Online Bereavement Support Groups & Their Role During COVID-19

Presenter(s): Gae Savino, LCSW, CT & Linnie Larson Pickering, LMSW

NASW-NYS Members: $20

NASW Other Chapter Member: $40

Non-Members: $50

This workshop is approved for 2.0 continuing education credit hour(s) for licensed social workers, licensed mental health counselors, and licensed marriage and family therapists.



Workshop Description

Online bereavement support groups provide social support and psychoeducation on dying, death and grief extending beyond traditional psychotherapeutic services during COVID. The workshop will integrate skills and strategies to plan, launch, sustain and expand targeted online bereavement support groups. Participants will learn ways to identify, assess, and expand group members’ social support systems.

The theoretical framework/perspectives highlighted in this workshop include: Grief as an Individual Journey (Doka); Grief as a Form of Love (Shear); The Dual Process Model (Stroebe & Schut); Tasks of Mourning (Worden) vs 5 Stages of Grief (Kubler-Ross): Grief as a Full Body Experience (Doka); Factors That Influence Grief (DeSpelder, Strickland); Attachment and its Relationship to Grief (Kosminsky & Jordan); Making-Meaning of Grief (Neimeyer); Continued Bonds (Kosminsky & Jordan); Acute vs Adaptation to and Integration of Grief After Loss (Shear).

Three Bereavement Support Group case study examples will integrate the workshop’s theoretical framework/perspectives and reinforce ways to create a safe and nonjudgmental environment. It will demonstrate how to create a culture inviting members to share, seek comfort, receive support, learn coping skills, emotional regulation strategies and increase awareness of grief and the bereavement process.

The workshop will address ways for practitioners to reach a broader geographical area and diverse populations interested in attending online bereavement support groups during COVID.



Learning Objectives

After the completion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the benefits & challenges of conducting online bereavement support groups (OBSG) during COVID
  • Describe the elements & logistics of planning, launching & maintaining an OBSG which include: selection of online platform, guidelines & etiquette standards, structure, format, intake process, termination, elements for successful groups, pitfalls of ineffective groups & standards for technology for social work practice in compliance with NASW’s Code of Ethics
  • Demonstrate through the use of three bereavement support group case studies how to apply and incorporate themes, activities/exercises, coping skills, strategies, psychoeducation & resources that enhance the group experience
  • Identify ways to assess & broaden members’ social support systems
  • Describe at least three components of grief & the grief process unique to COVID as incorporated into the group experience


This workshop is approved for 2.0 continuing education credit hour(s).

NASW-NYS is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers (Provider ID #0014), licensed mental health counselors (Provider ID #MHC-0053), and licensed marriage and family therapists. (Provider ID #MFT-0037).


Gae Savino, LCSW, CT, is a licensed clinical social worker and grief counselor Certified in Thanatology (CT), the study of dying, death and bereavement by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She brings extensive experience in developing an empathetic relationship with individuals in therapy and an intensive focus on conducting online bereavement support groups due to addiction, spousal/partner loss, parent loss, COVID loss and Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program Support Group at Westchester Medical Center through Advanced Physicians Services. In session, Gae utilizes the Dual Process Model of Coping with Grief, Complicated Grief Treatment, Collaborative Solution-Focused Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Narrative Therapy while centering these therapies from an individual’s self-determination and strength-based perspective. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University and has post-graduate training at The Center for Complicated Grief, Columbia University. Gae is a frequent workshop presenter on issues of dying, loss/death and bereavement.


Linnie Larson Pickering, LMSW, grew up in San Francisco. She received her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, where she won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She is a specialist in the prevention of domestic violence, child abuse, suicide, and sexual assault. She has worked on suicide, crisis, breast cancer and domestic violence hotlines and has developed and presented national and international workshops on the above topics. She co-authored “34 Cranberry Lane,” a video and discussion workshop on Domestic Violence in suburbia that was produced with a grant from Phillip Morris. Linnie is the author of Blue Sky: The Oral History of James L Greenwald, in which he reminisces about a life and career lived to the fullest as well as the emotional challenges of aging, declining health and facing one’s own mortality. Linnie did post graduate training at The Center for Complicated Grief, Columbia University. She has a private therapy practice in Rye, NY with a focus on loss and grief, and she is a frequent workshop presenter on topics related to loss, death, dying and bereavement and Covid-19. In addition, Linnie cofacilitates an online COVID-19 Bereavement Support Group and an online Post-COVID-19 Recovery Program Support Group at Westchester Medical Center through Advanced Physician Services.



  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00



Jun 03 2021


12:00 PM - 2:00 PM


Online Live Webinar