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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

Required

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

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

Electives

You must complete two of the following three electives:

  • Bereavement Support Groups: Advanced Facilitator Training
  • Spirituality, Religion and Self-Care
  • Supporting Your Clients Through the MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) Process

Self-Care

You must also take one of the following self-care workshops:

  • 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.

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. 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.

Bereavement Support Groups: Advanced Facilitator Training

For decades, support groups have been an integral part of the healing process for mourners seeking guidance, healing and a feeling of normal. Group therapy is designed to provide an outlet for strong emotion, as well as an opportunity to learn how to regulate those emotions. The degree of crises and trauma associated with the loss of a loved one is unique for each circumstance. A group facilitator must ensure that the risk associated with emotional expression is balanced with intellectual insight. Using a variety of therapeutic techniques, bereavement support groups are designed to encourage a trusting, mutual aid approach to support, while preventing the risk of re-traumatization. The emergence of trauma informed care has prompted a revision of standards for best practice in bereavement support groups. The new guidelines for group facilitation adds a layer of knowledge to the traditional approach to group work. In this workshop, participants will learn:

  • What mourners need from a group.
  • Types of groups best suited to support mourners.
  • Role of the facilitator.
  • Creating safety.
  • Sequencing topics for discussion.

Foundations of Grief

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. Contemporary therapies such as CBT, narrative, 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 self-awareness and peer consultation 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 information on current research that supports the science and components of self-compassion. The physiology of self-compassion with the foundation of mindfulness will be presented that supports the benefits of this practice.

Through discussion, mindfulness meditation and experiential exercises, you will gain knowledge along with practical skills to help cultivate and integrate self-compassion into your daily life. The difference between empathy and compassion is explored to help with the development of self-compassion. You will learn how to motivate yourself and others with kindness rather than criticism by creating inner strength and reliance to meet everyday challenges.

Please wear comfortable clothing to support mindfulness and self-compassion practices presented throughout the day. If you have a meditation practice you are welcome to bring a yoga mat and/or meditation pillow or bench to use during these short 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

Fall 2019

Spring 2020

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

  • Dates: March 4, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $210
  • 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.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) has approved this workshop for 6 continuing education units (CEUs).

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 creates a persistent and prolonged set of painful and debilitating symptoms. This unique grief experience is highly vulnerable to environmental triggers which are imbedded in the neuropathways of the brain. ‘Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder’ is the category under consideration in the DSM-V, which incorporates the existing literature on complicated grief (CG) as well as new clinical considerations. Trauma informed grief work has become the new standard for clinicians working with individuals who have experienced a traumatic loss. In this workshop, participants will learn about:

  • Complicated grief.
  • Suicide bereavement.
  • The effects of trauma on the mourner.
  • Assessment and diagnostic criteria for CG.
  • Trauma informed grief therapy.
  • The importance of ceremonies and rituals.
  • Taking care to give care.

Supporting Your Clients Through the MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) Process

  • Dates: Nov. 13, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: $210
  • Instructor: Eugene Dufour, MDiv
  • Hours: 6

This one-day workshop will provide the following information to assist you in helping your client as they are making the decision to have a medical assisted death:

  • A review of the MAID legislation and how it applies to social workers.
  • Walking through the legislation with your client.
  • Assisting with understanding the paperwork that is required.
  • "Competent" – what does that mean in the MAID process.
  • When your client changes their mind about MAID.
  • The difficulty of choosing a date for MAID.
  • When family members do not want MAID for their loved one.
  • When the client’s religion is against MAID.
  • When the client’s clergy person is against MAID.
  • When the social worker is asked to be present for MAID to provide support to the client.
  • Self-reflection about MAID and experiencing a MAID death.

Contact Us:

Lynne Jordan, Coordinator, Professional Development

E: ljordan@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x5265

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