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GC 420


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Course Information

This online CE course provides students with a comprehensive study of Grief Therapy as used today in counseling modalities. Students will study attachment theory, loss and the experiences of grief and the process of mourning. Bowlby's Attachment Theory is presented in-depth in this course and mental health professionals will learn how to apply this theory more effectively in grief counseling practice. This leads into an in-depth presentation of abnormal grief reactions, complicated mourning processes, and when to use more advanced modalities of care and counseling. Students will examine many models of loss and mourning as well as learn accompanying effective interventions to use with clients in mental health counseling and therapy sessions. A focus is also presented on tools and criteria for comprehensive assessments of clients experiencing various types of grief reactions. Students will study grief therapies and learn when to refer clients for such. Other important study in this course includes; counseling in groups, grief as a social phenomenon, assessing for the at-risk bereaved, funeral rituals, and much more. Issues of the counselor's own grief and burn-out syndromes are also addressed. Special situations of grief and mourning are also explored, such as sudden death, violent death, suicide, child death, death in the elderly and more. Interventions for working with special situations are presented. Through out this course students will study and critique a large number of abstracts of published research related to grief, mourning, death and dying which will add significantly to their overall knowledge base of the subject. Students will acquire a much broader composite of knowledge and skill sets with which to work with grieving clients upon completing this advanced course. Students will also view six videos related to grief counseling and grief therapy in this course. Upon successful completion of this course, students are awarded 30 contact hours of continuing education credits. Course Code: GC 420.

Level of Course Complexity: Advanced.

This course is particularly designed for those who would like to apply for Certification as a Grief Counselor with the American Academy of Grief Counseling. You must have met at least one of the defined requisites to enter this program, in order to enroll into this course.

Target Audience: Nurses, Physicians, Psychiatrists, Psychologist, Social Work Professionals, Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Mental Health Specialists, School Counselors, Grief Professionals, Trauma Specialists, Crisis Interventionists, Stress Management Consultants, Thanatologists, Pastoral Counselors, Mental Health Care Coaches, Funeral Directors, Ordained Clergy, Rehabilitation Specialists, Substance Abuse Counselors, Spiritual Counselors, other Licensed Health Care Professionals.

Course Refund & AIHCP Policies: access here

Instructor/Course Author:  Dominick L. Flarey, Ph.D, MBA, RN,BC, GC-C
Link to Resume

TEXTBOOKS: There is one (1) required textbook for this course.

Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner (5th edition). By: J. William Worden. New York;Springer Publishing Company:2018.

  • ISBN-10: 0826134742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826134745

Link to Purchase on Amazon.com: click here

Additional Assignment:

Students are also required to view six (6) Videos on topics related to Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy. Videos are accesible from the online classroom.

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the four (4) courses in the Grief Counseling continuing education program. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the courses 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 courses after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

COURSE EVALUATION: upon submitting your responses to the examination questions, you are required to complete the online course evaluation. Course evaluations are accessed from the online classroom. A course evaluation must be completed in order to receive the CE course certificate

Enrollment: There is open enrollment. You may register and begin this course at any time. Registration: access here


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

This course has approvals for Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Nurses, and Marriage and Family Therapists.

Continuing Education credit for this Course is awarded by Commonwealth Educational Seminars for the following professions:

See Commonwealth Important Information & Policies: Access here.

Social Workers: Commonwealth Educational Seminars is entitled to award continuing education credit for Social Workers. Please visit Commonwealth Educational Seminars CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for Social Workers. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Social Workers completing this program will receive 30 clinical hours of clinical continuing education credit.

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors: Commonwealth Educational Seminars is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Professional Counselors/Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Please visit Commonwealth Educational Seminars CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LPCs/LMHCs. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content. LPCs/LMHCs completing this program will receive 30 hours of continuing education credit.

Psychologists: Commonwealth Educational Seminars is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Psychologists will receive 30 hours of continuing education credit upon completing this program.

Marriage and Family Therapists:  Commonwealth Educational Seminars is entitled to award continuing education credit for Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. Please visit Commonwealth Educational Seminars CE CREDIT to see all states that are covered for LMFTs. Commonwealth Educational Seminars maintains responsibility for this program and its content. LMFTs completing this program will receive 30 hours of continuing education credit.

Nurses:  As an American Psychological Association approved provider Commonwealth Educational Seminars programs are accepted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Every state Board of Nursing accepts ANCC approved programs except California and Iowa, however Commonwealth Educational Seminars is also an approved Continuing Education provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing, (Provider Number CEP15567) which is also accepted by the Iowa Board of Nursing. Nurses completing this program receive 30 CE hours of credit.

Note: the cost for obtaining the CE Certificate with these approvals is $ 25.00.


Online Classroom Resources and Tools

* 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.



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

1. Discuss Complicated Bereavement
2. Discuss Disenfranchised Grief and identify two losses directly related to this type of grief.
3. Explain the concept if continuing bonds and how they help with adaptation to losses.
4. Discuss the concept of resilience as it relates to adaptation to losses.
5. Discuss Bowlby's Attachment Theory related to grief and loss.
6. Explain the concept of normal grief.
7. Identify and discuss the major needs and behaviors of the bereaved who experience normal grief.
8. Discuss grief and depression based on published research by mental health professionals.
9. Identify and explain the four major tasks of the mourning process.
10. Identify and discuss three additional models of the mourning process that mental health counseling professionals may use in grief counseling practices.
11. Identify the seven major mediators of the mourning process.
12. Discuss the five natures of attachment to the deceased, of those who grieve and their implications for the grief counseling process.
13. Explain how a person's death impacts the grieving client's process of mourning and the implications for working with the client in grief counseling and grief therapy sessions.
14. Discuss the importance for mental health professionals to assess the client's historical antecedents of grieving.
15. Identify and discuss major client personality variables and how mental health counseling professionals assess these variables to assist in understanding a client's response to loss.
16. Identify five styles of attachment and discuss how mental health counseling professionals use these theories and concepts of attachment in grief counseling and grief therapy sessions with clients.
17. Discuss the concept of cognitive style and how clients various cognitive styles need to be assessed and considered when planning grief counseling and grief therapy interventions.
18. Explain grieving as a social phenomenon.
19. Discuss the concept of when mourning is finished, or if it is ever finished, and the implications for the counselor/client relationship.
20. Identify and discuss the overall goal of grief counseling and the accompanying four tasks of mourning.
21. Explain how mental health professionals use assessment parameters to identify the at-risk bereaved person.
22. Critique four research studies that have been published in which mental health professionals were able to successfully identify predictors of at-risk bereaved clients.
23. Identify and discuss 10 key principles and procedures used in grief counseling and grief therapy that are incorporated today by mental health professionals.
24. Identify and discuss nine useful techniques that are used today, based on a solid understanding of human personality and behavior, in grief counseling and grief therapy practice by mental health professionals.
25. Discuss the concept of process of conducting grief counseling sessions in groups.
26. Identify and discuss the seven key guidelines for setting up groups for grief counseling sessions.
27. Discuss facilitating grief through funeral rituals and the potential therapeutic outcomes for clients in grief counseling programs.
28. List and discuss eight counselor interventions that may assist in making grief counseling and grief therapy sessions more efficacious.
29. Discuss why people fail to grieve; identifying four causative factors.
30. Discuss a definition of complicated bereavement.
31. Discuss the concept of complicated grief as an emerging diagnosis and explain the implications for grief counseling and grief therapy professional practice.
32. Identify and explain an existing model of complicated mourning and how the model is used today in grief counseling and grief therapy practices by mental health professionals.
33. Identify and discuss the two ways that a therapist diagnoses a complicated grief reaction.
34. Identify and discuss the goals and setting of grief therapy.
35. Identify and explain the ten procedures for grief therapy.
36. Discuss the Gestalt Therapy Technique of the Empty Chair and how mental health professionals can effectively use it in grief therapy sessions with clients.
37. Explain how a grief therapist may use dreams when working with a client in grief therapy sessions.
38. Identify and discuss criteria that grief therapists can use to evaluate client results and outcomes from grief therapy sessions.
39. Discuss death by suicide and issues of counseling survivors of victims of suicide, including six key interventions that may use in counseling sessions by grief counselors.
40. Discuss issues related to sudden death and the implications for grief counseling strategies by mental health professionals.
41. Discuss issues related to violent death and the implications for grief counseling strategies by mental health professionals.
42. Discuss SIDS and miscarriages and the implications for grief counseling strategies by mental health professionals.
43. Discuss issues related to grief and loss from abortion and the implications for grief counseling strategies by mental health professionals.
44. Discuss anticipatory grief and its manifestations and interventions for it that may be used in grief counseling and grief therapy sessions by mental health professionals.
45 Discuss issues of grief, loss and mourning related to AIDS and implications for mental health professionals in grief counseling practices.
46. Discuss the death of a child and the manifestations of grief generally experienced by parents and family.
47. Identify ten of the most important findings of the Harvard Child Bereavement Study and discuss their implications for counseling bereaved children.
48. Explain a family intervention approach to counseling families experiencing grief due to the loss of a child.
49. Discuss issues and primary manifestations of grief in the elderly.
50. Discuss five effective interventions that may be used by mental health professionals in grief counseling with the elderly.
51. Discuss the concept of the grief counselor's own grief.
52. Critique your own losses in order to make yourself more effective in your own grief work.
53. Discuss the concept of Professional Burn Out and identify effective ways in which mental health professionals can avoid this phenomenon.
54. Critique several research study outcomes related to mental health professionals and their work with death and dying, and with dying clients.
55. Critique twenty grief sketches, as provided by the textbook's author, as a way to facilitate critical thinking and planning of appropriate strategies for grief counseling sessions based on client's perspectives and identified needs.


A brief abstract of content:

1). Attachment, loss and the experience of grief
2). Attachment Theory and its use in grief counseling
3). Normal Grief Reactions and Assessments
4). Grief and depression and assessments for mental health professionals
5). The Mourning Process and its assessments for mental health professionals
6). The major tasks of mourning
7). Rando's Model of Mourning
8). Rubin's Two Track Model of Mourning
9). Strobe's Dual Process Model
10). The Seven Mediators of Mourning, Assessments and implications for grief counseling in mental health care and practice
11). Grief Counseling and the Facilitation of Uncomplicated Grief
12). Goals of grief counseling for clients and mental health professionals
13). The practice settings for effective grief counseling
14). Assessment parameters for identifying the at-risk bereaved
15). The 10 major grief counseling principles and procedures for working with bereaved clients
16). Most useful techniques to incorporate into grief counseling sessions with clients
17). Principles and practices of conducting grief counseling in group sessions
18). Issues of facilitating grief work through funeral rituals
19). Assessing clients for abnormal grief reactions
20). A model of complicated mourning for use by grief counselors
21). Types of complicated mourning reactions
22). Parameters for the diagnosis of complicated mourning for mental health professionals doing grief work
23). Grief Therapy and resolving complicated mourning
24). The goals of grief therapy for mental health professionals and clients
25). Procedures used for grief therapy used in professional practice by qualified Grief Therapists
26). Special considerations for Grief Therapists when working with complicated clients
27). The use of dreams by Grief Therapists in grief therapy work
28). Assessment guidelines for evaluating client outcomes when using grief therapy
29). The grieving of special types of losses
30). Counseling strategies for survivors of suicide
31). Strategies for counseling survivors of sudden death, SIDS, AIDS, murder, stillbirths
32). Working with grief and family systems
33). Family intervention approaches with survivors of death of a child
34). Interventions for working with grieving children
35). Assessments and interventions for working with grief in the elderly
36). The grief counselor's own grief
37). Preventing stress and burn out in the mental health professional
38). Treating stress and burn out in the mental health professional
39). Training for Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy
40). Clinical case presentations for analysis and critique

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