Thompson Rivers University

Rebecca Sanford

Name: Dr. Rebecca Sanford
Position: Lecturer
Phone: (250) 828-5248


Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Program Development
Social Work Education
Policy and Administration
Social Work Professional Issues
Direct Practice of Mental Health Work with Children, Adolescents, Adults, and Families
Clinical Supervision and Staff Recruitment, Retention, and Development

Research Interests

Current research projects:
The Suicide Bereavement Journey
Canadian Suicide Exposure Study
Therapeutic Educational Alternatives for Children: The Falcon Program
Suicide Bereavement in Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Groups


PhD in Social Work, University of Kentucky, College of Social Work, 2016
Dissertation title: An Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group Facilitator Scale: Identifying Meaningful Factors for Group Facilitation and Outcomes

Master of Science in Social Administration (accredited MSW), Case Western Reserve University, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, 2005

Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Psychology, Defiance College, 2004


Peer Reviewed Publications:
Feigelman, W., Sanford, R.L., & Cerel, J. (in press). Do primary care physicians help the bereaved with their suicide losses? Omega

Cerel, J. & Sanford, R.L. (2018). It's not who you know, it's how you think you know them: Suicide exposure and suicide bereavement. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child

Feigelman, W., Cerel, J., & Sanford, R.L. (in press). Disclosure in traumatic deaths as correlates of differential mental health outcomes. Death Studies

Sanford, R.L., Cerel, J., & Frey, L.M. (2018). Survivor of suicide loss support group facilitators: Do peers and professionals differ? Social Work with Groups, 41(4) DOI: 10.1080/01609513.2017.1351414

Maple, M., Pearce, T., Sanford, R.L., Cerel, J., Castelli-Dransart, A., & Andriessen, K. (in press). A
systematic review of the literature on suicide bereavement. Crisis.

Sanford, R.L., Ratliff, S., & Staton-Tindall, M. (2017). Working with parents who use alcohol
and drugs. In L. Dixon, D. Perkins, C. Hamilton-Giachritsis, & L. Craig (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of What Works in Child Maltreatment: An Evidence-Based Approach to Assessment and Intervention in Child Protection. Wiley-Blackwell.

Maple, M., Pearce, T., Sanford, R.L., & Cerel, J. (2017). The role of social work in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention: A scoping review. Australian Journal of Social Work, 70(3). 289-301. DOI: 10.1080/0312407X.2016.1213871

Maple, M., Cerel, J., Sanford, R.L., Pearce, T., & Jordan, J. (in press). Is exposure to suicide beyond
kin associated with risk for suicidal behavior? A review of the evidence. Suicide and Life
Threatening Behavior. DOI: 10.1111/sltb.12308

Fettrow, E.A., Sanford, R.L., Bennett, S. (2017). Pre-service educators' perceptions of child
abuse/neglect (CAN) training: Recommendations for practice. Journal of Health Education Teaching, 8(1). 1-16.

Frey, L.M., Hans, J., & Sanford, R.L. (2016). Where is family science in suicide prevention and
intervention? Theoretical applications for a systemic perspective. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 8(4). 446-462. DOI: 10.1111/jftr.12168

Sanford, R.L., Cerel, J., McGann, V., & Maple, M. (2016). Suicide bereaved survivors'
experiences with therapists: Implications for clinical practice. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(5). 551-558. DOI: 10.1007/s10597-016-0006-6

Academic Blogs and Technical Reports:
Maple, M., Kwan, M., Borrowdale, K., Murray, S., & Sanford, R.L. (2016). The Ripple Effect: Understanding the Exposure and Impact of Suicide in Australia. Sydney: Suicide Prevention Australia.

Sanford, R.L. & Frey, L.M. (in press). The continuum of self-care: Delving deeper to whole-self care. The New Social Worker Magazine.

Maple, M. & Sanford, R.L. (2016, September). Social work and suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Oxford University Press Academic Blog. Retrieved online:

Cerel, J. & Sanford, R.L. (2016, September). The impact of suicide day: World Suicide Prevention Day and why awareness matters. Oxford University Press Academic Blog. Retrieved from:

Employment History

2016-Present Lecturer, Thompson Rivers University
2011-2016 Clinical Faculty, University of Kentucky
2011-2011 Instructor of Social Work, Defiance College
2009-2010 Clinical Supervisor and Therapist, Family Pride of Northeast Ohio
2004-2010 Clinical Supervisor and Therapist, Cleveland Catholic Charities

Courses Taught

Thompson Rivers University:
SOCW 3010 Introduction to Social Work Research
SOCW 3040/4020 Social Work Field Practice
SOCW 3760 Family and Child Welfare Practice
SOCW 4400 Social Work and Mental Health
SOCW 4610 Social Work with Groups
SOCW 4760 Family and Child Welfare Policy

University of Kentucky:
SW 421 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
SW 422 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
SW 445 Field Practicum II
SW 505 Child Welfare Services
SW 580 Enhancing Safety and Permanency
SW 580 Case Management in Child Welfare
SW 580 Partnership in Supporting Children and Adults in Need
SW 600 Theory Informed Social Work Practice with Individuals
SW 602 Theory Informed Social Work Practice with Groups

Defiance College:
SW 120 Life in Society
SW 230 Behavioral Statistics
SW 278 Interviewing and Interpersonal Communication
SW 356 Social Work Practice II: Groups and Families

Professional Affiliations

Loss Survivor Chair and Board Member, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

CASP Survivor of Suicide Loss Representative, National Collaborative on Suicide Prevention

Member, Canadian Association for Social Work Education Field Education Committee

Editorial Review Board Member, Journal of the Society of Social Work and Research

Registered Clinical Social Worker, British Columbia College of Social Workers


Description Day Start End
Winter 2020 Student Hours Wednesday 2:00 PM 5:00 PM
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