LECTURE | Memorial Sloan Kettering Bereavement Clinic Conference (New York)

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

April 8, 2014, 4:00-5:00 pm

Library at the Counseling Center
641 Lexington Ave.
(on 54th Street between 3rd and Lexington)
7th Floor


During the April 8th Bereavement Clinic Conference, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center invited memory artist, Nancy Gershman of VNSNY’s Haven Hospice to give a talk based on the chapter in the 2012 compendium edited by Robert Neimeyer, “Techniques in Grief Therapy: Creative Practices of Counseling the Bereaved.” Gershman will talk about how she arrives at the “preferred stories” she creates digitally, which are informed by interviews, personal photos and photo research.

This culminates in a realistic (and sometimes surrealistic) prescriptive photomontage or “Healing Dreamscape” that is presented to the family before or after the patient has died. The process involves asking empathic questions of the dying patient, family members and friends to seek out memories when the subject was at “their most vibrant.” On hospice nightstands, these dignity portraits give 11th hour sustenance. Taken home by surviving relatives, they become a supportive presence in the wake of loss.

Host: Wendy G. Lichtenthal, Ph.D., Assistant Attending Psychologist and Director of The Bereavement Clinic at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.