Playing with Grief: Perspectives from Two Child Life Specialists in Palliative Care

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Child life specialists interact with children in multiple settings for a multitude of reasons. Many of the assessments and interventions performed by child life specialists are efficient evaluations of a child’s present coping and their ability to apply these coping mechanisms to a new experience. This is also true when assessing and working with children experiencing grief. We often need to make quick assessments about a child’s grief and their understanding of its trigger. Child life specialists observe and assess how grief manifests and then find ways to support healthy coping and redirect maladaptive coping. This webinar will explore grief through different professional lenses, introduce participants to novel grief assessment techniques, and discuss how the information obtained in assessment may be practically translated into meaningful interventions. This discussion will review how grief is a dynamic process in which the individual’s grief informs and shapes play-based interventions.

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe how play can be used for grief assessment
  • Discuss how to translate these grief assessments into play-based intervention strategies to promote healthy grief and positive coping 

Suggested  domain: Assessment

This webinar is part of our Emerging Professional programming. 

Stephanie Barta


Stephanie is a Certified Child Life Specialist with seven years of experience in high acuity patient care settings. Stephanie graduated from the University of Iowa with a BS in Child Life and minors in Spanish and Theatre Arts. She is currently obtaining her Masters of Arts in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Youth Development from the University of Missouri. Stephanie was a child life specialist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for five years before accepting her position as a community-based child life specialist with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in the Quality of Life for All Kids Program in Memphis, TN in 2017. This program provides compassionate care to palliative and hospice-eligible patients and families in hospital housing facilities and in the Memphis community. 

Joanna Lyman


Joanna is a Certified Child Life Specialist who has fourteen years of clinical experience, with the last nine years including extensive work in pediatric palliative care. She graduated from the University of Santa Monica with a Master’s degree in psychology and is also a certified hypnotherapist and a level II Reiki practitioner. Joanna currently manages the palliative care team at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. Noteworthy accomplishments include joint publications in American Childhood Cancer Society Handbook for Parents, Expert Review of Quality of Life in Cancer, and Palliative Care in Pediatric Oncology, and plenary speaking engagements at pediatric palliative care and bioethics conferences across the county.


08/10/2020 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 08/10/2020
08/10/2020 at 2:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 08/10/2020
7 Questions
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
5 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/5 points to pass
1.00 PDUs credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 PDUs credit  |  Certificate available