Certificate Courses

Grief & Loss: Understanding and Accompanying

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Price: $500.00
Avg. Completion Time: 6 hours

This certificate program brings together the expertise of three IPS faculty members and one IPS graduate to explore a topic that touches everyone, personally and profoundly—the struggle with loss. After learning some basic empathy and listening skills that be used to accompany a person suffering from loss, Dr. Scrofani describes the sense of loss that some feel as they age. Dr. Sweeney describes several models of bereavement and points to the potential for resilience even in the face of grief. While experiencing loss, people are often emotionally exhausted, making conflict more likely. In the final presentation, Dr. Kolodziejczak elaborates on principles for empathic communication with others, particularly those who are closet. Grief, whatever the source, whether death, aging, miscarriage, loss of a relationship, is painful. These times more than ever require compassion and the opportunity to be for one another through empathy and understanding.

Certificate Program Description

This course brings together an introduction to empathy skills and ways to reduce conflict in relationships with knowledge about aging in today’s culture and theories of the grieving process. Together, this series of lessons infuses a psychological knowledge of empathy, communication, aging, and grief with a Catholic/Christian dimension of “being for the other” during times of hardship.

By the end of this certificate program, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain effective empathy-building techniques including attending and listening, reflection of feelings, using open-ended questions, and providing feedback.
  2. Discuss the purpose and advantage of using open-ended questions over close-ended questions.
  3. Demonstrate effective paraphrasing techniques.
  4. Identify the increasing aging population in American society and the ways aging might be seen differently by the five living generations in American society, beginning with the World War II generation.
  5. Identify key elements of the midlife crisis and some of the psychological challenges for the Baby Boomer generation as they enter into their senior years.
  6. Discuss midlife and senior adjustment to aging from the Darwinian and Humanist perspectives and consider the protective influences of a Catholic anthropology that is being developed at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, VA.
  7. Discuss some introductory intervention issues regarding seniors for ministers and psychologists with respect to the aging population.
  8. Explain the five-stage Kubler-Ross model of bereavement.
  9. Identify some common critiques of the Kubler-Ross model.
  10. Discuss the main components of resilience-centered models of bereavement.
  11. Explain the different principles of communication.
  12. Identify the importance of listening in fostering a healthy relationship.
  13. Explain the importance of using empathy when communicating.

Sequence of Certificate Program Webinars

Empathy Building Skills, Part 1 by Lisa Klewicki, M.A.T., Ph.D. (1 hr 22 min)

The foundation of the healing relationship and the healing process lies in mastering and using critical interpersonal skills, such as providing effective empathy. This webinar provides a comprehensive examination of these foundational skills along with demonstrations and exercises for building empathy skills using a Christ-centered approach. Empathy skills covered in this webinar include: attending and listening, reflection of feelings, using open questions, paraphrasing, and providing feedback. This webinar is intended as a “refresher course” for experienced mental health professionals as well as a foundational course for those in the helping profession such as priests and deacons, youth ministers, and spiritual guides. This webinar is 1 hour and 22 minutes long.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this seminar participants will:

  1. Explain effective empathy-building techniques including attending and listening, reflection of feelings, using open-ended questions, and providing feedback.
  2. Discuss the purpose and advantage of using open-ended questions over close-ended questions.
  3. Demonstrate effective paraphrasing techniques.

Taking the "Crisis" Out of Mid-Life: A Catholic Perspective on Aging by Philip Scrofani, Ph.D., ABPP (1 hr 28 min)


Americans spend billions of dollars each year trying to escape the effects of aging. Mention the words “midlife crisis” and you will typically hear this distinct and growing population reduced to off-color jokes and tired stereotypes. Perhaps most disheartening is the tendency in our society to deny the simple fact of growing older. The result is an epidemic of psychological and spiritual dysfunction among older Americans.

Understanding and treating people facing the challenges of the midlife and senior years takes a unique set of skills, and a wide-ranging perspective. In his engaging presentation, Taking the “Crisis” out of Midlife, Dr. Philip Scrofani, Ph.D., ABPP, explains why so many Americans perceive aging in a negative light, and counters with a Christian model that adds a positive, transcendent dimension to the aging process.

In his two-hour presentation, Dr. Scrofani compares the foundational world-views and value-systems of the five living generational groups, followed by a thought-provoking analysis of three anthropological viewpoints. The midlife and senior life stages are discussed from each perspective, and the therapeutic benefits of a Catholic vision of the human person are developed.

In the final part of his presentation, Dr. Scrofani explores some of the challenges ministers and Catholic psychologists face in dealing with the problems associated with aging, and offers a vision for how faith integration can give this growing population the hope of growing older with grace and dignity.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the increasing aging population in American society and the ways aging might be seen differently by the five living generations in American society, beginning with the World War II generation.
  2. Identify key elements of the midlife crisis and some of the psychological challenges for the Baby Boomer generation as they enter into their senior years.
  3. Discuss midlife and senior adjustment to aging from the Darwinian and Humanist perspectives and consider the protective influences of a Catholic anthropology that is being developed at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, VA.
  4. Discuss some introductory intervention issues regarding seniors for ministers and psychologists with respect to the aging population.

A New Perspective on Grief & Loss by Gladys M. Sweeney, Ph.D. (1 hr 2 min)

Helping your clients deal with grief and loss is a complex process. This webinar begins by exploring the basic principles of the most popular model of grief and loss, the five-stage Kubler-Ross Model. Dr. Sweeney offers some criticisms and shortcomings of Kubler-Ross, and then explains other empirically-supported alternative models including Worden’s Model, the Dual-Process Model of Grieving, the Psychological Resilience Model and Bonnano’s Model.  This webinar will also cover the importance of the role of resilience in coping with grief and loss.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the five-stage Kubler-Ross model of bereavement.
  2. Identify some common critiques of the Kubler-Ross model.
  3. Discuss the main components of resilience-centered models of bereavement.

Conflict Resolution in Marriages, Families, and Communities” by Greg Kolodziejczak, Psy.D. (1 hr 15 min)

All marital relationships will inevitably have conflict. The biggest difference between those marriages which survive and those which end in divorce is the ability to communicate constructively. Dr. Kolodziejczak presents just how a couple can communicate constructively by explaining the principles of communication. Dr. Kolodziejczak will also explain the important role that listening and using empathy can play in fostering healthy relationships. This webinar is 1 hour and 15 minutes long.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain the different principles of communication.
  2. Identify the importance of listening in fostering a healthy relationship.
  3. Explain the importance of using empathy when communicating.

Instructor Biography

Lisa Klewicki, M.A.T., Ph.D.

Lisa Klewicki, M.A.T., Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist who has degrees in Psychology and Theology. She integrates the Catholic faith with sound psychology to provide psychotherapy, consultations, and assessments. She also addresses both lay and academic audiences through various types of speaking engagements. Dr. Klewicki speaks on such topics as intimacy, relationships, marriage, family, mental health and women’s issues from a Catholic perspective.

Philip Scrofani, Ph.D., ABPP

Dr. Scrofani, Ph.D., ABPP is currently a full-time, Associate Professor at IPS. His expertise is in clinical psychology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and research review, and he teaches in these areas. He has been Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology since 1990. Dr. Scrofani was the Director of Family Psychotherapy Training for five years and Director of Psychology for the Commission on Mental Health Services in Washington, D.C. for 12 years. In that capacity, he had oversight responsibility for approximately 100 clinical psychologists and administrative responsibility for an APA accredited psychology internship. He later accepted a faculty position with the Psychiatry Residency Training Program for the Department of Mental Health in Washington, where he continues to be involved in the training of 32 physicians in residency for psychiatry. He joined the faculty at IPS in 2004.

Gladys M. Sweeney, Ph.D.

Prior to her appointment as Dean Emeritus and Senior Scholar in the spring of 2012, Dr. Sweeney, Ph.D. held the position of Academic Dean since IPS’ founding. She served as the Executive Director of the Catholic Institute for the Psychological Sciences from 1997-1998. She has lectured at the North American College in Rome and at the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum in Rome. She has been a faculty member of the Division of Child Psychiatry, Department of Pediatrics, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Sweeney’s area of interest is the integration of the psychological sciences with the Catholic view of the human person and she has published in this area. Dr. Sweeney has co-edited Human Nature in its Fullness: A Roman Catholic Perspective CUA Press, July, 2006.

Greg Kolodziejczak, Psy.D.

Greg Kolodziejczak, Psy.D. works primarily in private practice in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. In addition, he is involved with the Archdiocese of Boston, working with the diocese’s marriage preparation curriculum committee. Dr. Kolodziejczak previously received a Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering from MIT and a Masters in Theology from Catholic University. After studying at the Institute for Psychological Sciences, where he received a Masters and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, he accepted an APA-approved internship at the Danielsen Institute in Boston. He completed his postdoc at Two Brattle Center in Cambridge, a clinic that specializes in utilizing psychodynamic approaches and Dialectical Behavior Therapy in working with patients with severe levels of distress. He currently works with Two Brattle Center and in private practice in Cambridge. His almost-800 page dissertation was a synthesis of psychology, philosophy, and theology on the issue of love. In January 2008, he was chosen to present on a case at the American Psychoanalytic Conference in New York, with Peter Fonagy and Otto Kernberg, both giants in psychology.