Hudson Valley Psychological Association
Upcoming CE Presentation: Interpersonal Defense Theory | Sunday, September 22, 2024 - Learn More >

Back to CE Presentations page

HVPA Presents - "Dying to Live: Death Awareness as Psychic Organizer to Live a Fully Realized Life"

Presented by Joy Dryer, Ph.D.

Date: Saturday, December 2, 2023

Time: 9:40 a.m. - 9:55 a.m. - HVPA update meeting. Join us!
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - CE Course

Location: This will be a Zoom presentation. (You will receive the Zoom login information following your registration.

Program Summary

We will all die. We know this. But both our culture in general, and our mental health profession in particular, suppress awareness of our mortality, and avoid talking about death. Why such bias? Denial? This workshop addresses our perpetual oscillation between "slipping into that dreaded abyss, (and) insulating ourselves in protective omnipotent defenses." (Shabad, 2016).

Via experiential small groups, we’ll address how talking about death, to ourselves and to our patients, can enhance our experience of living our lives fully. We’ll write and talk through this protocol together. In this training we will look at history, literature, vignettes, Freud, our culture, AND how our profession avoids acknowledging the impact of our actual death. We will share views & discuss "existential orientation" protocols that suggest how to talk with patients about their feelings, attitudes, beliefs about dying and their own inevitable death. Practical suggested protocols will be reviewed.

Woody Allen once quipped - "I'm not afraid of death. I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Presenter: Joy Dryer, Ph.D.

Joy Dryer, Ph.D.Joy Dryer, Ph.D. wears several hats: as a Clinical Psychologist for over 40 years, a Psychoanalyst for 25 years, and a Divorce Mediator for the past 20 years. She works with individuals, couples, and families, and maintains a private practice in NYC and New Paltz, New York. As a former Adjunct Associate Professor in NYU’s Master Psychology program, she continues to teach and to supervise. In addition to the Death Project that she introduces to you today, Dr. Joy is also working on a book of poetry tentatively called Covid Conversations with Colleagues, Critters, and Cannibals. Dr. Joy writes a monthly blog on Psychology Today illustrating couples' dialogues during their PACT couples sessions. She specializes in couples therapy using PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy). She integrates PACT's powerful principles in her divorce mediation work where she often focuses on helping couples decide whether to stay, or to separate.

Target Audience: All mental health professionals. NOTE: Only Doctoral Level NY State licensed Psychologists can receive CE credits.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Explain historical sources of our profession’s and our culture’s “denial of death” approach to mortality awareness.
  2. Identify one's own existential orientation and how we psychically organize our own mortality awareness.
  3. Facilitate patients’ exploring their own feelings, attitudes, beliefs about death AND to use this mortality awareness to live their lives more fully and creatively.

Program Schedule:

  • 10:00 - 10:05 AM: Introduction
  • 10:05 - 10:45 AM: Presentation by Dr. Joy
  • 10:45 - 11:15 AM: Small Groups: Break out session No. 1 - Discuss Questions 1-6
  • 11:15 - 11:40 AM: Return to Large Group for debrief discussion
  • 11:40 - 11:50 AM: 10-minute break
  • 11:50 - 12:15 PM: Small Groups: Break out session No. 2 - Discuss Questions 7-8
  • 12:15 - 12:40 PM: Return to Large Group for debrief discussion
  • 12:40 - 12:45 PM: Summary Slide by Dr. Joy
  • 12:45 - 12:50 PM: General Q&A
  • 12:50 - 12:55 PM: Recapitulation/ Wrap up
  • 12:55 - 1:00 PM: Closing


FREE for HVPA Members
$60.00 for Non-HVPA Members

JOIN HVPA for an annual $50 fee and receive all CE courses provided by HVPA for FREE. For networking, listserv, and other benefits, please go to the Membership page and sign up!


Statement of Sponsorship: Hudson Valley Psychological Association (HVPA) is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0200.

CE Credits: 3 CE credits for NYS Psychologists (only) are provided upon course's completion. HVPA is authorized to provide CE credits ONLY to NYS Psychologists.

To receive continuing education (CE) credit, you need to attend the program in its entirety. CE certificates will be provided for all NYS psychologists who attend this program in full and who complete/return an online post-test and online program evaluation. Please indicate your license type and license number on your registration form.

FOR ONLINE COURSES: We verify your online attendance at the beginning & end of the program and by your completion of the evaluation form and post-test.

HVPA is authorized to provide CE credits ONLY to NYS Psychologists. If you have questions, contact

Register Here

Fill out my online form.