Difficult Discussions: What does grief look like?

International SEL Day invites us to think about the role that social emotional learning has played in our lives this year, supporting our families through the challenges we’ve been experiencing. One of the biggest challenges: grief and loss.

Join us as we speak with David Adams, CEO of The Urban Assembly, Rebecca Soffer, Founder of Modern Loss, psychotherapist George Hagman, and Tiffany Papageorge, author of My Yellow Balloon in this special three-part series on Difficult Discussions: Grief and Loss. In the first part of the series, we discuss what grief looks like.

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“When my mom died, I really struggled with trying to find people who could understand what I was going through. I remember thinking, God, I wish I could just implant a microchip into people’s brains for like one second. So then they understood how scary this feels and how uneven the terrain under my feet feels and how I don’t even know what like next year is going to look like, much less what tomorrow is going to look like. And now we’re a year into the pandemic, and I think all of us know what grief looks like. We all have that microchip in our heads now because we’ve all been grieving something.” -Rebecca Soffer, Founder of Modern Loss

About David Adams

David Adams is the CEO of The Urban Assembly, a non-profit organization working to advance students’ economic and social mobility by improving public education. A Board Member of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), David started with The Urban Assembly in 2014 as the Director of Social Emotional Learning, where he created the Resilient Scholars Program (RSP), a unique approach to integrating SEL into curriculum and classroom practices. RSP has grown into a national program, serving schools and districts in Los Angeles, Houston, Syracuse, and other cities. As the Senior Director of Strategy, David led the expansion of the Urban Assembly into a model provider of school support, with an emphasis on innovation and equity in public education. David is also the author of The Educator’s Practical Guide to Emotional Intelligence, and a co-author of the textbook Challenges to Integrating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs in Organizations. David is a Civil Affairs Officer in the Army Reserve and holds an M.Ed in Educational Psychology from Fordham University.

About George Hagman

George is a clinical social worker and therapist currently in full-time private practice. He is a faculty member at the Westchester Society for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology. He has published a number of publications and articles on bereavement and mourning, addiction, self-psychology, and art and creativity. He is the author of three books, including The Artist’s Mind: Creativity and Modern Art and Creative Analysis: How Art Can Inform Clinical Practice. Last year he published New Models of Bereavement Theory and Treatment: New Mourning. George holds a MSW from Columbia University and is certified in psychoanalysis from National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis.

About Tiffany Papageorge

Tiffany works with parents, teachers, and mental health professionals whose mission it is to find new ways to reach and engage children who are dealing with the issue of loss. She is a certified grief and loss specialist with training in Trauma First Response and Critical Incident Stress Management and is on the Bay Area CISM Team. She has worked with Vanderbilt University, the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and numerous schools, districts, hospitals, and grief organizations throughout the country. Tiffany is a member of the Healing Story Alliance, the National Storytelling Network, and is critically acclaimed for her groundbreaking children’s book My Yellow Balloon, which has been used to help children, teens, and adults alike to understand and process their loss and grief.

About Rebecca Soffer

Rebecca is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Loss, which offers creative, meaningful, and encouraging content and community addressing the long arc of grief. She is the co-author of Modern Loss: Candid Conversation about Grief. Beginners Welcome which The Strategist named as a best book on loss for a younger generation. She is also the author of forthcoming The Modern Loss Handbook, an interactive guide through loss and resilience. Rebecca runs the Modern Loss Substack Newsletter, a longform monthly deep dive into various themes stemming from grief. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, NY1, MSNBC, Fox, and CTV. She has led retreats at Kripalu and has spoken nationally on loss and resilience at Chicago Ideas Week, HBO, and Amazon. Her writing has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, Marie Claire, Glamour, and NBC. Rebecca is a former producer of The Colbert Report and is an alumna of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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