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Death and grief are part of life. Yet how they are experienced can be influenced by many factors, including culture, stage of life, personal experiences and circumstances surrounding the death. In addition, death continues to be a forbidden topic for many people, making it difficult for the living to acknowledge and work through their grief. The Death, Dying and Bereavement certificate is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and resources to assist them in walking with compassion through the dying and grief journey with clients and patients.

Completion Requirements

To complete the Death, Dying and Bereavement Certificate, you must complete the following workshops:

  • Foundations of Grief
  • Bereaved Parents and Parents of Stillborn and Miscarried Children
  • Complicated Grief
  • Traumatic Bereavement
  • Spirituality, Religion and Self-Care
  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care
  • Grieving Children and Youth
  • Grief Counselling

You must also take one of the following:

  • Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Resilience
  • Mindful Self-Compassion

It is strongly recommended that you take the Foundations of Grief workshop first if you don't not have any prior training or experience working with death or bereavement.

You can complete this certificate in as little as one year or take up to seven years. You do not have to be working toward the Death, Dying and Bereavement Certificate to take any of these courses.


Bereaved Parents and Parents of Stillborn and Miscarried Children

This two day workshop will examine many aspects and needs of parental grief following the death of a child. Regardless of age and/or gestation, the death of a child tends to be a devastating experience for the parent(s), the surrounding family and the community at large. Navigating grief and heartbreak in a society that struggles with both mortality and emotional expression presents additional challenges for bereaved parents. We will examine parental grief following pre- and post-natal death, death of a child by illness, accident and suicide and death of an adult child. Discussions will include the experience of disenfranchised grief due to miscarriage, stillbirth and suicide. The workshop will provide participants with strategies for supporting the individual, couple and family (including siblings) following the death of a child.

Complicated Grief

  • Dates: Next offering December 2019
  • Cost: $175
  • Instructor: Dena Moitoso, MSc, Psych, Registered Psychotherapist
  • Hours: 6

Grief is a naturally complicated experience for those who suffer the loss of a strong attachment. This major life stressor typically manifests in periods of deliberating pain and acute grief that eventually is neutralized with an adaptation to a 'new normal' and a reinvestment in life. For a long time there has been a sensitivity by clinicians and researchers to refrain from pathologizing this natural condition, however the risk for neglecting the signs of an impairing disorder is one of the reasons that complicated grief (CG) has been added to the DSM-V. Evidence indicates that about 10% of bereaved individuals will experience CG.

In this workshop participants will learn:

  • What are the dynamics that complicate grief?
  • The criteria for diagnosis of CG.
  • A review of the assessment tools for CG.
  • Considerations for treatment and how these impact current managed care standards.
  • Political and social norms.

Foundations of Grief

  • Dates: Next offering September 2019
  • Cost: $275
  • Instructor: Eugene Dufour, MDiv
  • Hours: 12

This course will be presented in four parts over the two days. Part one will review the historical and cultural aspects of the grief counseling and grief support movement. Part two will review the researchers, writers and therapist who have pioneered theory, research and practice in grief work. Part three will review all the current models of grief and how each model applies to different grief reactions. Part four will review following special topics in grief:

  • Task of the bereaved.
  • Sudden death grief.
  • Anticipated death grief.
  • Post-traumatic growth.
  • Anticipatory grief.
  • Depression and grief
  • Children and grief.
  • Teens and grief.
  • Grief support groups.
  • Grief assessment tools.

Grief Counselling

The grief counselling workshop will take an in-depth look at some of the past, current and newer models of grief counselling with an approach of learning new skills. This course will explore how to help the grieving person search for meaning and purpose in their loss. Exciting therapies such as CBT, DBT and mindfulness will be presented from a perspective of how the therapist can use these tools in bereavement work. The use of expressive art, ritual and story-telling will also be explored. Significant time will also be devoted to the importance of therapist debriefing and defusing while providing grief counselling and support.

Grieving Children and Youth

The dying and death of a family member or loved one has complex, profound and lasting effects for children and youth. Fearing that children were "too young" to understand or to cope with death, adults have often tried to protect them from the devastating, yet unavoidable and natural, experience of grief. Growing knowledge about young people’s needs and capacities has supported the recognition that parents, professionals and community members can support them throughout these experiences by communicating openly, including and engaging them, and fostering resilience amidst adversity.

This interactive workshop will explore relevant theories, research, clinical implications and concrete strategies for supporting young people from infancy through adolescence, who are facing their own death or that of a family member or a loved one. Knowledge and strategies will be transferrable to adults who are parents or caregivers, educators, health or mental health professionals, volunteers and other community members.

Participants in this interactive workshop will:

  • Develop a foundation of knowledge about children and young people’s perceptions, and capacities to understand dying and death.
  • Examine common and unique elements of grief in relation to child and adolescent development.
  • Explore effective communication strategies and the implications of language in discussions about illness, dying, death and grief with children and youth.
  • Reflect on the complexities, necessary sensitivities and flexibility in working with various family members, structures and dynamics in support of grieving children and adolescents.
  • Engage in hands-on creative activities to encourage legacy and continuing bonds, remembering, emotional literacy and expression, caregiving and self-care with young people of all ages.

Mindful Self-Compassion

This one-day introductory, educational and experiential workshop will provide current research that supports the science and components of self-compassion along with the benefits. Through discussion, mindfulness meditation and experiential exercises, you will gain practical skills to help bring self-compassion into your daily life. You will learn how to motivate yourself and others with kindness rather than criticism. Practices will be introduced to ease stress for caregivers.

Please wear comfortable clothing to support mindfulness and self-compassion practices presented throughout the day. You may also want to bring a yoga mat and/or meditation pillow or bench to use during the practices.

CACCF: Six core continuing education hours.

Palliative and End-of-Life Care

This two-day workshop will provide an overview of grief and loss inherent to palliative and end-of-life care. Living with – and dying from – a life-limiting illness is made up of multiple, accumulated losses: from the point of diagnosis, throughout an illness, when death becomes more imminent, and after death happens. Participants will learn about these losses through the lenses of the patient and family/caregiver, and will gain clinical practice guidance on how to provide psychosocial support to patients and families within the unique context of anticipated dying/death, including how to work with non-physical suffering. As palliative care includes support to families after death happens, an overview of bereavement support needs specific to the first year of bereavement – and clinical practice guidance on how to work with the newly bereaved – will also be provided. Clinical/case examples will be incorporated throughout, including opportunities for small and large group discussion. The impact of this work on the practitioner/clinician will also be discussed, including clinician grief.

Note: This workshop focuses on social work practice with adults 18+ in the context of palliative and end-of-life care.

Secondary Traumatic Stress, Compassion Fatigue and Resilience

An informative and interactive workshop designed for service providers in order to understand the conceptual impact of the helping field on personal and professional selves. Skills, theories and practical applications will be explored and practiced on both an individual and organizational level.

Spirituality, Religion and Self-Care

  • Date: Next Offering March 2020
  • Cost: $175
  • Instructor: Lysa Toye, MSW
  • Hours: 6

Dying, death and bereavement are universal experiences that call us into profound connection with questions of meaning, purpose and the human spirit. And yet for those both within and without traditional religious orthodoxy, questions of spirituality in death and grief are often marginalized, with death being managed as a primarily medical event. How do we place the personal and transpersonal aspects of dying and grieving back in the centre of the experience? And how do we tend to our own deepest selves as we sit with suffering?

In this interactive one-day workshop we will explore ways of relating to and reclaiming soulfulness in end of life and bereavement care, both for our clients and ourselves. Through experiential, non-denominational practices of presence, reflection and inquiry, we will explore our own spiritual and/or religious orientation in working with the dying and bereaved, the art of bearing witness, practices to support meaning-making with the dying and bereaved, ways of working with other worldviews, and how to care for ourselves as we carry the work of being with dying.

Traumatic Bereavement

When individuals experience a sudden, unexpected and/or violent death, we can anticipate that trauma is going to be part of their grief experience. Traumatic bereavement, however, is more than just the co-existence of grief and trauma. It is the interaction between grief and trauma that create a persistent and prolonged set of painful and debilitating symptoms. Emotional dysregulation, troubling ruminations and intense preoccupations with the death are just a few of the symptoms experienced in traumatic bereavement. This unique grief experience is highly vulnerable to environmental triggers which are imbedded in the neuropathways of the brain. The concept of 'trauma informed' grief work has emerged as a category meant to help guide clinicians in their work with individuals working through a traumatic loss. In this workshop, participants will learn about:

  • Categories for sudden loss and their implications.
  • Suicide bereavement.
  • The effects of trauma on the mourner.
  • Trauma informed grief therapy.
  • New guidelines for group facilitation.
  • Ceremonies and other cultural norms.
  • The importance of environment.

Contact Us:

Lynne Jordan, Coordinator, Professional Development

T: 519.884.0710 x5265


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