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GC 590

Strategies for Pet Loss Grief Recovery

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Course INformation

This course is a continuation of the immediate previous required course and focuses on various interventions and strategies that may be implemented for those grieving from pet loss. The book used in the course is authored by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Study in this course is on the "human-animal" relationship. Students will examine issues of grief related closely to the relationships that exist between people and their pets. Such relationships are well defined and provide the foundation from which effective strategies may be used in working with the bereaved from loss of a pet. Study topics include issues related to guilt, crying, the surreal state, stress reactions and other major psycho-social dynamics related to emotions. Course Code: GC 590. Contact hours of continuing education = 30.

This course is specifically designed for those who are studying to meet the education requirements for the Certification in Pet-Loss Grief Counseling.

Pre-requisites: to enroll in this course, you must have successfully completed the following courses offered by the American Academy of Grief Counseling: GC 400, GC 410, GC 580 and GC 585.

Instructor/Course Author:

Jennifer Melvin, BSW, MSW, LCSW, CT

Link to resume                    

TIME FRAME:You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the required courses in the Pet-Loss Grief Counseling program. 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.

 Textbook: There is one required textbook for this course:

Honoring the Journey: A Guided Path Through Pet Loss. By Dr. KaLee R. Pasek, DVM. BookSurge Publishing (April 21, 2009): ISBN-10: 1439228639 ISBN-13: 978-1439228630

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: AIHCP is an approved provider of continuing education by the Florida Board of Nursing and the District of Columbia Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975. 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:

  • Identify common thoughts that accompany the grieving process
  • Identify common emotions that accompany the grieving process
  • Discuss the healing process of grieving the loss of a pet
  • List the benefits of deep breathing
  • Define surreal
  • Discuss the experience of a surreal state
  • Discuss the role blame plays in the grieving process
  • Identify helpful ways to support the grieving process
  • Discuss the pain of loss
  • Identify the impact regret can have on the grieving process
  • Discuss crying in response to a loss
  • Discuss the role a therapist plays in supporting a grieving pet owner with decisions about the pet’s belongings
  • Describe the benefits of memorializing a pet
  • Identify ways to honor a pet
  • Identify stress after a pet loss
  • Identify the benefits of exercise after a loss
  • State obstacles to moving through the grieving process
  • Identify common questions that follow a loss
  • Discuss how time plays a part in the grieving process
  • Describe the natural response to change in life
  • Discuss the commonality of experiencing a pet’s presence after their death
  • Discuss the uniqueness of grief experiences
  • Identify the benefits of allowing emotions to unfold & be experienced
  • Know more about those consumed by grief
  • Identify ways a grieving individual can look forward

Course Content

Emotions of grief
Healing through grief
Processing emotions of loss
Stress and loss
Deep breathing
Surreal state
Asking “why” after a loss
Unresolved grief
Pain from loss
Feeling the presence of a deceased pet
Grief experiences and uniqueness
Handling pets belongings after the pet’s death
Memorializing a pet
Honoring a pet
Time and healing
Being consumed by grief
Grief and depression


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