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GC 530



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Course Information

This comprehensive course explores the principles and propositions of the revisionist theory of "meaning reconstruction" as it applies to grief and bereavement. The course examines the current body of research that argues for a more dynamic concept of loss that goes beyond stage or task theory.  Meaning reconstruction positions the concept of grief on the constructivist process of meaning making and on a reworking of the griever's assumptive world. The course elucidates this grief theory as a highly subjective and social process in which the bereaved - rather than withdrawing energy from the deceased - constructs a new world of meaning as a result of the experience of loss.  As the student appraises this contemporary paradigm, he/she will develop a fresh understanding of the role of grief and loss in changing the life perception of the griever.  The student will also assess meaning making strategies and therapist dialog in order to apply the theory of meaning reconstruction as a technique in grief counseling.

The reading in this course is extensive and presumes that students have a good understanding of the process of grief as described in stage and task theory.  Readings have been chosen from a variety of grief theorists in order to furnish the student with a thorough understanding of the rich dimensions of this approach.  Upon successful completion of this course, students are awarded 40 contact hours of continuing education credits by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. Course Code: GC 530

This course is particularly designed for those who are already or were recently certified by the American Academy of Grief Counseling, and are seeking continuing education to meet re-certification requirements.

Instructor/Course Author:

Rosemary A. Castelli, Ed.D., MA, BA, SMC-C, GC-C 
Certified Funeral Celebrant
Certified Grief Counselor  

Link to resume                    

Email: Dr.RosemaryCastelli@gmail.com

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete this course. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the course within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an "incomplete" will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the course after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

Textbooks: There are three (3) required books and one article for this course:

Lessons of  Loss: A Guide to Coping.  Robert A. Neimeyer.  Memphis, TN: Center for the Study of Loss and Transition, 2006. ISBN-10: 0978955617 ISBN-13: 978-0978955618

Bearing Witness to the Story: Narrative Reconstruction in Grief Counseling. Peggy Whiting and Elizabeth James.  (7 pages) This article can be accessed online at www.counselingoutfitters.com/James.htm   You are required to read the entire article.

Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss.  Robert A. Neimeyer, editor.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001.  ISBN-10: 1557987424 ISBN-13: 978-1557987426

AIHCP Online Bookstore: AIHCP provides an online bookstore stocked with all of the required textbooks, and/or materials required for its CE courses. To purchase this book online, click the access store link, go to the table of categories, right upper hand corner, and click on Grief Counseling. Access AIHCP Store: click here

GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 40 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by the American Academy of Grief Counseling and options for completing additional course work to achieve a passing score, will be presented.

ONLINE COMMUNITY MESSAGE BOARDS: Enrolled students have full access to our online Student Community Message Boards. These message boards allow students in our CE courses to meet each other, communicate online, share information, discuss topics of study and interest and much more. Full access is provided via the online classrooms.

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

  • Review and discuss the universality of loss in human life.
  • Explain the anatomy of grief.
  • Identify and analyze the typical course of adjustment during the first two years of a major loss.
  • Define the duration of normal grief.
  • Recognize and describe the characteristics of complicated mourning.
  • Identify and explain types of loss.
  • Describe relationship loss as it relates to grief.
  • Examine the difference between relationship loss and loss through death.
  • Explain the trajectory in loss.
  • Explain and analyze the activities involved in the grieving process.
  • Identify and describe the challenges inherent in mourning.
  • Describe the central place of relating to others in the context of loss.
  • Evaluate the efficacy of "telling our story" in grief work.
  • Describe gender differences in grieving.
  • Identify and apply the essential prescriptions for adapting to loss.
  • Recognize the value and purpose of ritualizing loss.

  • Identify and explain the propositions that derive from a meaning reconstruction view of grief and bereavement.
  • Analyze and evaluate the criteria for meaning reconstruction as a useful grief theory.
  • Describe and evaluate the propositions that underlie good clinical practice using meaning reconstruction.
  • Explain grief work in terms of the interdependent systems connected to self, family and society.
  • Understand and evaluate the role of culture, gender and spirituality in meaning reconstruction.
  • Formulate and practice specific applications of meaning reconstruction in counseling settings.
  • Apply narrative reconstruction to grief counseling.
  • Formulate counseling questions which initiate meaning making in grievers.
  • Compare and contrast the psychoanalytic theory of grief with meaning reconstruction.
  • Explain the concept of "relearning the world."
  • Distinguish between meaning making and meaning finding.
  • Describe the process through which posttraumatic growth occurs.
  • Examine the factors that may promote positive aspects of loss.
  • Describe the outcomes of research into the positive outcomes of loss.
  • Explain and evaluate the value of remembering.
  • Provide examples of the value of translating memory into story telling.
  • Explain the concept of haunting loss.
  • Describe and evaluate the "account-making and confiding model" of dealing with loss.
  • Recognize how meaning reconstruction is essential to grieving.
  • Extract from therapy dialog techniques useful in helping grievers in meaning making.

Course Content:

A brief abstract of content:

The experience of loss
Love and loss
The activity of grieving
Context and connection in loss
Ritual and renewal in loss
Meaning reconstruction and the experience of loss
Dimensions of diversity in the reconstruction of meaning
Personal applications and strategies for meaning making
Narrative reconstruction in grief counseling
A new psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of mourning
Making and finding meanings
Posttraumatic growth
Positive Outcomes of losing a loved one
The construction of accounts of loss and hope
Grief therapy as a process of meaning reconstruction

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