Grief Counselling

Grief Counselling distance learning course. Learn about the grieving process and supporting people through grief. Professional development for trainee counsellors, social workers, and more.

Course Code: BPS209
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Study Grief Counselling by Distance Learning

 

Understand more about grief, the stages of grief and how to help people who are grieving.

Dealing with grief can be a very challenging time for those experiencing it. Observing someone suffering from grief and being unable to help them can be equally distressing. Grief is a term used to describe all the thoughts, behaviour and feelings that occur after someone goes through a bereavement. A bereavement is any event that includes a loss. We may experience loss through the death of someone close to us, or a relationship breakdown, divorce, theft, a disability, illness, miscarriage and so on.

There is no “right” way to respond to a death, people will cope with a death in their own way. The way they respond will be affected by their relationship with the person who has died, their own upbringing, their previous reactions to losses, their other relationships, and so forth.

There are many different responses to grief, which are totally normal, and doctors, counsellors and psychiatrists may be reluctant to diagnose a person as mentally ill during a bereavement. They may provide support to help the person grieve.

A grief counsellor can help the mourning process by allowing a person to move through the stages of grief in a relationship that is supportive and confidential. The grief counsellor will try to help the person to accept their loss and talk about it. They will encourage them to identify and express their feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, helplessness and anxiety.

What our students are saying about this course: 

"Being able to apply myself to distance education for the topic that interests me has been invaluable. Living in a remote area has a number of disadvantages. The lack of access to continuing education is one of great importance. Successfully completing the Grief Counselling course has enabled me to think ahead and possibly attempt future studies on this much needed issue."

Mary Ann Cohen, Australia

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Nature and Scope of Grief and Bereavement
    • Understanding loss
    • Society's views on loss
    • Coping with loss
    • Knowing what to expect
    • Mourning
    • Living with grief
    • Terminology
    • Types of grief
  2. Stages of Grief
    • Common stages
    • Duration of grief
    • Denial
    • Anger
    • Bargaining
    • Depression
    • Acceptance
    • Tasks of mourning
    • Criticism
    • Mourning process in Judaism (case study)
    • Response to loss and grieving
    • Not coping
  3. Grief and Children
    • Grief for children up to three years old
    • Grief for 3 to 6 year old
    • Grief for 7 - 8 year old
    • Grief for children 9 years and older
    • Preparing a child for death
    • Sudden death
    • After a death
    • Funerals
    • Typical child responses to grief
    • Case studies
    • Feelings about suicide
    • Supporting a grieving child
    • Help from family and friends
    • Guidelines for letting children know what is and is not acceptable
    • Children with serious problems with loss and grief
  4. Grief and Adolescents
    • Grief as a unique adolescent experience
    • Adolescent responses: remoteness, anger, abuse, tears, egocentrism, sense of universality, etc.
    • Helping the grieving adolescent
    • Difference between adolescent and adult grief experience
  5. Adjustment to Bereavement
    • What is grief
    • Accept the loss
    • Feel the pain
    • Adjust, Adapt, etc.
    • Grief counselling
    • Counsellors response and intervention
  6. Abnormal Grief
    • Complicated grief reactions
    • Worden's categories of complicated grief reactions
    • Causes of abnormal grief
    • Post traumatic stress disorder
    • Symptoms and treatment of PTSD
    • Loss of children in pregnancy: ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage
    • Supporting people with complicated grief
    • Managing grief after a disaster
    • The course of bereavement
    • Complications of bereavement
    • Traumatic grief
    • Risk factors for complications of bereavement
    • Treating bereaved individuals
    • Role of the professional in early stages of disaster bereavement
  7. Preparing for Grief and Bereavement
    • Socio cultural influences on the grief process
    • Grief and terminal illness
    • Preparing for an approaching death
    • Practical preparations
    • Emotional responses of the dying
    • Responses of family and friends
  8. Future Outlook and Long-Term Grief
    • Psychological aspects of long term grief
    • Chronic illness and grief case study
    • Disabled child case study
    • Strategies for handling long term grief: guided mourning, support groups, medication, etc.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe the nature and scope of grief and bereavement counselling and individuals’ attitudes to grief.
  • To identify through continuing exploration, the meaning and responses of a wide range of loss situations, taking cultural variations into account.
  • To describe the different ways that children may respond to grief and to develop appropriate strategies for helping them to cope.
  • Determine the different ways that adolescents may respond to grief and to examine how these perspectives have translated into counselling practice
  • Describe the different means through which individuals are able to adjust to loss and to consider other options available to them.
  • Describe when an individual’s response to grief may be considered abnormal and to discuss methods of assisting such individuals.
  • Define the different ways of preparing for grief and bereavement and to consider social, cultural and psychological perspectives.
  • Describe separation, loneliness, the effects of long-term grief and long-term counselling support strategies.

What You Will Do

  • List euphemisms for dying.
  • Consider factors that can help set the conditions for the good death.
  • Discuss the ways that a wake or funeral service can be of help to mourners.
  • Discuss contemporary attitudes toward death in society and how they affect the treatment of dying.
  • Describe the stages of grief.
  • Explain why people pass through different stages at different times and not in a particular order.
  • List mechanisms available to help a counsellor support someone who is grieving.
  • Describe ways in which children might respond to grief.
  • Explain why different children respond to grief in different ways.
  • Describe counselling strategies for supporting the grieving child.
  • Research how adolescents respond to grief.
  • Outline counselling strategies for supporting the grieving adolescent.
  • List suicide prevention strategies.
  • Explain in general how we adjust to loss.
  • List some dangers of loss.
  • Describe some alternatives for loss recovery.
  • Research how bereavement affects survivors.
  • Describe some abnormal responses to grief, and how they are determined to be abnormal.
  • Describe some treatment methods for assisting a person suffering from abnormal grief.
  • Briefly describe symptoms of PTSD.
  • Discuss socio-cultural perspectives in preparing for grief and bereavement.
  • Research physiological and psychological effects of separation and loneliness in the aged.
  • Describe some effects of long term grief.
  • Outline some long term counselling support strategies.

Grief is Different for Every Individual

 

Holidays, anniversaries, Christmas and so on can be difficult times for the bereaved, as they can remind us of the person they have lost. Grief can be worse at these times of year. There is no single way to grieve. Everyone is different and each person grieves in his or her own way. However, some stages of grief are commonly experienced by people when they are bereaved.

Feeling emotionally numb is usually the first reaction to a loss, and perhaps lasts for a few hours or days. In some ways this numbness may help the person get through the practical arrangements and family pressures that surround the funeral, but if this phase goes on for too long, it could be a problem.
The numbness may be replaced by a deep yearning for the person who has died. The person may feel agitated or angry, and find it difficult to concentrate, relax or sleep. They may also feel guilty, dwelling on arguments they may have had with the dead person or on emotions and words they wished they had expressed.

This period of strong, often volatile emotions usually gives way to bouts of depression, sadness, silence and withdrawal from family and friends. During this time, the person may be prone to sudden outbursts of tears, set off by reminders and memories of the dead person.

Over time, the pain, sadness and depression begins to lessen. The person begins to see their life in a more positive light again, although, it is important to acknowledge that they may never completely overcome the feeling of loss.

The final phase of grieving is to let go of the person who has died and move on with life. This helps any lingering depression to clear, and sleeping patterns and energy levels return to normal.

The grieving process takes time and should not be hurried. The loss of a significant other often involves the survivor learning to cope and adjust to their loss.  Mourning behaviours and rituals differ between societies and religious groups in both their form and their duration.

Grief and depression are different. We can be grieving without being depressed. Grief is a typical reaction to a loss. It does not mean we have to become depressed as well. However, some of the symptoms are similar. But, about 33% of bereaved people have a depressive illness one month after their loss, with 15% still being depressed a year later.

A person may be depressed if they are also experiencing strong feelings of guilt not related to the bereavement, thoughts of suicide and dying, feeling worthless, slow speech and movements, staying in bed for long periods, inability to function socially, hallucinations about the deceased person.

Some people are more prone to experience depression after bereavement, for example, if they have a history of depression, intense grief, few social supports and little experience of death. However, this does not mean that if a person has these characteristics that they will have depression after bereavement.

Grief Counselling Can Help

After bereavement, family and friends may support us, but sometimes this is not enough. Sadness is a typical and natural reaction. We may want to discuss the deceased person, will probably become upset when we do.

If a person is also thought to be suffering from depression, antidepressants may be prescribed by a doctor. Antidepressants treat the depression, but they do not have an effect on the underlying problem – their grief. Untreated depression can make it harder for the person to cope with their grief though.

There are many different responses to grief, which are totally normal, and doctors, counsellors and psychiatrists may be reluctant to diagnose a person as mentally ill during a bereavement. They may provide support to help the person grieve.

A grief counsellor can help the mourning process by allowing a person to move through the stages of grief in a relationship that is supportive and confidential. The grief counsellor will try to help the person to accept their loss and talk about it. They will encourage them to identify and express their feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, helplessness and anxiety.

The grief counsellor will also help the person live without the deceased, encouraging them to make decisions alone. They may need to separate emotionally from the deceased and form new relationships. The grief counsellor will also provide support and identify ways of coping with the bereavement. The grief counsellor will also help the person to realise that what they are experiencing is normal and a typical response to grief, that they are not “going mad”.

There are organizations, such as Cruse and Compassionate Friends, who are able to offer grief counselling support, as well as counsellors who may specialise in grief counselling.

Who Can Benefit From This Course

This course covers a specialist area of counselling which is relevant to many counsellors and other therapists. Grief and loss affect us all and until we are faced with such circumstances, we can never be quite sure how we will react. Children too, have their own coping mechanisms. This course equips students with a thorough understanding of how grief and loss can affect individuals and strategies to help them deal with these occurrences.

This course is primarily aimed at people working in, or aspiring to work in:

  • Psychology

  • Counselling

  • Psychotherapy

  • Social work

  • Funeral services

  • Nursing

  • Aged care

  • Caring roles

  • Health professions
     

ACS is an Organisational Member of the Association for Coaching (UK).

ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

Principal John Mason is a member of the ANZMH. ACS Students are invited to join


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo

Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience.
Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jade Sciascia

Former Business Coordinator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Administrator (Recruitment), Senior Supervisor (Youth Welfare). International Business Manager for IARC. Academic officer and writer with ACS for over 10 years, both in Australia and in the UK.

Jacinda Cole

Jacinda has expertise in psychology and horticulture. She holds a BSc (hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. In horticulture she has a Certificate in Garden Design and ran her own landscaping and garden design business for a number of years. Jacinda also has many years experience in course development and educational writing.

Lyn Quirk

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriott. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has among her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

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