Living with Heartbreak: Grief, Loss, and Bereavement

Course Author: Ken Doka, PhD.

This course, Living with Heartbreak: Grief, Loss, and Bereavement, describes the process of grief, offers current theories that have relevance to assisting grieving individuals, and identifies sensitivities, skills and tools to assist health care professionals in 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.
  • Understand 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: 25
Credit towards Board Certification Requirements: 1
Aligns with the following Quality Indicators in What is Quality Spiritual Care in Health Care and How Do You Measure It? (HCCN. 2016).
  • Process Indicator 2.B. All clients are offered the opportunity to have a discussion of religious/spiritual concerns
  • Process Indicator 2.C. An assessment of religious, spiritual, and existential concerns using a structured instrument is developed and documented, and the information obtained from the assessment is integrated into the overall care plan
  • Process Indicator 2.G. End of life and Bereavement Care is provided as appropriate to the population served.
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