The Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, Alan Pedersen, talks with Dr. Gloria Horsley about the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) conference in Chicago, Illinois. Both Dr. Gloria Horsley and her daughter, Dr. Heidi Horsley, will be presenting at the conference along with an impressive roster of other experts in the field of loss and grieving. With over 168 different titles of workshops, Pedersen says, “I don’t think there’s a better collection of information in the world” than what can be found at the annual ADEC conferences.
If you’ve lost a loved one or are interested in getting into the field of loss and grieving, joining the ADEC conference is one of the best ways to immerse yourself. “It’s an amazing conference, life affirming, and life changing,” says Dr. Horsley. Every year, favorite experts return and new ones are welcomed to discuss the field of grief, loss, and death in a professional and welcoming environment. There is also a solid friends and sibling program, along with a corresponding social media group, so parents and guardians can feel comfortable bringing children to the event.
Bringing Everyone Together
For youth and adult programs alike, “It’s not just sitting around talking about grief,” says Dr. Horsley. There are many activities, from music and dancing to arts and crafts. Everyone grieves and learns in a different way, and that’s celebrated at ADEC conferences. “It’s almost like a retreat,” says Pedersen. Take some time to be with your grief, your feelings, and your loved ones. “Come and breathe in good knowledge,” he says, and be around people how validate what you feel.
The ADEC conferences are held every summer, and early registration is encouraged. Spaces do fill up, so act quickly. It can be scary for early grievers to attend, but there’s no warmer community than what you’ll find here.