Details for Grief and Loss

This is a second-year core subject that builds on counselling practices, introducing students into the specialist skills and knowledge that will enable them to support those who seek help in grief and loss contexts. This subject examines uncomplicated and complicated grief processes and provides diverse opportunities for insight and personal reflection into the theories of grief and loss.  Students will develop principles and practices for grief and loss counselling enabling them to support those who are suffering grief due to bereavement or other significant losses.

Quick Info

  • Currently offered by Alphacrucis: Yes
  • Course code: SSC212
  • Credit points: 10
  • Subject coordinator: Sharon Garro


The following courses are prerequisites:

Awards offering Grief and Loss

This unit is offered as a part of the following awards:

Unit Content


  1. Explain the way our understanding of the dynamics of attachment grief and loss have changed over time; the different situations in which they may occur and the impact of culture on grief and its resolution;
  2. Identify one’s own emotions in relation to death and dying and one’s capacity to express them to develop a personal theology of life and death and a self-care plan;
  3. Distinguish between uncomplicated and complicated grief processes and the behaviours individuals may use to resolve grief;
  4. Empathise with and appropriately support those who grieve within a framework of self-care.

Subject Content

  • Match potential interventions to need in unresolved grief
  • Cultural patterns of grief and mourning
  • Attachment theory & loss
  • The nature of phases and tasks of grief – spiritual, emotional, physical and interpersonal aspects
  • The causes of grief reactions e.g. loss of a child, loss of a spouse, suicide and murder, divorce, abortion, loss of employment/ vocation, loss of health
  • The nature and meaning of death - medical, cultural and Biblical perspectives, the process of dying, relating to and meeting the needs of the dying and those caring for them, reasons for a funeral
  • Recognise the dimensions of the normal uncomplicated grief process and facilitating grieving
  • Counselling in relation to the grief process and its various consequences
  • The needs of the dying, and the needs of those experiencing grief from various losses
  • Helpful and unhelpful support
  • Complicated grief reactions and their appropriate management
  • Strategies to prevent the counsellor becoming over-involved
  • Appraise the counsellor’s personal grief by examining grief theories and designing a presentation for a learning journal
  • Case studies examining uncomplicated and complicated grief responses, and grief responses in different settings as well as grief responses due to different sorts of significant losses
  • Resilience, abuse and trauma
  • Grief into change, loss into gain – hope in grief and loss

This course may be offered in the following formats

  • Onsite (face-to-face)
  • Online (eLearning)
  • Intensives
  • Extensives

Please consult your course prospectus or enquire about how and when this course will be offered next at Alphacrucis University College.

Assessment Methods

  • Case Studies (20%)
  • Critical Reflection (40%)
  • Research Essay (40%)

Prescribed Text

  • Worden, J. (2018). Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (5th ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Please consult your instructor prior to purchasing any textbooks.