Phyllis Silverman was one of a kind. She was a towering intellectual force in a small frame. She didn’t initially intend to work in the field of bereavement, but ultimately, as a researcher and author, she dedicated her forty year career to challenging the notion of bereavement as a pathology or an “illness” that could—or should—be cured. She was unwavering in her commitment to expressing a child or teen’s right to grieve, and she spent her life’s work providing writing, research, tools, and guidance for the bereaved and those supporting them. Everyone who knew her well had to smile at the fact that Phyllis never, ever hesitated to speak her mind and tell her truth along the way. We at The Children’s Room are deeply saddened by Phyllis’s death. All of us are going to miss her deeply. We mourn the loss not just of a pioneer in our field of bereavement; in Phyllis, we mourn our organization’s bedrock foundation and the truest champion of our work, as well as a dear friend in our personal lives. Our three founders: Judy Oliver, Phyllis Silverman, and Jean Marchant After all, it was Phyllis’s vision and dogged persistence that helped to bring this very organization into being. When Phyllis began meeting with fellow cofounders Jean Marchant and Judy Oliver about creating a center for grief and loss, it became abundantly clear that serving grieving children was the single most pressing need to be filled, and The Children’s Room was born. When they were no longer able to operate as a part of Hospice West, they felt stymied as they searched for a new home for the program until a Baptist minister graciously arranged for space [...]
In her most recent blog post for Psychology Today, our own Phyllis Silverman reflects on her recent personal experiences. She examines her own strong, emotional reaction to our amazing Teen Performance Troupe in the context of being a professional in the field of bereavement. Phyllis has been a thought leader in child bereavement for decades, and she lectures around the world on the topic. Phyllis's new book, A Parent's Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family after the Death of a Loved One which she wrote with Madelyn Kelly was just published. Read the full article here.
On Friday, April 17th, the alumni of the Simmons College School of Social Work will be treated to several presentations from reprentatives from The Children's Room as part of the college's alumni programming. The Keynote Speaker for the event is one of the founding board members of The Children's Room Phyllis Silverman who will present on the topic of How Our Views Have Changed. Phyllis continues to research current issues on child bereavement and leads the research committee at The Children's Room. The committee is comprised of professionals from Tufts University, Wheelock College, Harvard University and other programs. Program Director Donna Sharff and Program Manager Colleen Shannon will present an interactive and inspiring workshop session on The Heart of Grief: Facilitating Creative Arts Expression in Grieving Children and Teenagers. The day long conference concludes with a performance by The Children's Room Teen Performance Troupe. For more information on the conference, visit the Simmons website.
In her most recent article on the Psychology Today website, our board member and child bereavement expert, Phyllis Silverman writes that people instinctively want to protect children when someone has died. In her thoughtful piece, she proposes that a better approach is to guide children through these experiences in ways that respect their age. Phyllis's article is here. Being honest with children is difficult, and an important part of our work at The Children's Room is to work with adults to help them with the language, tools and strategies that they need in their day-to-day dealings with all children. Teachers, counselors, coaches and nurses have all found our workshops and presentations to be helpful in developing these skills.
Our own founding board member and child bereavement expert Phyllis Silverman, Ph D is now the official writer for Psychology Today's new blog "Raising Grieving Children". In her inaugural post, she introduces herself and the influences that have shaped her over the years. Read it here and welcome Phyllis to a new audience. We are so pleased that she can share her talents with so many grieving families and people who need this information. Phyllis has a new book available which she co-wrote with Madelyn Kelly called: A Parent's Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family after the Death of a Loved One.