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Brief Report on the Association for Death Education and Counseling Annual Meeting, March 28-31, 2012 (Atlanta, GA USA)
Brief Report on the Association for Death Education and Counseling
Annual Meeting, March 28-31, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, GA USA
The 2012 Annual Meeting of ADEC had 585 members register for the Conference in Atlanta, GA. Those attending were overwhelmingly from the United States and Canada. The three-day event was preceded by two days of pre-conference workshops for those who wished to attend. Conference theme this year was 'Being a Healing Presence in a Hurting World.' Conference objectives were: (1) explain the most current research and theory in thanatology, (2) demonstrate knowledge about human reactions to death across the lifespan, (3) reflect on the ethnic, gender and ritual components that affect individual responses to loss-related situations, (4) identify innovative clinical approaches to working with dying and bereaved individuals, and (5) review future trends that influence research and practice. Paper presentation sessions were the most frequent means of sharing research and clinical ideas, though there were 44 posters on display with designated times each day for the authors to interact with those interested. The exhibition room had some 15 or so organizations offering their death-related 'products' for sale. Additionally, book publishers were available with their offerings, primarily Baywood, Springer, and Routledge, though smaller dealers' books were combined into one room.
The approximately 125 papers presented were broken down into the following broad topics: (1) assessment and intervention, (2) death education,(3) the dying process, (4) end-of-life decision-making, (5) loss, grief and mourning, and (6) traumatic death. Each presenter(s) typically had an hour or an hour fifteen minutes for her/his presentation, though occasionally there were 30-minute presentations with two presentations per panel. Identifiers were used to 'code' each session to help participants better identify the session(s) she/he wished to attend. Those identifiers were Trauma Loss (T), Spirituality (S), End of Life (E), and Integrative Therapies (I). Each presentation was identified in the program with a brief abstract, objectives, and references to enhance potential participants' decision-making as to which session to attend.
I brought 50 copies of our ASDS handout and placed them on a table outside the exhibition hall. By the end of the Conference, nearly all of the handouts were gone. Hopefully, we will gain some new members out of this effort. ADEC conferences are more oriented toward 'counseling' than ASDS meetings, yet they have a good distribution of both researchers and clinicians.
Having attended the Columbia Seminar on Death in New York City the previous weekend and now the ADEC Conference in Atlanta, GA this past weekend, I am about 'death and dyinged' out! Now back to the classroom to share some of the knowledge gained from these two conferences.
George E. Dickinson
College of Charleston
Charleston, SC USA