When Grief Goes Viral: Mourning and Meaning in the COVID Pandemic 

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.

October 3rd, 2022 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

1.5 CE Credits

Online via Zoom

With the global pandemic of COVID-19 has come the loss of a world of once familiar routines, relationships and resources that previously conferred on our lives a sense of security and meaning. This workshop introduces carefully validated screening tools for both pandemic-specific risk factors associated with bereavement as the contagion spreads and the pandemic grief it leaves in its wake. 

This presentation summarizes recent research that documents the severity and impact of losing a loved one to COVID-19 and other causes of death in the pandemic, and empirically identifies 10 unique risk factors for functional impairment of work and social roles associated with the circumstances of the loss.  Moreover, we will briefly discuss evidence for the critical role of meaning making in mediating or bridging risk factors on the one hand with anguishing grief and social dysfunction on the other, suggesting the role of meaning focused interventions for dealing with these disturbances constructively.

 After attending this workshop, attendees will be able to 

  • Describe two validated brief screening tools for assessing pandemic grief risk factors and dysfunctional grief following COVID bereavement.
  • List five evidence-informed risk factors for complicated or prolonged grief exacerbated by the COVID crisis.
  • Identify four therapeutic procedures for addressing pandemic grief and unfinished business in bereavement.




Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, maintains an active consulting and coaching practice, and also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, a “university without walls” for international online training in grief therapy.  Neimeyer has published 30 books, including New Techniques of Grief Therapy:  Bereavement and Beyond, and serves as Editor of Death Studies. The author of nearly 600 articles and chapters and a popular workshop presenter, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process.  In recognition of his contributions, he has been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning