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Class Descriptions

Death, Loss and Grief


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Pathway Associations

Community Change
Interpersonal PracticeElective (Host)
Mgmt & Leadership
Policy & Political
Program Evaluation
Older AdultsElective
Children & FamiliesElective

Course Description

This course will address the theoretical framework of human loss and grief from a culturally and philosophically diverse perspective. Students will be provided with information about why and how humans grieve and how grieving is affected by type of loss, socioeconomic and cultural factors, individual personality and family functioning. Attention will be focused on life span development and the meaning of death and loss at different ages. Various types of loss will be discussed from an individual, family, and socio/cultural/ecological perspective. The importance of understanding trauma and its relationship to grief and loss will also be addressed. Coping and resiliency in loss will be explored, emphasizing the diversity of human response and focusing on the significance of social groups in integrating loss. The formation and practice of rituals, and diversity in religious and spiritual experience as a component of coping with loss will be discussed.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
Identify primary needs, concerns, and issues that arise at end of life including ethical, legal and decision making challenges and conflicts.
Compare evidence-informed primary grief theoretical models for understanding bereavement and the grieving process
Explain foundational interventions that support grievers and facilitate the grief process
Illustrate the impact of the different types of loss for diverse populations grieving both death-related and non-death related losses
Apply a developmental life span approach to understanding the grief process including historical transmission of loss
Analyze factors affecting diverse responses and reactions as well as their impact to death and loss client systems, the grief process, and expression of grief
Assess types and risk factors of complicated grief and/or prolonged grief disorder
Evaluate clinician’s loss history and death system, potential impact on working with clients, and maintaining resiliency through self-exploration


Lecture, discussion; in-class large and small group activities, guest speakers, interactional processing of emotionally dense content.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice and inclusion, illuminate injustices and oppression and are consistent with evidence-based and professional knowledge. Students are invited and expected to actively contribute from their experiences, field placement practice and knowledge of readings, etc. to help support and develop a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning in the context of grief and loss.

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