy Beal present this workshop on being a supportive presence at the end of life.

Creative Grief: The Way of Healing Through Expression

“The tides of grief expose us to the agony of loss and to the inexplicable mystery of death and life. This exposure can deepen us and open us to a life that is bigger, brimming with possibilities 
on many levels, and fiercely alive.” 
—Alexandra Kennedy

Join us as we explore the landscape of loss through the creative tools of journaling, guided imagery, art, and group sharing. Participants are invited to bring photos and small mementos of a person or people they wish to remember, to be included in the creation of a small altar that they can take home with them.


Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, San Jose CA
For more information call 408 283-0221 ext 28 
or www.csecenter.org

Facing Loss: Opening to the Sacred

Over a lifetime we will experience many losses—not just the loss of loved ones but the loss of a marriage, health, a job, our dreams, or a child when he or she goes off to college. We cannot save ourselves from the sorrow that is part of life. Each one of us will be called on at different times to face loss—but will we embrace it or shrink from it? Most of us shrink from loss, thinking that if we just keep busy we can close our hearts a little to protect ourselves from loss. However, it is ungrieved loss that takes a toll on our hearts and deadens us to life. We pay a price in terms of our vitality, happiness and health.

Grief turns us inward and downward, few experiences have such power to empty, transform and expand us. Opening to grief connects us to our souls and to this precious moment. But we must challenge our concepts and perceptions that get in the way of grieving. We must learn to actively grieve, for grief is not a passive process, but how can we do this in the midst of our daily lives? How can we learn to trust the rhythm of loss? What are the tasks of grieving? What is the deepest grief of all? How can we use the imagination to heal unresolved issues with a person who has died? How has the wounding of grief created an opening for the sacred to enter into our lives? How can we gather our hearts back to ourselves while supporting others who are grieving? How can we tap the power of grief to transform our lives, open our hearts, and awaken us to a deeper participation in the world?

Addressing these questions, this workshop will offer a unique perspective to grieving while weaving together inspiring case histories with practical advice and suggestions. Lecture will be combined with experiential exercises and discussion.


Presented at University of California Santa Cruz Extension and Miriam’s Well (New York)

Losing a Parent 
Insights and Strategies for Grieving and Healing

The death of a parent shakes the foundation of our lives as it breaks down the structures we have known, churns up unresolved issues, challenges old values and brings us face to face with our own mortality and aloneness. Recent studies reveal that this event is much more stressful and difficult than had been assumed. But the loss of a parent can, if grieved fully (even years after the death), generate a re-evaluation of one's life and initiate a new stage of mid-life growth.

  As a result of this workshop, participants will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the psychological impact of this major life passage
  • Specify common emotional and somatic reactions to grieving the loss of a parent
  • Recognize the damaging effects of unresolved grief
  • Identify three stages of grieving the loss of a parent
  • Learn how to set up and use a sanctuary for grieving-- a key to grieving without feeling overwhelmed
  • Experience methods for resolving unfinished business with a parent and for saying good-bye (even years after the death)
  • Learn ways to work with the disruptive changes in the family system
  • Become acquainted through case histories and recent studies with changes in self concept, priorities, career goals, and relationships that are reported to occur after the death of a parent

Lecture will be combined with discussion and experiential exercises. This workshop is designed for those who anticipate or have experienced the death of a parent (whether recently or in the past) as well as mental health professionals and hospice workers seeking new perspectives and tools in working with their clients.


Presented at University of California Santa Cruz Extension, Art of Dying III Conference (New York), University of California Extension Berkeley, Care Services for Faculty and Staff of University of California Berkeley, Association for Transpersonal Psychology Annual Conference (Asilomar, CA), Association for Humanistic Psychology Annual Conference (Brandeis University), Conference on Aging, Spirituality & the Mystery of Death (San Francisco), San Jose State University (Religious Studies Department), University of San Francisco International Conference on Life Transitions Counseling, University of Santa Clara, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, Whole Life Expo (San Francisco, Los Angeles)

Healing Relationships Beyond Loss

When a loved one dies, many people are filled with regret for all that was said or expressed, but death need not cut us off from those we love. This class will demonstrate how a relationship with a loved one continues to unfold within, offering mostly untapped opportunities for healing, resolution and even guidance. Along with offering effective strategies for grieving, this course will present a method of communication that utilizes the imagination to resolved old hurts and resentments, express love and feel more at peace with deceased loved ones. Through lecture, discussion, experiential exercises and stories, participants will have the opportunity to explore the following topics:

  • Seven tasks of grieving
  • Effective strategies for grieving without feeling overwhelmed
  • Experiential exercises for exploring the ongoing relationship with a deceased loved one
  • Types of after-death dreams and the role of dream work in grief
  • The use of internal communication techniques with those who are experiencing a breakdown in communication with a living family member or friend
  • Methods to identify and heal grief handed down through generations
  • How to heal accumulated daily losses
  • Suggestions for supporting grieving partners/spouses and friends and for helping our children grieve

Presented at University of California Santa Cruz Extension, Art of Dying III Conference (New York), Hospice of the Central Coast, the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (San Jose), The Paulist Center (San Francisco).

Empty Nest, Full Heart

The transition to college is a time of excitement, confusion, and anxiety for our kids. It is also the end of a chapter of parenting; the tension can severely strain the parent-child relationship. Many parents experience deep grief as they prepare to let go of their sons/daughters.

When an adolescent leaves for college, we let go of the child we gave birth to, protected and nurtured for eighteen years. We will see our son/daughter again but we know deep down that the relationship has changed forever. This is a major life passage, one that is not acknowledged in this culture as it should be. Most parents are not prepared to consciously let go of their children. However, we can learn how to nurture a healthy new relationship if we support our kids in their separation, tend to our own grieving and keep channels of communication open.

Through lecture, discussion and experiential exercises, this workshop will explore:

  • How to cope with the tensions and anxieties that build up as an adolescent prepares to leave for college
  • The developmental issues that our kids are facing
  • The changes in the family system and the differences in how family members deal with these changes
  • Ways to tend to your own grieving
  • A review of your parenting thus far and how to address unresolved issues, concerns and regrets
  • How to nurture a healthy new relationship with our kids that supports their separation
  • Common problems that surface in a marriage/partnership and the need to redefine and renew your relationship
  • Opening to the possibilities in the empty space-- exploring who you are in the world after your son/daughter leaves home
  • How to support our kids in their separation when they are not leaving for college
  • Parenting tips for the first year of college

Presented at University of California Santa Cruz Extension.

Seven Tasks of Grieving

The loss of someone close to us shakes the very foundation of our lives. We look for ways to rebuild that foundation but our society has little to offer. The usual advice "Just get on with your life, time will heal" often results in deeper confusion, pain and turmoil. If we want to heal, it is important to actively work to integrate and resolve grief, not just passively experience our reactions to it. The seven tasks of grieving explored in this workshop create a focus for an active participation in the grieving process and provide a clear path through the often bewildering experience of loss.

Through lecture and discussion, participants will explore each of these tasks, along with effective strategies for grieving without feeling overwhelmed. Participants will have the opportunity to work with experiential exercises to heal unresolved issues and regrets, while nurturing the ongoing inner relationship with a deceased loved one. There will be practical suggestions for supporting grieving partners and friends and for helping children grieve.

  As a result of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Describe each of the seven tasks of grieving, along with suggestions and exercises for working with each task
  • Understand the grieving process: stages, common somatic and emotional reactions, damaging effects of unresolved grief, fears and concerns, anticipatory and chronic grief
  • Identify strategies for grieving effectively without feeling overwhelmed
  • Apply methods of healing unresolved issues in grief
  • Implement self care for caregivers in order to avoid burn out

Presented at Prime Time Expo (Santa Clara Department of Aging and Adult Services) and Santa Clara County Social Services Agency.

Strategies for Grieving

Ungrieved loss takes a toll on our hearts and we pay a price in terms of our vitality, happiness, and health. How can we tap the power of grief to transform our lives, open our hearts and awaken us to a deeper participation in the world? How can we learn to actively grieve in the midst of our daily lives? How can we support others who are grieving?

This course explores the stages of grieving, common somatic and emotional reactions, damaging effects of unresolved grief, fears and concerns, anticipatory and chronic grief.

We will explore strategies for grieving effectively and methods for healing unresolved grief issues. Lecture will be combined with experiential exercises, inspiring case histories, discussion, and practical suggestions.


Presented at John F Kennedy University (Campbell CA).

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Alexandra Kennedy

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Santa Cruz, California
(831) 464-2083
alexandra@alexandrakennedy.com

Alexandra Kennedy

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Santa Cruz, California
(831) 464-2083
alexandra@alexandrakennedy.com