Counselor Education 637

COED 637: Death, Loss and Grief Counseling

Prerequisites: COED 610 and COED 611 or faculty approval

Credit Hours: (3)

This course provides students with a personal and professional understanding of death, grief, and loss responses. Theories and models of death and loss will be presented. Both didactic and experiential methods of instruction will be utilized.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course presents a comprehensive overview of the primary models and theoretical orientations of death, loss and grief counseling. Didactic and experiential teaching methods will be utilized to provide the student with an opportunity to examine the impact of personal loss experiences as they relate to counseling approaches with dying and bereaved individuals. A theoretical framework and how it can be effectively applied to grieving and bereaved individuals across the life-span will be presented.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will be conducted primarily in a seminar style and will consist of class discussions, small group sharing and processing and brief lectures. Additionally, there will be in-class simulations and role-plays of various grief counseling approaches and specific counseling techniques. The student will be expected to maintain a "loss" journal throughout the semester examining his or her personal loss issues, reactions to class discussions, readings, etc. An individual paper will serve as the capstone of this course. Each student will develop a paper on some facet of death, grief and loss studies and will present a summary of his or her paper to the class.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this class, the student will have:

1. an understanding of the role death and loss play in our society and culture;
2. information on models of death, dying, loss and adaptation to loss;
3. an increased ability to provide effective therapeutic interventions to individuals and families experiencing a death, loss or grief response;
4. learned clinical applications of counseling strategies and treatment approaches;
5. an increased awareness and acknowledgment of his or her own mortality;
6. examined current research findings and concerns in a specific area of death, grief and bereavement;
7. greater sensitivity towards ethical issues relevant to death, loss and grief;
8. gained an increased understanding of self through examination of personal losses and impact they play in his/her role as a counselor.


Assessment Measures

1) Class attendance and active participation. Student will be assessed based on his or her involvement and contributions with in-class discussions, role plays and simulations.
2) Participation in small groups. Groups will be formed by the second class meeting. Time will be set aside for groups to meet in most of the class sessions; the purpose of the small groups are for personal awareness and growth.
3) Journal entries will form a core component of the students personal and professional awareness. Thoroughness and creativity of presentation of thoughts, feelings, reactions, observations or whatever else may have been experienced in class or through the readings will be considered appropriate for this assignment.
4) Individual paper and presentation. Each student will conduct a literature review, write a paper and present to the class the findings on some facet of personal and/or professional interest in the area of death, grief and loss studies.


Other Course Information

Outside readings will be assigned, based on each students specific area of interest in death and loss studies, throughout the semester from the attached list. There will be the use of outside speakers and additional activities outside of class such as a visit to a hospice program, funeral home, etc. This will be contingent upon the interest of the class participants.


Review and Approval
April 1999 Revised