Estelle Hopmeyer, Associate Professor - Retired

Estelle Hopmeyer


Estelle Hopmeyer was in her final year of a BA in economics and political science at McGill in 1962 when she began volunteering at Neighborhood House. She worked with after school groups of children and teenagers. It was this experience that led her to a career in social work. In her first year of study with specialization in group work she was assigned to a placement at University Settlement on St Urbain Street. Part of her work consisted of running an after school group for kids which included home visits. This experience convinced Estelle that her choice of social work was a good decision. She joined the Faculty of the School of Social Work at McGill in 1970 and in addition to her teaching and scholarly activities has invested herself in group work, particularly issues of bereavement and non-bereavement loss. Besides her roles as a teacher and group leader, Estelle has served as student ombudsperson, Associate & Acting Director of the School of Social Work and President of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, to name just a few of her contributions. She is also very active in community service. She served on the Health Canada Consultative Committee for English speaking minority communities and the regional committee for access to health and social services in English (Montreal). Presently she is on the Board of CSSS Cavendish serving as second vice president and chairperson of the Director General Evaluation Committee. She also serves as consultant to many self-help groups in the community.


Estelle Hopmeyer completed her B.A, and M.S.W. at McGill. During her second year M.S.W. field placement at the YWCA, as leader for a group of West Indian domestic workers, Estelle found her niche. As facilitator helping group members make connections to help one another Estelle became convinced of the power of group work.

After the completion of her degree, Estelle worked at a branch of the YMHA Neighbor Hood House for three years. She was then recruited by the School of Social Work to become a field instructor for a unit of group work students at the Douglas Hospital. The introduction of the Bachelor of Social Work led Estelle to the Faculty of the School as director of field instruction.

The creation of the Center for Loss and Bereavement at the School provided an opportunity to learn more about bereavement. It also allowed graduates to work as group facilitators with consultative peer group supervision. Along with Maureen McCrory, Estelle developed a course on the subject which evolved to include issues surrounding life-threatening illness and non-bereavement loss.

The course aimed to not only inspire students to spearhead their own groups but have helped students become more comfortable with death by giving them the intuitive and professional tools needed to support people through loss.    

Estelle's mode of teaching is student-centered and she has an open door policy for students and potential applicants.



M.S.W.(McGill University) 1964

B.A.(McGill University) 1962



1999 - 2000 Acting Associate Dean, Graduate Studies

McGill University, School of Social Work


2002 - 2005 Acting Director School of Social Work

McGill University, School of Social Work


2005 (July-Dec.) Acting Associate Dean Graduate and Post-Doctoral Studies

McGill University, School of Social Work


1975 - 2015 Associate Professor

McGill University, School of Social Work


1972 – 1975 Assistant Professor

McGill University, School of Social Work


Areas of interest

  • Loss & Bereavement: suicide HIV/AIDS. Non bereavement loss e.g. mental illness, loss of relationship, loss of country, child welfare. Disenfranchised grief (non-recognized grievers).
  • Group Work – social work practice with groups: practice issues, program design & evaluation. Self-help/mutual aid and social support.
  • Ethics and social work practice.
  • Access to English language service.

Description of current research

Estelle's current research addresses access to English language health services throughout Quebec. As part of the McGill Human Resource and Development Project, Hopmeyer is establishing a series of bilingual field placements in areas such as social work, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nutrition communication disorders, in the regions of Quebec. To support theses placement she is assisting in the piloting of an online supervision course for field supervision as well as French written and oral courses. Specifically targeted to Social Work and Nursing students. The project will also be developing a professional support program utilizing the Telehealth Network.


Recent grants

2009-2013, McGill Health Dialogue, Health Canada, $19 million, Carman Lamber (PI), Estelle Hopmeyer, Helene-Riel Salvatore.

2003 – 2008 Co-Investigator McGill Human Resources and Development Project, Health Canada - $11, 5 M

1994 Research Program Competition for Programs of Applied Research, Invited as Research Co-investigator in NHRDP Seniors Independent

1992 "A Comparative Study of Four Bereavement Groups" Werk A., Hopmeyer E.


Hopmeyer, E. Book Chapter - Death, Loss, and Bereavement: The role of social work (pages 79-96) Title: Teaching Death and Dying Edited by: Christopher M. Moreman Press: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Hopmeyer, E. Book Review for Canadian Social Work Review., Vol 21 (2), 2004.

Hopmeyer, E., Worker Self-Disclosure in Group Work. Social Work with Groups: Social Justice through Personal, Community and Societal Change. 2003.

Lindsay, J., Turcotte, D., Hopmeyer, E. Crossing Frontiers. AASWG, 2000, Howarth press.