Storytelling Through Music: A Legacy Project for Grieving Families

Storytelling Through Music: A Legacy Project for Grieving Families


Aug 27 2024


7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Facilitator: Carolyn Phillips PhD, RN, ACNP

Description:Adding music to storytelling and narrative writing provides a unique expression that may have more effect on affective and meta-cognitive coping than verbal and written expression alone. This workshop will explore "Storytelling Through Music," a theoretically driven program to help families cope with grief. Dr. Phillips will discuss the process of developing Storytelling Through Music, the findings from the most recent study examining the feasibility and acceptability of implementing the program with bereaved parents, and provide an example of a story and song (with the parent’s permission) created in the program.

Storytelling Through Music is a 6-week program that includes four weekly online writing sessions to help parents write a story about their child. These group sessions also teach brief self-care lessons (breathing exercises, self-compassion, and meditations). When the stories are written (end of 4th week), parents meet with a music therapist who creates an original song from their story. Then, the group participates in a session, sharing the stories and songs created. The last week is one final writing session to provide time to debrief about the experience and group closure. This unique combination of strategies facilitates connection, loss- and restoration-coping, legacy-making, meaning, and continued bonds.

When: August 27, 7 – 8 PM ET

Where: Online via Zoom

Cost: FREE! Reserve your spot on Pinelawn’s Eventbrite Page (coming soon)

Attendee Materials Needed: No Materials Needed

About our Presenter: Carolyn Phillips, Ph.D., RN, ACNP, is an Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing. She received her BSN from The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in 2001, her MSN from the University of New Mexico in 2011, and 2019, she completed her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar. Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, she spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Phillips has been an oncology nurse for over 20 years and has practiced as a bedside nurse, nurse practitioner, researcher, and leader. Her clinical and research expertise is in oncology and end-of-life care and developing and implementing expressive arts-based interventions to improve communication about and coping with complex emotions. In her current research, she examines the impact of “Storytelling Through Music” with family and professional caregivers. She is specifically interested in its effect on brain activity, the alignment between neuro-affective and cognitive states, and the long-term effect on psychosocial well-being.

In addition to her nursing career, Dr. Phillips is a performing musician. Her background in music and nursing uniquely positions her to design and implement innovative interventions that combine narrative writing, storytelling, and music to improve the psychosocial well-being of patients and caregivers.


Facebook: @carolyn.phillips.902

Instagram: @drrncarolyn

**Upon registration, you will be sent a confirmation email. To access the online workshop, it is important to use the Eventbrite reminder emails (one will be sent the day of the event) and log into your Eventbrite account to access the online workshop. Although we use the Zoom platform, Eventbrite emails will grant you access to the Zoom meeting. You will not be sent a Zoom link.**

For questions, contact Christin Alexander, Community Outreach Coordinator, at or 631.249.6100 x120.

Disclaimer: The information shared in this program is not intended to act as a substitute for any legal and mental health advice concerning individual situations; neither Pinelawn Memorial Park or COPE, its Board of Directors, staff and personnel shall be responsible for any outcomes arising from any information or exercises provided in this program.


COPE is a nonprofit grief and healing organization dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. COPE offers community support – if you need support, please reach out: 516-832-2673 For more information, visit

Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum is a non-sectarian cemetery prided on creating and maintaining a tranquil and serene environment. With over 500 acres of land featuring flowing fountains, historic monuments, vibrant flowers, and impressive trees, the goal of Pinelawn Memorial Park and Arboretum is to surround everyone who visits us in beauty so that we may bring peace even in the most trying of times.

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