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203 | Blessed and Highly Favored: Understanding the Importance of Faith, the Church and the Pastor When Supporting the African-American Grief Process

Grief and Loss, Crisis Response, Pandemic and Disaster Recovery, Thursday 9/14 2:15 – 3:30 PM, Workshop Tracks


Mildred Williams, Ph.D.; Sabrina Black, M.A. 



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




The grief process for African-Americans can be complicated and challenging. Research suggests that many African-Americans seek psychological support from their pastors rather than seek formal mental health services (Avent et al., 2015; Hays, 2015; Stansbury, Harley, King, Nelson & Speight, 2012). Thus, many will rely on their faith, the Church, and their pastor to navigate this process (Hovey et al., 2014; Webb et al., 2011). This session will therefore examine the importance of the African-American client’s faith, their church, and the pastor’s role in supporting a congregant through the grief process aided by psychologists or licensed mental health professionals.

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss and explain the importance of the African-American client’s faith, church, and pastor’s role in supporting the congregant through the grief process
2. Identify the “Descriptors of the Grief Process” and explain the various “masks” that African-Americans display to address their grief
3. Develop ways to serve the grieving African-American population that is culturally and spiritually sensitive
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