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GC 555

Developmentally Based Creative Interventions for Children in Grief

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This comprehensive CEU course approaches creative activities for dealing with children in grief from two very essential viewpoints: developmental theory and attachment theory. The course has two critical objectives for the working grief professional.  The first objective, treated in the text, The Colors of Grief, is to provide a clear background in the developmental phases of growth and concomitant attachment/loss issues. It describes how development affects a child’s experience of loss. The book will supply you with an excellent outline that can help you choose age appropriate activities to deal with a child’s grief. 

The second objective is to provide you with practical activities that can be adapted to the child’s developmental stage. Two workbooks were selected to give you a comprehensive selection of activities: Healing Activities for Children in Grief and Why Did You Die?   With these books you will have a collection of hundreds of creative activities that are easily staged but provide very clearly defined grief objectives. It is my hope that these materials will give you a complete approach to creative approaches to child grief in both individual and support group settings. Course Code: GC 555. Contact hours of Education= 30.

This course is particularly designed for those who are already or were recently certified by the American Academy of Grief Counseling, and are now seeking Certification as a Certified Grief Counselor in Child/Adolescent Grief.

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 two (3) required books for the course.  They are available at Amazon.Com at discounted prices. 

The Colors of Grief.  Janis. A. Di Ciacco, Ph.D.  Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008 ISBN: 978-1-84310-886-3

Why Did You Die?  Activities to Help Children Cope with Grief and Loss.  Erika Leeuwenburgh, LPC and Ellen Goldring, LPC.   New Harbinger Publications, 2008
ISBN - 13:978-1-57224-604-1

Healing Activities for Children in Grief.  Gay McWhorter, M.Ed.  Published by Gay McWhorter, 2003.  ISBN: 978-0-9763035-0-3

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 30 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.

BOARD APPROVALS: The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. is a licensed Continuing Education Provider in the State of California, Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15595. Access information

Online Classroom Resouces and Tools

* Message Boards: each specialty program has an area to "post" on the message board. Students may post messages at anytime. Posting allows students to converse with those in the same specialty practice and to discuss issues/course content etc. Instructions for posting are provided in the online classrooms.

* Chat Rooms: each specialty has it's own unique "chat room." Inside of the classroom there is a schedule for "chat time" with students in your specific specialty practice. Participating in "chats" is voluntary. The chat sessions are used as means for students to come together and discuss course content or anything related to the courses and/or certification specialty.

* Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as "open book" tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.

* Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page "Student Resource Center." The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.

* Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.

* Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor's online resume/biography, as well as your instructor's specific contact information.

* Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional "readings" and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.



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

1.   To discuss loss and separation in children.

2.   To define the role of bonding and attaching in a child’s life.

3.   To define and illustrate the uniqueness of childhood bereavement.

4.   To identify the effects of loss on a child’s life over the years.

5.   To describe insecure attachment disorders. 

6.   To identify and explain the prism of emotions present in a child’s grief journey.

7.   To explain the manifestation of anxiety and fear in children.

8.   To describe “anger” as a grief response in children.

9.   To evaluate the role of shame and guilt in childhood loss. 

10.  To recognize depression as a grief response in children.
11.  To apply the “stages” of grief to the child.

12.  To provide examples of how children react in the various phases of grief.

13.  To describe how normal grief is experienced by children.

14.  To compare and contrast the various developmental stages in children.

15.  To describe and provide examples for the “Birth to Toddler” developmental stage.

16.  To describe and illustrate the elements of cognitive reasoning, social/emotional reasoning and moral reasoning in children in the Birth/Toddler stage.

17.  To analyze the significant features of the “Toddler to Early Childhood” developmental stage.

18.  To describe and illustrate the cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of the Toddler/Early Childhood stage.

19.  To identify and analyze the major features of the “Middle Childhood” stage.
20.  To describe and illustrate the cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of the Middle Childhood developmental stage.

21.  To evaluate the strategies to help a grieving child in each developmental stage. 

22.  To discuss the characteristics of the “Transitional Period” of adolescence in grief.

23.  To describe and illustrate the cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of the transitional developmental stage.

24.  To review and evaluate therapeutic activities to deal with childhood grief.

25.  To describe and define the objectives for a variety of creative activities to engage a child in healing grief. 

26.  To provide a variety of activities for each developmental stage of childhood. 

Course Content:

A brief abstract of content:

1.   Loss and Separation
           Bonding and Attaching
           Uniqueness of Childhood Bereavement
           Social Dysfunction and Attachment Theory
            Hidden Regulators

2.   The Variety of Childhood Grief Emotions and their Manifestation
            Fear and Anxiety
            Shame and Guilt
            Depression, Withdrawal Indifference and Despair                           

3.   The Phases of Grief in Children

4.   Grief Through the Developmental Stages
             Birth/Toddler (0-2)
             Toddler/Early Childhood (2-6)
             Middle Childhood (6-10)
             Early Adolescence (11-15)
             Middle Adolescence (15-17)
             Late Adolescence (17-mid twenties)

5.   Creative Strategies for Each Developmental Group:
               Activities to Solicit Feeling
               Activities to Solicit Difference Feelings About Death
               Activities to Show How People Grieve Differently
               Activities to Help Children Find Support Systems
               Activities to Show It’s O.K. to be Happy Although Grieving
               Activities to Create Memorial Rituals
               Healing Activities for Use in Support Groups

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