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Maria Trozzi  

Grief Specialist

Maria Trozzi, M.Ed., is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, director of the nationally renowned Good Grief Program at Boston Medical Center, a consultant to the Child Development Unit at Children's Hospital, and an author. Her credentials and expertise have established her as one of the foremost experts on child and family bereavement in the country. She has provided consultation at Littleton, Colorado (the site of Columbine High School); at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11; and in Grenada following Hurricane Ivan. Since 1991, she has lectured nationally to professional audiences in every major city with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton as a regular faculty member of the National Seminar Series.

Her four-year project at Children's Hospital in New York focuses on designing and implementing a bereavement protocol response for both families and clinicians. Trozzi's approach continues to serve as a national model for trauma and intensive care units.

For nearly 20 years, as director of the Good Grief Program, her training for educators and health professionals has focused on promoting resilience in the face of loss via strategies that strengthen coping skills for families, institutions, and communities.

Trozzi's interest in bereavement expands to the grief families experience when a child is diagnosed with a disability: the "grief that keeps on giving." Her research is focused on identifying grief touchpoints – predictable times in a disabled child's development when parents' grief is exacerbated. Trozzi's model for professionals and parents has taken this grief "out of the closet" for both affected families and the clinicians that treat them.

She is a frequent contributor to both print and electronic media. She has appeared with Dr. Brazelton as co-host of his national television show, What Every Baby Knows, several times as well as several national news programs including Larry King Live, The Early Show, CNN, NBC, and ABC.

Her first book, Talking with Children About Loss, was published by Putnam-Penguin and continues to be an essential reference for parents and professionals. She has authored several chapters in pediatric and academic textbooks.


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Speech Topics

Helping Our Children Become Resilient as They Grow Up Facing a Complicated World

Join grief specialist and keynote speaker Maria Trozzi for an interactive evening where she will explore the typical and not-so-typical speed bumps that adolescents may encounter growing up in today's complicated world. When their child or adolescent faces these speed bumps, parents need words, a developmentally informed approach, and their confidence shored up as they scaffold their son or daughter during difficult times. Her refreshing and honest approach focuses on strategies that are often counterintuitive for parents, but help children master the coping skills that promote resilience.

The Grief That Keeps on Giving: A New Paradigm to Support Families of Children with Special Needs

When a child is born or diagnosed with a disability, each family member faces a loss that is ongoing, powerful, and idiosyncratic. How can the special educator be proactive in her relationship with the parent that actually promotes family resilience? Are there factors that predict better outcomes for the healthy siblings? Are there predictable times when the grief is exacerbated for the parents? This lecture will include a conceptual framework and strategies that help the special education professional join the family challenged by a child with a disability.

It Takes a Village: A Community Approach for Promoting Resilience in Our Children

The simple well-worn phrase "it takes a village" is rarely simple when a community attempts to execute an approach. As professionals and agents of the community, we will explore the what, who, how that defines scaffolding our adolescents, and in particular, those who are at risk now. We will think broadly and creatively to consider strategies that build adolescents' capacity to master coping skills, preparing them to face a range of issues. In particular, we will consider a common language for responding to crises of loss that stress our adolescents and impact our community's well being. Using a lively, interactive team approach, we will dialogue and listen, react and plan for what it actually takes to promote mastery of coping skills and prevent the long-term sequalae of depression, suicidal and risk-taking behavior.

Words, Strategies & Wisdom That Build Resilience in Families with Children with Special Needs

Maria Trozzi will discuss the stresses that our families face as they deal with the often complicated tasks of living with a child with a disability. She has recently concluded a two-year research study, funded by a regional center for disabilities in Los Angeles County, which explores the stresses, both obvious and hidden, that can sometimes feel overwhelming and never ending.

She will offer strategies for help parents to understand and cope, particularly at identified "touchpoints" in the developmental life of their child. She will share her nationally recognized conceptual model for working with educators that helps them "walk in the parents' shoes" in order to understand and transform even the most difficult and challenging parent/educator relationships.

Lastly, Trozzi, a typical sibling of a brother who is disabled, will offer insights for helping siblings cope with the losses and gains inherent in a family with a child with special needs. Her book, Talking with Children About Loss (Putnam-Penguin), will be available for a book signing.

Helping Our Teens Sail Through (& Their Parents Survive!) Adolescence

In this speech, Maria Trozzi will explore the normal developmental stresses that adolescents face as they lose their childhood and move towards adulthood. Often, adolescents are required to cope with any number of situations, ranging from when Barry breaks up with Susan (even if they "went out" for only days... or hours!), being on the outside of the "in" group, not making the varsity soccer team, leaving the safety and familiarity of the middle school, not getting into their chosen college. At times, the problems seem overwhelming and the solutions seem out of reach for both teens and their parents.

How can parents and other caring adults help? When should they get involved? When is it interference? What techniques generally stop communication? What approaches work most of the time? And, given the lives of dual working parents, hectic schedules for both parents and kids, and few if any opportunities for "family times," what "real life" strategies can adults employ that create a base of support for their teens during the many "crises" they face?

Finally, what specific tools can parents use that will ultimately have the greatest impact on their teens' lives: to assess the many risks that alcohol, drugs, and sex present to our teens and assisting them to move beyond their peer group's influence to make safe choices.

Trozzi, who is an assistant professor of developmental pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, combines insight, research findings, experience as a parent of two teens, and humor in her talk to parents and other adults who care about teens!

Juicy Living: Squeezing the Most Out of Your Life

Are there really secrets to squeezing out the very most of your life at any stage of adulthood? To creating the life you want to live? To mastering time and energy and relationship issues? Magazines and self-help bookshelves are full of engaging promises to transform your bodies, de-stress your lives, and fix your relationships, but is there really a way?

With humor, empathic experience, and wisdom, Maria Trozzi will help us examine our current lifestyles for "juiciness" quality, and will challenge us with selected real-life, do-able strategies that have the transformative power to enhance anyone's life. Really!

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