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Growing Around Grief with Dr Irene Renzenbrink

November 26, 2023 @ 11:45 am - 12:45 pm

The first in a series about loss, grief, and bereavement, with Dr Irene Renzenbrink.
This session will explore Lois Tonkin’s model of “Growing around Grief”

The late Lois Tonkin, a leading grief counsellor and educator from New Zealand suggested that rather than grief diminishing over time we grow around our grief and our lives develop in different and often surprising ways . Please join us to explore how this model might be helpful in your own life and in supporting others.

About Dr Irene Renzenbrink

St Michael’s member, Dr Irene Renzenbrink, PhD, DVATI, M.Soc.Admin. B.A. Dip.Soc.Studs. is an Australian social worker and pioneer in the field of grief and bereavement, having worked in hospice/palliative care, paediatric and adult oncology services and the funeral industry since the late 1970s. She qualified as an art therapist at the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute where she currently teaches an Art of Loss course. She also holds a PhD in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Irene works as an art therapist and volunteer at Melbourne City Mission Palliative Care in Thornbury.

Irene is long standing member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement. She has worked for the Irish Hospice Foundation developing volunteer training and staff support programs, the Prairie Hospice Society, Saskatoon Saskatchewan and was a regular instructor at St.Christopher’s Hospice in London. She has spoken at international grief and bereavement conferences.

This year Irene participated in a palliative care study tour in Northern India led by David Oliviere, the former head of Education and Training at St Christopher’s Hospice, UK. She will return to India in February 2024 to visit hospices and cancer treatment centres in South India and to participate in teaching.

Irene’s has published numerous articles and book chapters, most recently, a book based on her doctoral research, An Expressive Arts Approach to Healing Loss and Grief: Working Across the Spectrum of Loss with Individuals and Communities
(Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2021).

Reliable Resources for Helping Others and Ourselves with Grief and Bereavement

Googling the word ‘grief’ will generate 294 million results.
The word ‘death’ gives even more results , 3 billion at least count. Not all  websites are helpful nor accurate. The websites listed here are recommended:

  • Grief Kind , a program developed by the Sue Ryder Foundation in the UK
  • Grief Australia.
    Helpful information, free grief counselling and support in all circumstances of bereavement, including pet loss. Opportunities for on line and in person training and education.
  • Canadian Virtual Hospice
    For people who are wanting to find out more about death, dying and bereavement
  • Irish Hospice Foundation
    An excellent website with a wide variety of information and creative resources for grieving people and their carers.


November 26, 2023
11:45 am - 12:45 pm
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Waratah Room
120 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia
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St Michael’s Uniting Church
03 9654 5120