|Co-created by Kara LC Jones of Mother Henna and Cath Duncan of Remembering For Good, this 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 16 weeks of perspective-shifting ideas and creative tools, and several guest faculty members (Dr. Harriet Lerner, Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, Miriam Greenspan, 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 16-Week 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, resilience theory and more. Here’s a bit more about what we’ll cover in each section of the course:
Week 1 – Preparing for the course (no live call)
During the week before our first live call, you’ll be able to login into the private classroom to acquaint yourself with the set-up, introduce yourself to your classmates, and prepare for our first live call together which takes place next week.
Week 2 – Defining grief and Creative Grief Support
You’re going to be meeting your classmates on the forum and introducing yourself. Alongside that, we’ll agree on the kind of culture we want to be creating in this group, in order to support everyone feeling safe and free to learn. There are of many ways that grief has been defined, and since your approach to grief support rests on your understanding of what you think grieving is, we’ll be sharing our definition of grief, as well as the implications and assumptions for the Creative Grief Support approach that we’ll be teaching you over the next few months.
This module will include several interviews with different people about how their grief has been affected by their being a part of a marginalised group.
Week 3 – The helping relationship
We’re going to turn our attention to the helping relationship in order to explore some of the definitions and assumptions that have seemed to underpin helping relationships in the modern Western world. We’ll reflect on the implications of these definitions for our clients and their meaning-making after loss, and also for our own personal and professional development. We’ll explore what kind of relationship we wish to co-create with our clients, and what it might take to develop such a relationship. We’ll discuss the implications of power in helping relationships, and we’ll cover 3 other “P’s” that Creative Grief Support Practitioners need to attend to.
Week 4 – Meaning-making
We will focus on explaining more about grieving as a meaning-making process. We’ll talk about the abundant meanings available to us in all aspects of life, and how this philosophy can help grieving people to create so many more options for living well after loss. We’ll explain the social and relational nature of meaning-making in greater depth, as well as the roles of language and creativity in meaning-making. We’ll also discuss common ideas in conventional grief psychology that are being questioned, or are changing, or have changed, as a result of new research.
Heather Plett will join us to share some wonderful ways that she’s used creativity in her own explorations of grief, and in her support of others who are making meaning after loss.
Week 5 – Shame in meaning-making after loss
We’ll explain more about the important roles that shame can play in influencing the meaning-making that a person creates after loss. We’ll cover the painful effects of shame, as well as the many kinds of problems that shame tends to team up with or invite into the grief experience. You’ll learn some ways for noticing shame that is intruding on your grieving clients’ meaning-making. You’ll learn about some of the commonplace “grief rules” that often serve to support the development of shame in a person’s grief experience, as well as the more liberating recent research findings and perspectives in the world of grief psychology.
Dr Darcy Harris will join us to discuss the implications of modern Western “grief rules”, and the notion of grief support as a social justice issue.
Week 6 – NO LIVE CALL
This week is an opportunity to catch up, review, and digest the material covered so far.
Week 7 – Conversational directions that support shame resilience
We’ll explain what shame resilience is and why it’s so important in grief support. You’ll learn about two conversational directions that lead your clients towards the development of greater shame resilience, and we’ll unpack the different kinds of questions available within each conversational direction.
Week 8 – Modern discourses about emotions in grieving
We’ll discuss the ways that emotions have commonly been talked about in the modern Western world, and the implications that these often oppressive discourses about emotions have for grieving people and their meaning-making after loss. You’ll learn some much more liberating ideas about emotions in grieving that will support your clients to have a wider range of options available to them for making rich and comforting meanings and identities after loss.
Miriam Greenspan will join us to discuss the relationship between the “dark” grieving emotions and grief support.
Week 9 – Embodying physical agency during and after loss events
The modern Western discourse of the “self” as being limited to a brain that is separate from the body tends to alienate people from their physical agency during and after traumatic events and moments of loss, thus denying them some choices for meaning-making and/ or action that could prove supportive. Grief can be a very physical experience for some, leaving us with new and different bodily sensations and symptoms that can be scary or may even require treatment. And still some other clients may have great trouble verbalising their experiences and thus prefer options for more physical expressions of their grief, in order to facilitate meaning-making. We’ll explore what it can mean to embody or bring forward our physical agency during and after loss events, and how this can support meaning-making.
Vanessa Gorman will join us to share her family’s story of the death of their baby, Layla, and the choices and responses that proved to be supportive for their family when Layla died.
Week 10 – NO LIVE CALL
During this week, we’re going to provide you with some materials to review in preparation for the following week’s session about Re-membering Conversations. There will be no live call this week.
Week 11 – Facilitating Remembering Conversations
You’ll learn how to guide a client through a conversation that revives and relocates their relationship with their deceased loved one. Such conversations can support grieving people to deepen their bonds with both their deceased and their living communities, so as to gain access to a deeper feeling of belonging, love, and clarity, as well as wisdom to address some of their current struggles. You’ll also learn how to support clients who are struggling to make meaning of conflicted or abusive relationships after someone in an important but difficult relationship dies.
Dr. Lorraine Hedtke will join us to teach about her pioneering ‘re-membering conversations’ work.
Week 12 – Grieving in community
We’ll reiterate the important role that a sense of belonging plays in living well after loss and share some creative activities that serve to support grieving people to work through relational difficulties that often arise in families and friendships after the death of a loved one, as people grieve differently and form different meanings
Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules will teach us about managing our most important relationships – our relationships with our partners, family and friends.
Week 13 – Traumatic grief
We’ll discuss the relationship between trauma and loss/ grief. We’ll cover some of the themes that may form the foundations of trauma, common trauma symptoms, and some basics for supporting people who have experienced a traumatic loss, as well as how to know when to refer someone for specialist trauma support.
Week 14 – End of life support
We’ll talk about death from the perspective of the dying person’s experience, and how you can support people who are nearing the end of their lives with their grieving, meaning-making, agency, and quality of life. We’ll cover legacy conversations, practical matters such as wills, choices about end-of-life care, and funeral plans. We’ll also discuss the legalities, languages, ethics and issues involved in assisted dying, and we’ll explore some creative end-of-life ritual options.
Week 15 – Values, ethics, limits, and development as a practitioner
We’ll help you to explore and articulate the values and ethics that you hold dear as a Creative Grief Support Practitioner. We’ll also clarify the difference between Creative Grief Support and “therapy” or “counselling” or “mental health treatment”. You’ll learn how to articulate the boundaries and limits of your professional expertise, regardless of whether you locate yourself in the licensed or unlicensed helping professions. We’ll talk about problems that are often referred to as “mental illness” which may be much more complex than grief, and which may serve to complicate the needs of a grieving person, thus warranting referral to another suitable professional. We’ll also explore the topic of assisted dying. And finally, we’ll talk about the important role of practices that enliven and sustain and develop you, both personally and professionally.
Week 16A (Tues) – Facilitating the end of your work with clients
In this final module, we’ll experience and design our own ending of our time learning together, as well as exploring what endings might feel like for our clients, and different creative ways that we might help our clients to have endings with us that contribute to positive meanings about change, loss, and new beginnings.
Week 16B (Same week on Thurs) – Certification assessment preparation
This last call is only for those who wish to become certified. During this module we’ll answer your questions to help you prepare for your certification assessment submissions which you’ll complete on your own as and when you feel ready.
Your Course Facilitators
|Cath 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 RememberingForGood.com, and co-curates an educational website about the option to bring stillborn and deceased babies home at WhenYourBabyDies.com. 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 LC Jones is founder of MotherHenna.com and co-founder of KotaPress.com. 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 TamaraBeachum.com
Rev. Gail M. Syring.
Yvonne Lucia, R.N., M. Div. from YvonneLucia.com.
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:
|Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D. & author of Remembering Lives.||
Dr. Harriet Lerner, Author of Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules.
|Dr. Darcy Harris, author of Promoting Social Justice in Loss and Grief.|
|Miriam Greenspan, author of Healing Through The Dark Emotions||Vanessa Gorman, filmmaker and author of “Losing Layla”||Heather Plett, Writer And Founder at SophiaLeadership.com|
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 content by way of:
- A comprehensive manual and workbook that will provide you with the full theoretical base for the course, as well as links for additional recommended resources.
- 14 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, 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 Alumni Classroom/Library.
- A prescribed reading list.
- 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:
- Revised curriculum
- 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 alumni-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.
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 Certification Prep which takes place on a Thursday. Throughout the course there are several “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.
MARCH 2017 SESSION
Applications open until 28 FEB 2017
TIME: 10am till 11:30am PACIFIC – Tuesdays (exception: last call for Module 12 happens on a Thursday, same time). This converts to:
SEPTEMBER 2017 – MORNING SESSION A
Applications open until 29 AUG 2017
TIME: 10am till 11:30am PACIFIC – Tuesdays (exception: last call for Module 12 happens on a Thursday, same time). This converts to:
SEPTEMBER 2017 – AFTERNOON SESSION B
Applications open until 29 AUG 2017
TIME: 4pm till 5:30pm PACIFIC – Tuesdays (exception: last call for Module 12 happens on a Thursday, same time). This converts to:
Check your time here if your time zone is not listed above in the session details. 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.
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 the last Tuesday call. Participants pursuing certification will complete Certification Prep on the last call of the course which takes place on a Thursday, and then later 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 CreativeGriefStudio.com.
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 with 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”.
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 Certification Prep call which prepares students for their certification assignments.
- Course Applications for the sessions are due 28 FEB or 29 AUG 2017.
- 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 to secure your spot and uncovered portion of the course fees. You can find full details about our scholarship application process here.
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 last 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 first live call has taken place, the course and certification fee become non-refundable.
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 email@example.com.Get news about the course, other workshops, and creative tips!
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