Professional Grief Education

Therapy Heals provides grief education to health professionals, first responders, and clergy who support and care for individuals living in the aftermath of sudden or unexpected death. The Professional Grief Education Program offered by Therapy Heals combines thanatological grief theory, research from leading experts in the field of grief and trauma, and case studies (interviews and videos) to prepare students with knowledge and skills to understand and work with individuals living in the aftermath of a sudden or unexpected death. Students are required to enroll in the program’s two prerequisite foundational courses prior to enrolling in the program’s seminar series. Continuing education units are available for some courses.

Program Format

All courses are provided online. Students will be able to log into the course site and complete the required course work independently, at a time that works best with their schedule. Instructors or course teaching assistants will be available to answer questions or assist in the learning process.

Students may have up to six months to complete each of the foundational courses from the date of their enrollment. Seminar series courses are shorter in length and students have three months to complete each seminar course from the date of enrollment.  There will be scheduled opportunities to interact online with the instructors of the seminar courses to engage in discussions regarding course material and case studies.

Course Information

Prerequisite Foundational Courses:

Grief Foundations

The Grief Foundation course was designed to provide students with baseline information about grief and loss in American society. The course material assumes a college level understanding of psychology or basic level counseling experience. This introductory grief course will provide students with in-depth information about the different forms of grief and how grief impacts individuals differently by age. The course also explores major grief theories used to understand the grieving process, and theoretical approaches used to guide treatment. Finally, special issues such as cultural humility in grief, continuing bonds with the deceased, and post-traumatic growth will be explored. This course is taught by Dr. Jennifer R. Levin, LMFT and Fellow in Thanatology, and includes approximately 20 hours of videos, writing exercises, and potential eligibility for continuing education units. $599

Week 1: Introduction to Grief in Our Society Today

  1. how Americans are dying
  2. grief, mourning, and bereavement
  3. the different types of grief

Week 2: Major Grief Theories

  1. traditional
  2. contemporary

Week 3: Grief Across the Life Span

  1. in children
  2. in teens
  3. in middle adults
  4. in older adults

Week 4: Major Treatment Approaches Used in Grief Therapy

  1. cognitive behavioral therapy
  2. family systems therapy
  3. trauma-informed grief therapy
  4. attachment theory
  5. psychodynamic theory

Week 5: Special Issues in Grief

  1. cultural humility
  2. continuing bonds
  3. post-traumatic growth

Week 6: Working with Grieving Clients


The Foundations of Sudden or Unexpected Death and Traumatic Grief

Grief after a sudden or unexpected death is different from expected death. This course provides foundational information about how and why sudden or unexpected death differs from expected death and explores the traumatic grief that often occurs after such a loss. The course will focus on grief theories and treatment approaches specific to traumatic death, and explore issues often associated with sudden or unexpected death including prolonged grief disorder, blame, regret, and stigma. The course will use case studies and readings from diverse modes of death to explore different clinical concerns. This course is taught by Dr. Jennifer R. Levin, LMFT and Fellow in Thanatology, and includes approximately 15 hours of videos, writing exercises, and potential eligibility for continuing education units. $349

Week 1: Foundations of Sudden and Unexpected Death

  1. definitions
  2. causes of death
  3. differences from expected death

Week 2: Traumatic Grief

  1. grief theories
  2. treatment approaches

Week 3: Issues Often Associated with Sudden or Unexpected Death

  1. prolonged grief
  2. blame, regret, and guilt
  3. stigma

Week 4: Case Studies and Clinical Concerns

Seminar Series

The following Seminar Series will be available beginning Fall 2023. Subscribe to the Therapy Heals newsletter for more information.

  1. unique aspects of an unexpected death by cause of death: homicide, suicide, medical crises, substance abuse, and accidents
  2. how family systems, relationships, and developmental ages differ in their response to an unexpected death
  3. what are the long-term consequences of sudden or unexpected death? Does everyone find resiliency, meaning or experience post-traumatic growth?
  4. how to work with clients who have experienced an unexpected death: integration, interventions, and skills
  5. the unique elements of suicide loss: guest teacher, suicide expert - Dr. Nina J. Gutin
  6. when unexpected and sudden death occur at-large: the impact of mass shootings, terrorism, and cumulative grief