Pregnancy Loss Group Facilitator Training
Join Melissa Ming Foynes, PhD, and Amy Wright Glenn, founder of the Institute for a 21-hour training structured to support, strengthen, and nourish current and future Pregnancy Loss Group Facilitators. Please note there is an important experiential component to this training which includes leading a facilitated discussion about pregnancy loss prior to the final module.
This is a self-paced, pre-recorded 21-hour online training open to the following:
*Those currently leading pregnancy loss support groups
*Graduates from the Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss training
*Mental health professionals familiar with supporting individuals through perinatal loss
*Graduates of the SBD (Still Birth Day) doula training program
* Graduates of Doula Training Canada’s IPLS Program
**If you do not meet any of the above prerequisites but believe you have equivalent experience and/or training that will serve as a foundation for our study, please reach out to Amy to describe your experience. Determinations about alternative ways to fulfill these prerequisites will be made on a case-by-case basis.
No interest payment plans and scholarships are also available. Contact Amy for more information.
We welcome you.
We welcome you as you hold space for bereaved parents. We bow to your courage and your commitment to this important and difficult work. Whether you are a seasoned bereavement group facilitator or you have yet to lead your first group, we welcome you to this training.
Participants will journey through five 2-hour modules powerfully and thoughtfully designed to support you in your journey to hold space for pregnancy loss bereavement groups ~ whether online or in-person.
This self-guided, pre-recorded, 21-hour training is co-taught by Melissa Ming Foynes, Ph.D. and Amy Wright Glenn, founder of the Institute.
Module One ~ Facilitation Skills Part 1: Holding Space & Rituals in Group Settings ~ What does it mean to hold space in a group setting? What is your intention when inviting bereaved parents to gather? How do you communicate the essential tenets of non-judgmental listening, companioning, and presence both virtually and in-person? These qualities are fundamental to the creation of a safe container within which very difficult emotions, stories, and meaning-making can be explored. Amy and Melissa will offer supportive best practices, hands-on practical tools, and wisdom drawn from their experience of working with groups to support you in learning how to more deeply hold space for grief in a group setting. A special emphasis will be placed upon the healing power of encouraging personal rituals and sensitively integrating group rituals into a multi-faith and multi-cultural group setting.
Module Two ~ Facilitation Skills Part 2: Group Themes & Structures, Confidentiality & Ethics ~ What does it mean to truly hold stories in confidence? How can group members participate in the creation of mutual agreements that hold stories, emotions expressed, and meaning-making as sacred? How can group themes and structures create containers of safety and compassion that are foundational to support? Melissa & Amy will explore best practices for crafting group guidelines and thoughtfully structuring the beginning, middle, and end of support group meetings ~ whether these are conducted on-line or in person. Through deepening their understanding of legal and ethical considerations, facilitators will feel more confident in setting the tone for a group wherein what is shared is held in supportive confidentiality. Furthermore, Melissa and Amy will explore the ethical obligations that facilitators have in terms of operating within their scope of practice and maintaining supportive, therapeutic interpersonal boundaries with those who gather.
Module Three ~ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility Awareness ~ Why do people of color have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, obstetric violence, and traumatic birth experiences? What is the impact of systemic injustices on bereaved parents’ experiences of grief and loss? How can facilitators learn to hold safe space in a culture that has not been safe for marginalized people? What frameworks can help facilitators skillfully respond when harm is experienced within a group setting? Melissa and Amy will share self-awareness practices that can help facilitators more mindfully navigate their own biases and create as safe and inclusive of a space as possible in their groups. Specific facilitation skills for responding to harm and intervening with difficult group dynamics will also be reviewed.
Module Four ~ Facilitator Self-Care ~ Central to the work of providing supportive space for others is the work of nourishing authentic self-care. Those drawn to the task of holding space for grief tend to be highly empathic and sensitive individuals who frequently give freely of their time, energy, and talent. But where does one cross the line between compassion and compassion fatigue? How do we attend to our own loss histories and process intense emotions that may arise in the context of this work? What self-care rituals can support facilitator longevity and prevent burnout? Engaging in a self-care assessment and developing a process for discerning changes in self-care needs over time will be an important component of this module. Facilitators will be guided to prioritize their own well-being as a primary and ethical act in order to nourish longevity, effectiveness, and sustainability. We must not overlook ourselves in the honorable task of holding space for others.
Module Five ~ Group Facilitation Debrief & Closing Ritual~ Participants will meet after a two-week hiatus to debrief course content as well as report back to the group regarding their experience of leading a facilitated discussion on pregnancy loss. Guidelines and supportive framework for this experiential component of learning will be provided to participants at the beginning of our study. Module Five concludes with a final and open Q&A opportunity wherein participants can draw prior themes together as they graduate from the training and prepare to facilitate pregnancy loss support groups in a variety of settings.
NOTE: A one-on-one Holding Space Consultation experience OR viewing an hour long conversation with Dr. Melissa Ming Foynes and Dr. Joanne Cacciatore on grief is a required component to this training. The cost for the 2nd option is embedded in the tuition. Should participants choose the first option, the cost is an additional $60. All participants are responsible for setting up their confidential, individual session with a Holding Space Consultant. For those planning to watch the interview, the recording will be made available with the above modules.
*All modules will be recorded and one need not attend live to participate in this training.
There are two required books for this training:
The Understanding Your Grief Support Group Guide: Starting and Leading a Bereavement Support Group (Please note this is the 2021 edition).
by Alan Wolfelt, PhD
What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color
edited by Shannon Gibney & Kao Kalia Yang
In its heartbreaking beauty, this book offers an integral perspective on how culture and religion, spirit and body, unite in the reproductive lives of women of color and Indigenous women as they bear witness to loss, search for what is not there, and claim for themselves and others their fundamental humanity. Powerfully and with brutal honesty, they write about what it means to reclaim life in the face of death.
~ Goodreads review of What God is Honored Here?
Suggested articles to read on pregnancy loss:
Holding space for pregnancy loss ~ 3 components for doulas to consider
Poems that honor the postpartum body following loss
When the baby dies: Advice for birth doulas who companion the bereaved
Unconditional Support: A day in the life of an abortion doula
On gratitude and grief: Mother donates 92 gallons of breast milk following pregnancy loss
Miscarriage matters: In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
Giving birth to life and death
Doula for the dying: Connecting birth and death
Note on Pregnancy Termination: For those interested in training to offer support for pregnancy termination/abortion, infertility, and adoption ~please know that future group facilitation trainings are forthcoming. This specific Pregnancy Loss Group Facilitation Training focuses on supporting bereaved parents who experience loss due to: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, and infant death.
Melissa Ming Foynes is as remarkable an educator and clinician as she is a human being. Her depth of understanding as it relates particularly to grief and the mourning process can only be surpassed by her compassion, dedication and unwavering commitment to helping clinicians and patients alike develop the skills to meaningfully find healing in the wake of loss. As a presenter and educator, Dr. Foynes consistently captivates with her level of expertise, astonishing ability to connect with a broad range of audiences and most notably her genuine warmth. Her generosity and selfless contributions to this field and to each individual whose life she touches brings with it a spirit of hope, a sense of purpose and a belief in one’s own intrinsic self-worth. She is a rare gem, a treasure and an invaluable teacher, clinician, colleague and friend.
~Sandy R., MSW, LCSW
Amy Wright Glenn’s approach is so gentle and deep. She holds space not only for bereaved families but also for her students. She draws from the wisdom of many experts when she teaches and also helps her participants to draw on their own inner knowing and listening. I can’t recommend her books and her workshops highly enough. I have used the tools I gained in every interaction I have had with bereaved families since Amy’s training.
~ Hope Logghe, IBCLC
Melissa Ming Foynes ~ (she/her) holds a Ph.D from the University of Oregon, has completed fellowships at Yale University School of Medicine and the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and held academic appointments at Harvard University and Boston University. Melissa is a clinical psychologist, international educator, co-founder of a therapy practice specializing in stress, trauma, grief, and loss, and owner of a holistic coaching practice. She is also a trauma-informed mindfulness, meditation, and yoga teacher, Ayurvedic doula, and host of the podcast The Science and Soul of Living Well. In her podcast, Melissa and her guests offer accessible ways to integrate evidence-based information from psychological science and complementary and alternative medicine into our daily lives so that we can cultivate resilience and live with more meaning, purpose and alignment with our values in all life domains even in the hardest and darkest of times. She has expertise in sexual trauma, interpersonal and institutional betrayal trauma, traumatic losses (e.g., loss of children, loss of loved ones to suicide, murder, illness, accidents, natural disasters) as well as grief and loss related to the perinatal period (e.g., birth trauma, obstetric violence, miscarriage, stillbirth, pregnancy termination) and pediatric medical complexities (e.g., cancer, autoimmune disorders). She also frequently consults with professionals who have experienced trauma, grief, and loss in the course of their work. She is deeply committed to working with people who have experienced discrimination, trauma and/or loss due to some aspect of identity like gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion. She has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and educational products, and has trained thousands of professionals. To learn more, follow her on Instagram @drfoynes or Facebook, listen to her podcast, or visit www.melissafoynes.com or www.openedhearttherapy.com.