Widowed Parents: Reimagining Life For You & Your Children with Justin Yopp

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Coping with your own grief when a spouse dies is hard enough. But what do you do when on top of that you need to raise a grieving family, get everyone to school on time, pay all the bills, and run the household all on your own? These are just some of the challenges widowed parents face. While grief professionals may offer helpful insights, our guest and psychologist Dr. Justin Yopp explains why peer support groups for widowed parents may be one of the most helpful resources for bereaved fathers and mothers.

This episode is for widowed parents who are looking for inspiration and practical advice on parenting after loss. Based on insights gained by facilitating widowed parenting groups and academic research, Dr. Yopp offers compassionate guidance that respects each individual's journey.

His book, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life, is based on the “Single Fathers Due to Cancer” project, a group facilitated by Dr. Yopp and his colleague Donald L. Rosenstein at the University of North Carolina. They now collaborate with other colleagues at UNC to run The Widowed Parent project, which is committed to supporting widowed mothers and fathers with children in the home. Proceeds from The Group are all donated back into the project in order to benefit the families.

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About Justin Yopp, PhD

Justin M. Yopp, PhD is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he co-leads the Widowed Parent Program.

In 2010, Dr. Yopp and his colleague at UNC started a support group for widowed fathers who had lost their wives/partners and were raising grieving children at home.  This effort led to the creation of the Widowed Parent Program.  At this time, the program offers support groups for both mothers and fathers, conducts research to learn how to best serve grieving families, has published numerous academic manuscripts, and runs a website resource for widowed parents as well as for the grief and bereavement professionals who support them: www.widowedparent.org.

Last year, Dr. Yopp and his colleague published a book with Oxford University Press, entitled The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life [hyperlink to: www.amazon.com/dp/0190649569/].  This eminently readable book weaves in contemporary thinking on grief, adaptation, resiliency, and post-traumatic growth with the deeply compelling story of the seven men from the first support group.  The authors partnered with the fathers to write the book and donate all author proceeds back to the Widowed Parent Program.  Since being published, The Group has been featured on the Today Show, NPR, People magazine, and Time magazine.

Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp served as staff psychologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Heather Stang

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Mindfulness & Grief. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She has led mindfulness-based grief workshops for organizations such as the National Fallen Firefighters Association and Hospice of Frederick County, and is a member of the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Heather’s mission is to help people who are grieving to stay healthy and benefit from the transformative experience of grief, using mindfulness-based practices, relaxation, and expressive arts. She has an established practice offering Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy sessions, day-long retreats, and 8 Week Yoga for Grief groups. She is based in Maryland. You can find her on Google +.