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Course Description

Examine key theories and approaches for assessing and addressing grief for couples and families. Apply a systems approach to grief therapy, and consider factors impacting the griever and grief counselling. Explore the types of grief, symptoms, issues, and phases of grief.

Enhance your capacity and confidence through in-class practice that utilizes assessment and therapeutic approaches to support and assist clients. You will be encouraged to explore your own grieving experience, in order to minimize the effect of unresolved grief when working with a grieving client.

This course is designed for counsellors, therapists, social workers, mental health workers, and pastoral care/faith-based and other practitioners seeking to build or enhance their practical skills and theoretical foundation in couple and family therapy, as well as those exploring therapy as a career.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify factors impacting grief and grief counselling (e.g., historical, demographic, psychological, sociological, cultural, religious, political, economic, human development, etc.)
  • Summarize and critique key research and writings in the field of grief therapy
  • Accurately recall and skillfully apply appropriate models of assessment and grief therapy when working with couples and/or family members
  • Apply grief therapy awareness and therapeutic skills to different types of grief, such as anticipated, normal, delayed, complicated, traumatic, prolonged, disenfranchised, chronic, cumulative, collective, distorted, secondary, masked, etc.
  • Apply grief therapy awareness and therapeutic skills to various grief issues, such as attachment, intergenerational, sudden death, post-trauma, grief-induced depression, children and youth, secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, resilience, etc.
  • Demonstrate awareness of one’s own experience with grief to minimize the effect that unresolved grief may have when facilitating grief therapy with clients

Course Topics

  • Distinguishing grief therapy for couples and families from grief therapy for individuals
  • Grief therapy theory and methods
  • Factors impacting grief and grief counselling (e.g., historical, demographic, psychological, sociological, cultural, religious, political, economic, human development, etc.)
  • Diagnostic criteria and assessment (e.g., DM-5, ICD-11, etc.).
  • Types of grief (anticipated, normal, delayed, complicated – including traumatic or prolonged, disenfranchised or ambiguous, chronic, cumulative, masked, distorted or exaggerated, inhibited, secondary loss, abbreviated, absent, multiple losses, etc.)
  • The griever (e.g., grieving styles, process, therapist relationship, tools for connection, the physicality of grief, secondary losses [i.e., meaning/purpose/self, community-related, workplace-related, immigration/emigration issues])
  • Grief therapy modalities (e.g., eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, neurofeedback, choice therapy, reality therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, mindfulness, expressive art therapy, rituals, storytelling, etc.)
  • Bereavement (e.g., medical assistance in dying, sudden death [homicide, suicide, drug & alcohol related deaths], death in a family, etc.)
  • Caregiver resiliency (e.g., caring for those with chronic or terminal related diseases, grief support groups, etc.)
  • Growth and development in grief (e.g., working with longer term clients, resiliency, mindfulness, spirituality, etc.)

Additional Requirements

  • Prerequisite course: Theories and Methods of Family Therapy: Foundations of the Field.
  • Note: If you wish to take the course but have not completed the prerequisite, please email Beverley Fretz, manager, program development.
  • In addition to the 36-40 hours of classroom-based instruction, you can expect to spend 5-10 hours to complete the readings for the course. Some assessment components are completed during the four-day course, and other(s) are completed in a one- to four-week period following the completion of the classroom-based component. You can expect to spend approximately 10-15 hours completing the course assignment(s).

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

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