07b_GCCertified_Badge_200Co-created by Kara LC Jones of Mother Henna and Cath Duncan of Remembering For Good, this 12-module, 4-month Certification in Creative Grief Support is steeped in Cath and Kara’s personal experiences of learning to live wholeheartedly after loss, as well as over 25 years of collective practice as helping professionals. 

Cath, Kara, and our Teaching Team will guide you through the 12 modules of perspective-shifting ideas and creative tools, and several guest faculty members (Dr. Harriet LernerDr. Lorraine HedtkeMiriam GreenspanPatti Digh, Dr. Darcy Harris, and more) will teach their ground-breaking research and creative practice models.


Who this program is for:

If some of the following statements are true for you, then you’d be a great fit for our course and we hope you’ll apply:

  • You already have some experience – either paid or as a volunteer – working in some sort of caring or helping role. It doesn’t have to be a professional role, but we want to know that you have some experience of bearing the responsibility of helping others outside of your family.
  • You have some basic training in the foundational skills of helping professions – either formally or informally – listening skills, empathy skills and rapport-building skills. We’re selecting applicants who already know these foundational skills so that we can focus on the more advanced grief-specific creative coaching tools, and learn to use them with greater depth of understanding.
  • You feel a “calling” towards working within the arena of loss and bereavement, or you work in an arena where loss and bereavement are a big part of your clients’ experience (eg. trauma recovery/ mental health/ hospital services/ disability/ infertility/ divorce and family support, etc).
  • You may already work a lot with loss, and you’re looking for fresh perspectives and new, creative tools to deepen and enrich your practice. This isn’t a beginner’s course – experienced Social Workers, Psychologists, Hospice Workers, Counselors, Art Therapists, Spiritual Counselors and Pastors looking to develop their practice are welcome.
  • You want a training experience that is creative, intimate, real, rich and deep, so that you’ll integrate the theory at a deeper level and can feel confident that you are equipped to work with people who are bereaved.
  • You’re prepared to commit a significant amount of time and attention to this course so that you can keep up with the class pace and homework requirements and be a fully participating member of the class. You will be able to fit this course in with a full-time job, but expect to devote at least 10 hours a week to completing the live calls, prescribed reading and homework for this course.
  • You have some sort of personal experience with loss and grief.


What’s in the program?

The 12-module program draws on an eclectic range of theories and practices that we’ve found to be helpful: narrative therapy, appreciative enquiry, shame resilience theory, Buddhism, learning theory, resilience theory and more. Here’s what we’ll cover in each module:

Module 1 – Introducing The Core Frames For The Program

  • We’ll start the course by introducing you to each other and to the core ideas that flow through the whole program which are: a belief in our natural resilience and the naturalness of grief, grieving as a learning journey rather than an illness, the centrality of relationships and grieving in community, the impact of shame and the importance of “shameless grief,” the resourcefulness of curiosity and not-knowing, and the important role that creativity plays in grief and transformation.
  • Author and teacher, Patti Digh, author of Geography of Loss, will join Kara for a discussion about the truths and myths in grieving.

Module 2 – Making Meaning And Learning To Live Wholeheartedly After Loss

  • You’ll learn about the way that grief affects our personal and social identities and our sense of meaning in life. A big part of transforming grief to growth is the process of creating a new self with new, meaningful life narratives. You’ll learn about the creative process of meaning-creation and deciding a new vision after loss. We’ll cover what it means to live wholeheartedly after loss and we’ll share 2 creative exercises that will help your clients to reconnect with their true selves and determine their true values and desires in order to create their new, wholehearted and authentic selves after loss.

Module 3 – Fear, Guilt, and Shame

  • Fear is a very prevalent grief emotion, especially in the early days, weeks and months after a significant loss. You’ll learn how fear impacts our emotions, our physical health and our social behavior. Shame and guilt can have particularly destructive and painful impacts on grieving. You’ll learn about how guilt and shame can obstruct the natural, healthy integration and transformation of grief. You’ll learn 3 tools for helping your client to find the sources of fear, guilt, and shame in their grief.
  • Vanessa Gorman, author and filmmaker from will offer insight on shame, vulnerability and courage by sharing her experience of filming the birth and death of her baby, Layla.

Module 4 – Oppressive Grief Stories

  • You’ll learn about the 5 widely-believed myths about grieving that only serve to make grieving more painful, and we’ll share what the latest research tells us about grieving. You’ll learn 3 tools for helping your clients to dissolve shame, guilt, and fear and liberate themselves from these restrictions so that they can find authentic ways to experience and integrate their grief, and ultimately create more authentic and meaningful lives after loss.
  • Dr. Darcy Harris, author of Oppression of the Bereaved, will join us to talk about grief and grief support as a social justice issue.

Module 5 – Relationship is Everything!

  • You’ll learn why relationship is central to grieving, meaning-making, creativity, health and transformation. You’ll learn how to make decisions regarding the 3 dynamics in a coaching intervention: coaching presence, coaching process and coaching procedure. We’ll teach you about the qualities of a transformational relationship and the 4 stages that we all go through when we’re developing trust and creating a transformational relationships. You’ll learn how to anchor yourself in the transformational coaching presence and how to create and nurture transformational coaching relationships and compassionate communities for the bereaved people you work with.

Module 6 – Embodying Agency + Action

  • Many grief support models focus primarily on thoughts and emotions, but grief is a very physical experience. You’ll learn how the body responds to loss, what it means to “embody” your agency and actions, and how to teach your clients how to look after their bodies while they’re grieving. You’ll learn 5 different tools for helping your client to embody their agency.
  • Heather Plett will join us to share other creative tools for embodying and transforming grief, including her body art journaling exercise.

Module 7 – Surfing The Emotions

  • You’ll learn about the nature of emotions and how they work so that you can help your clients to understand how they can manage the emotional experience of grieving. You’ll learn tools for helping your clients to lean into grieving emotions, tools for transforming emotions, tools for mining the resources and wisdom in their emotions, and tools for helping your clients to de-intensify grieving emotions.
  • Miriam Grenspan, author of Healing Through The Dark Emotions, will join us to teach about emotional alchemy.

Module 8 – Facilitating Remembering Conversations

  • You’ll learn how to guide a client through a conversation where they remember, and reconnect with their family and community (both alive and dead), and gain access to a deeper feeling of belonging, love, and clarity, as well as wisdom to address some of their current struggles.
  • Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, author of Re-membering Lives, will join us to teach a live class about her pioneering “re-membering conversations” work.

Module 9 – Grieving in Families And Communities

  • You’ll learn why trying to “grieve in private” can make grieving even more difficult for your clients. Coming from a collective and relational paradigm of grief, we’ll teach you how to help your client to better understand and manage the way that their most important relationships are changed by loss and grief so that they can stay connected and even deepen their most important relationships.
  • Dr. Harriet Lerner, Author of The Dance of Anger will teach us about managing our most important relationships – our relationships with our partners, family and friends.

Module 10 – Issues That Can Complicate Grief

  • You’ll learn about the difference between healthy grieving and depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and prolonged grief. We’ll teach you what issues can increase risk of complications in grief and how to know when you need to refer to another professional. You will also learn how to respond if a client is suicidal. We’ll also teach you how to welcome and contract with new clients and you’ll become more familiar with the ethics and professional guidelines that Creative Grief Coaching is based in.

Module 11 – Self-care, Supervision, and Staying Creative

  • In this session we’ll help you to develop supervision and self-care plans so that you’ll remain empathic, present, creative and alert to your client’s unique needs, and build a sustainable coaching practice. We’ll provide you with tips to improve and sustain your creativity.
  • Dr. Melissa Flint will join us to discuss self-care and supervision.

Module 12 – Certification Assessment Preparation (For those pursuing certification)

  • Module 12 is only for those folks who wish to become certified. During this module we’ll help you prepare for your certification assessment submissions, which you’ll complete on your own, as and when you feel ready.
  • The class will be no bigger than 20 participants so that we can ensure that we’re able to get to know all of our participants and offer everyone some individual attention to support their unique learning journeys.

Practice Weeks

  • Throughout the course we have scattered four “practice weeks.” The purpose of these weeks is to give participants time to reflect on the material covered, practice with coaching buddies, watch or listen to coaching demonstrations we provide and catch up on exercises from other modules as needed.


Your Course Facilitators

cath_biopic2Cath Duncan is a Registered Social Worker with a background in Child Protection, Trauma Debriefing and counseling for Depression. Cath helps bereaved people to live wholeheartedly after loss at, and co-curates an educational website about the option to bring stillborn and deceased babies home at Cath is the author of the Remembering For Good Grief Workbook. She completed her Social Work undergraduate and Honours degrees through the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and her Social Work Masters degree through the University of Calgary in Canada. kara_biopicKara LC Jones is founder of and co-founder of Her grief support book, Mrs. Duck and the Woman, was published in both English and Spanish. Other books she has in print include Flash Of Life, 1,000 Permissions Granted, and 1,000 Faces of Mother Henna. She’s a certified Appreciative Inquiry and Whole Systems Coach, specializing in Joseph Campbell’s model of the Hero’s Journey, and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, holding double degrees in Literary and Cultural Theory, and Creative Writing. Kara also interned for three years with Fred Rogers, Hedda Sharapan, David Newell and the team at Family Communications, Inc., then producers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
Tamara Beachum, from
Rev. Gail M. Syring.
Yvonne Lucia, R.N., M. Div. from
Lori Boyer, Music Therapist

Find out more about our teaching team here.

Guest Lecturers – Leaders in Their Fields

A variety of guest lecturers will join us to share their research and practice models. So far, they include the following leaders in the field:

MiriamGreenspanW150Miriam Greenspan, author of Healing Through The Dark Emotions
Dr. Harriet Lerner, Author of Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules.
Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D. & author of Remembering Lives. IMG_3153 (3)Dr. Darcy Harris, author of Promoting Social Justice in Loss and Grief.

Patti Digh, Author of “Life is a Verb” and “The Geography of Loss”.
Vanessa Gorman, filmmaker and author of “Losing Layla” Heather Plett, Writer And Founder at Dr. Melissa Delgado Flint, Psy.D. Asst Prof of Clinical Psychology

Grief101_3DownloadIcon_CGCCThe grief psychology models, core values and core beliefs that underpin our course

Grief psychology models can broadly be organized into two groups – conventional models and emerging models. Based in the emerging models of grief psychology, we’ve developed a model that we call “Shameless Grief”.

In this 90min call, Cath and Kara summarize the Shameless Grief model and explain the core values and beliefs that underpin our course. (Just click on the link to listen to the call, or right click on the link and select “save as” to download the call and listen later).

What’s NOT in the program?

Foundational people skills and helping skills: This program assumes that the participants already have foundational helping skills and knowledge in respect of listening skills, empathy skills, and rapport-building skills. We’ll ask you to demonstrate that you already have training or experience in these areas. This allows us to focus on advanced grief-specific creative coaching tools and methods in our 12-module program.

Business development skills: This course focuses on sharing what we know and do best – grief coaching and creativity!

The Law of Attraction: This program focuses on assisting people who are grieving as a result of tragedy and loss. The “Law of Attraction” and other “self-help” ideas that suggest that our thoughts are capable of causing good or bad events in our lives are NOT included in this program because, in our view, these ideas are not useful to grieving people, and can add to their pain.

Religious dogma: Death and grief can be deeply spiritual experiences, so conversations about spirituality are welcomed in this course, however, we do not teach or encourage any particular religious doctrine in this class. We often have professionals who are Spiritual Directors or religious clergy of sorts joining our classes, and we welcome them with the expectation that all class participants are willing to witness and respect a diverse range of spiritual and religious perspectives within and beyond our classroom.

How you’ll learn

Together we’ll work through the 11 modules of content by way of:

  • A comprehensive 11-module manual and workbook that will provide you with the full theoretical base for the course, as well as links for additional recommended resources.
  • 11 Live calls where you’ll experience the creative grief support tools, you’ll observe grief support demos, we’ll respond to your questions and we’ll discuss and more deeply apply the ideas and tools. These will be recorded so that you can re-listen to them anytime.
  • Recorded guest faculty lectures (Dr. Harriet Lerner, Dr. Darcy Harris, Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, Miriam Greenspan, Patti Digh and everyone else listed on our Faculty page.)
  • A “coaching buddy” system in the class, so you can work through the grief support practice homework together.
  • You’ll receive guided experiential training in the use of over 25 different creative grief support tools.
  • Access to a private classroom where you’ll post your artwork and we’ll discuss your experiences doing the exercises, as well as any other questions you have that we didn’t have time to cover on the call.
  • Ongoing access to our Creative Grief Support Tools Library.
  • A prescribed reading list (yes, actual *books*! ).
  • Ongoing access to free quarterly live calls with all Creative Grief Support alumni.

On-going access to course content and all course upgrades

After each course, using class feedback and additional wisdom learned through the class discussions as well as our ongoing research and practice, we review and upgrade the course material. All of our Creative Grief Support Studio alumni – certified or not – have ongoing access to our course content upgrades, including:

  • Additional guest expert interviews
  • Additional creative tools
  • Additional content
  • Quarterly community live calls

In addition, you’ll have ongoing access to the private classroom for alumni and the latest version of the course manuals, as well as the live call recordings. We know that the best helping professionals are committed to lifelong learning, so we’ve set up our course to support you on your ongoing journey of learning.

Course dates

We run the class three times a year. We meet live most Tuesdays for duration of the course with the exception of the last meeting for Module 12 which takes place on a Thursday. Throughout the course there are four “practice weeks” where we don’t have a live call. The purpose of these weeks is to give participants time to reflect on the material covered, work with coaching buddies, watch or listen to grief support demonstrations and catch up on exercises from other modules as needed.

NEXT SESSION: September 2016 Class: APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN UNTIL 1 September 2016

  • 6 Sept 2016 – Module 1
  • 13 Sept 2016 – Module 2
  • 20 Sept 2016 – Module 3
  • 27 Sept 2016 – Practice week (no live call)
  • 4 Oct 2016 – Module 4
  • 11 Oct 2016 – Module 5
  • 18 Oct 2016 – Practice week (no live call)
  • 25 Oct 2016 – Module 6
  • 1 Nov 2016 – Module 7
  • 8 Nov 2016 – Practice week (no live call)
  • 15 Nov 2016 – Module 8
  • 22 Nov 2016 – Module 9
  • 29 Nov 2016 – Practice week (no live call)
  • 6 Dec 2016 – Module 10
  • 13 Dec 2016 – Module 11
  • 15 Dec 2016 – Module 12 (Certification preparation)

TIME:  10am till 11:30am PACIFIC – Tuesdays (exception: last call for Module 12 happens on a Thursday, same time). This converts to:

  • 11am till 12:30pm MOUNTAIN TIME, USA – Tuesdays
  • 1pm till 2:30pm EASTERN TIME, USA – Tuesdays
  • 7pm till 8:30pm  JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Tuesdays
  • 6pm till 7:30pm LONDON, UK – Tuesdays
  • 6am till 7:30am AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Wednesdays
  • 4am till 5:30am  SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Wednesdays

Check your time here if your time zone is not listed above. NOTE that the times change for Daylight Savings for some states and countries, during the course, so be sure to diarize those changes, too. Please check that the course time suits your timezone as you are expected to attend the live calls!

Venue: This is an online course. So long as you have a good internet connection, you can call in and join us from anywhere in the world. You’ll receive the call-in details when you’ve committed to the course.

We have three (3) sessions offered in 2017.

  1. Morning/Spring 2017 – 10am PACIFIC, running from the last Tuesday of February to mid-June.
  2. Morning/Fall 2017/Session A – 10am PACIFIC, running from the last Tuesday of August to mid-Dec.
  3. Afternoon/Fall 2017/Session B – 4pm PACIFIC, running from the last Tuesday of August to mid-Dec.

More details coming soon.

Certification Options07b_GCCertified_Badge_200

This course is available as a content-only stream, or as a certification stream. The content for both streams is the same and you’ll be a part of the same class. Participants in the content-only stream will end the course at Module 11. Participants pursuing certification will complete module 12 and submit the following materials for assessment:

  • A recording of a remembering conversation that they have facilitated with someone.
  • Instructions for a creative grief support tool that they have designed, along with a brief explanation of the rationale behind the tool and the results they got when they experimented with the tool.

If we’re satisfied with the quality of your submission, you’ll receive your certification within 2 weeks. Once certified, you will get:

  • A certificate and badge to confirm your certification, which you may display in your office/ on your website/ on your business stationary or course materials.
  • A listing and bio, with link back to your site, here at

NOTE: Certification as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner confirms that you’ve taken our training and demonstrated skills in the approach we teach at an acceptable level. Our certification does not enable you to call yourself or your service by any of the registered or licensed professional titles, including (but not limited to) “Art Therapy/ Therapist”, “Social Work/er”, “Psychologist”, “Counselor”, “Therapist”. Each of these professions have their own set of very specific training, examination, and registration or licensing requirements for each country or USA state that you wish to practice in, and you may only make use of these titles and words for describing your service if you meet the relevant professional training and licensing requirements. If you certify wiith us and do not have any additional professional training or licensing, then you may call yourself a “Creative Grief Support Practitioner” and your service “Creative Grief Support”.


2016 course fees us dollars
Payment plan is available. Read for details below or be in touch with us to talk about your needs.

After you’ve applied, if you are accepted, we will email you an acceptance letter. The acceptance letter will:

  • Ask you to pay a $500 (USD) non-refundable deposit to secure your spot in the class. This will be credited towards the rest of your class fee. Your spot in the class is NOT secured until you’ve paid this deposit.
  • Ask you whether you’d like to receive 1 invoice for the rest of the course fee, or whether you’d prefer to commit to a 3-payment plan for the rest of the course fee. We will then invoice you accordingly and your payment plan for the rest of your course fee will kick in 2 weeks before the course starts.

NOTE: The live calls and content for both tracks are the same. So if you are unsure about whether you’d like to pursue certification, select the Content-Only Track and you will be able to decide later to join the 12th call which prepares students for their certification assignments.


  1. Course Applications for the sessions are due 1 September 2016; 1 March 2017; 1 September 2017.
  2. Partial Scholarships available for each class.

We make 2 partial scholarships available for each class that we run, to help make the course affordable for those with limited financial resources who’d like to take the program. Our scholarships cover part of the fee, and you remain responsible for the $500 (USD) non-refundable deposit and uncovered portion of the course fees. You can find full details about our scholarship application process here.


kate_duriegaildale langgloriabonniekaren
Kerry_RyanKuhn_wordsgwendeb_buehlerelizabethTamara testimonialshannonFrequently Asked Questions

Why are your entrance requirements so demanding?

We do realize that, in comparison to other coaching and grief support certifications, our entrance requirements are demanding. Bereaved clients are potentially more vulnerable than other client groups and this is a more demanding arena for the professionals involved. It’s our responsibility to ensure that any practitioner who bears our certification logo is mature, ready and well-equipped for this work. Our entrance criteria might mean that we sell fewer spots in the course, but we want to make a responsible, trustworthy and sustainable contribution to the field of bereavement and grief work, because that’s the right thing to do for our coach trainees and the clients they’ll work with.If you would like to take this training but are concerned about whether your experience levels meet our requirements, apply anyway. We’ll interview you if we feel that your application doesn’t meet all of our requirements and we’ll make a decision taking account of your unique experience and character.

What sort of international accreditation will this certification get me?

Currently this certification is independent and will not get you automatic accreditation with any international coaching or counselling organization. The certification will simply confirm to your clients that you have undertaken this training with us and that we can confirm that you have an acceptable level of understanding and skill to use this knowledge. You will be able to call yourself “Certified in Creative Grief Support” or a “Certified creative Grief Coach”, but you will not be able to call yourself a “grief counselor” (or any other professional title, such as Social Worker, Psychologist, Doctor, Art Therapist, etc) unless you meet the registration requirements for that professional title within your own country/ state, through other training and licensing you’ve undertaken.

If I want to support people who are grieving, but my main niche isn’t “grief support,” will your course give me relevant tools and skills?

One of our foundational beliefs is that grieving is unique from person to person and one loss to the next loss. This is the main reason why we teach and encourage creative approaches to loss. Because of this flexible, creative approach, you’ll be able to take our tools and ideas and apply them to working with people who are grieving in a variety of niches and contexts. For example, our tools will be just as useful if you’re supporting people who are grieving the loss of a job, or the loss of a marriage (via divorce), or the death of a beloved pet, or the death of a loved one.Also, there is opportunity during the live calls (which will be very practical and discussion-based) to ask questions and get help with applying the ideas to your niche, and you’ll have ongoing access to the private forum where you can ask questions and get support with applying the ideas and tools in your niche.

Is your course relevant to supporting people with all types of grief or just people grieving the death of a loved one?

As we’ve explained, our course is grounded in a recognition that grieving is a very individual experience, so the tools we teach you are all very flexible and offer lots of space for your clients to share their unique story, perspectives and needs. Only one of the tools that we teach (re-membering conversations) is more suited to working with people who are grieving the death of a loved one. All of the other tools are adaptable to a wide range of different kinds of losses. Class participants who’ve joined us from a variety of different niches and specialties have confirmed that the tools and theory is widely applicable to niches and issues such as adult children, divorce, eating disorders, the death of a pet, job-loss and many other kinds of losses.

What technology do I need in order to be able to participate in this online course?

You will need either a telephone or a computer with Skype installed and an internet connection so that you can call into our live calls. It’s advisable that you use a headset so that you can have your hands free to write or draw during the call and because a headset improves the quality of the call for everyone by cancelling our background noise. We use a USA number for the live calls, with a few international alternative offered. If you aren’t familiar or comfortable with Skype but want to save on the cost of international calls, then purchase a cheap calling card for making international calls from your country to the USA if your country is not one of the alternative offered.For everything else (the classroom, downloading the manuals, etc), you just need a computer with a decent internet connection (128 Kbit/s minimum). If you want to double-check speed, use this site. You will also need a program that allows you to read PDFs (Adobe Reader is free).

Will I have to buy a bunch of expensive art equipment to participate?

No! We do use art-making at times during the course, but we also teach conversational creativity where no art-making is required. Also, since it’s about the process of creativity rather than the product, you will not need lots of art materials and you definitely don’t need fancy expensive ones! Use what you have – even if it’s just a box of colored pencil crayons. Of course if you want to explore with a wider range of art materials, that’s fine too.

How do I pay?

Because of our entrance criteria, this certification program is by application only. After you’ve applied, if you’re accepted into the group, we’ll ask you:

  • to pay non-refundable deposit of $500 (USD) to secure spot (this goes towards your course fee),
  • whether you’d like to pursue certification,
  • and whether you’d like to choose a one-pay or three-pay payment plan, and then we’ll send you an invoice(s) which you can pay online, using your credit card or PayPal account.

What happens if I fail the certification assessment?

Certification is NOT automatic if you pay the certification fee. You will need to demonstrate that you can facilitate a remembering conversation and design a creative grief coaching tool. During our 12th live call, we’ll prepare you for your certification submissions and share with you our detailed criteria of what we’re looking for you to demonstrate in your assessment submissions. In addition, we will also take account of your interactions in the live calls and forums – we expect our students to uphold the course values and handle discussions of difference with respect, so that we can confidently back-up and recommend you as a skilled, empathic and professional creative grief coach with our certification badge.If we feel that your assessment submissions aren’t demonstrating enough of the skills and values we’re looking for, then we’ll give you detailed feedback on the areas that were lacking and you may submit again and no extra cost. If your second submission is still not up to scratch then you can submit again but you will need to pay $975 USD for each subsequent certification submission after that.

What’s your money-back policy?

We’re really proud of the course we’ve put together and we know you won’t be disappointed with the quality or delivery of the content. We’ve also worked really hard to convey the values of this course so that anyone who applies will be a good fit with our course’s core values. (Download our live call and check out our prescribed reading list if you’re wondering about the values that underpin this course). For these reasons, after the module 01 live call has taken place, the course and certification fee become non-refundable.

More Questions?

If you’d like to discuss whether this course is a good fit for you, feel free to get in touch with Program Administrator Tamara Beachum at news about the course, other workshops, and creative tips!

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