Grief, Loss, and Bereavement for Health Care Professionals

Course Author: Ken Doka, PhD.

Self Guided

This course, Grief, Loss, and Bereavement for Health Care Professionals, provides health care professionals from all disciplines information on the process of grief, offers current theories that have relevance to assisting grieving individuals, and identifies sensitivities, skills, and tools to assist the learner in understanding particular factors in various types of loss. Also explored will be the concept of disenfranchised grief, which is a reminder that the experience of grief encompasses far more than the death of a family member or loved one.


By the end of this course, the learner will be able to:

  • Define and differentiate the following concepts: grief, mourning, bereavement, anticipatory grief, complicated grief, disenfranchised grief
  • Sumarize the ways that grieving is experienced and expressed at varied points within the life cycle
  • Describe the process of grief noting manifestations of grief, the typical courses or pathways of grief, and signs that grief may be more complicated
  • Discuss current theories of grief including Worden’s Task Model, The Dual Process Model, and Meaning Reconstruction
  • Describe approaches to grief support and counseling including support groups, rituals, bibliotherapy, and expressive approaches
  • Demonstrate sensitivities to the varied losses persons may experience such as the loss of a parent, spouse/partner, child, or sibling, as well as losses that may be disenfranchised by the larger community
  • Discuss current approaches to complicated grief, noting changes in the DSM-5 as well as sources of referral


Course Outline

  1. Basic Definitions
  2. Developmental Perspectives
  3. The Process of Grief
  4. Current Perspectives of Grief
  5. Counseling the Bereaved Individual: Strategies and Tools
  6. Sensitivities in Counseling Particular Types of Losses
  7. Complications of Grief
  8. Summary
  9. References


Number of Continuing Education Hours for Spiritual Care for Nurses: 23.6

Continuing Nursing Education contact hours are provided in partnership with the Westberg Institute. Spiritual Care Association Nursing Division is accredited as a provider of nursing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.


Number of Continuing Education Hours for Spiritual Care for Social Workers: TBA

This activity is pending approval from the National Association of Social Workers


Number of Continuing Education Hours: 25