Session 254: A Niche In Complicated Grief with Sonya Lott, PhD

Overview

With all that’s going on in the world around us, dealing with grief in various forms and degrees has become extremely relevant. Additionally, we all know people who are hurting through the loss of a loved one, so wisdom from an expert is timely and helpful. Besides, it’s always fun to have a good friend on the podcast! Join us!

Dr. Sonya Lott is a local psychologist in my hometown of Philadelphia. We met years ago at a meetup group for therapists, and we’ve stayed in touch and become good friends. Sonya has become a valuable part of the STC community as a moderator, and her clinical specialty is complicated grief. She obtained advanced training in complicated grief from the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. She’s one of a small but growing group of complicated grief therapists here in the US. Sonya is also the CEO and founder of CEMPSYCH, a continuing education company in multicultural psychology. Many of us want to do more work around grief in this season of COVID-19 and racial injustice because we’ve had powerful realizations around grief. We are talking with Sonya about what complicated grief is, what made her choose this niche, and how she manages and balances a small but diversified caseload with a business mindset. We’ll wrap up with a discussion of why a multicultural orientation is important in grief work.

What We’ll Learn

  • What complicated grief is, and why it’s also called “prolonged grief disorder”
  • The difference in “normal” grief and complicated grief is that someone will get stuck in the process of regulating grief emotions and not be able to function in day-to-day life
  • How complicated grief is classified as a depressive disorder
  • How Sonya selected this niche and returned to clinical work after years of teaching–all prompted by the death of her mother
  • How Sonia’s goal became to help others transform through the grief process as she holds space for them
  • An inside look at the transformation in Sonya as she found new meaning and purpose in living without her mom
  • The “broken-open” and raw feeling of grief that Sonya had to work through
  • The subtleties around the language of loss and grief, and how Sonya meets her clients where they are with deeper listening techniques
  • How the language around grief will change as the person grows and transforms through the grief process
  • How complicated grief has to be reactivated and reprocessed if someone is stuck
  • How Sonya balances her business mindset with a limited client load and limited office hours
  • How Sonya offers grief support to organizations when an employee passes away
  • Sonya’s continuing education company for multicultural psychology and integrated mental health services
  • Why a multicultural orientation is important in complicated grief work: “We have to have cultural humility, an others-centered focus, and remain open to learning more.”
  • How culture influences grief work as it relates to religious rituals and spirituality

Resources Mentioned

Find Sonya’s practice: Dr. Sonya Lott

Find Sonya’s continuing education company: CEMPSYCH

When it comes to keeping your practice organized, you want software that’s not only simple but the best. I recommend TherapyNotes. Their platform lets you manage notes, claims, scheduling, and more. Plus, they offer amazing, unlimited phone and email support, so when you have a question, they are there to help. To get two free months of TherapyNotes today, just use the promo code Melvin when you sign up for a free trial at TherapyNotes.

 

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Today’s Awesome SponsorTherapy Notes

 

When it comes to keeping your practice organized, you want software that’s not only simple but the best, I recommend TherapyNotes. Their platform lets you manage notes, claims, scheduling, and more. Plus, they offer amazing, unlimited phone and email support, so when you have a question, they are there to help. To get two free months of TherapyNotes today, just use the promo code Melvin when you sign up for a free trial at www.TherapyNotes.com.

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