07b_GCCertified_Badge_200Co-created by Kara LC Jones of Grief + Creativity 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. Kim ManningDr. Harriet LernerDr. Lorraine Hedtke, 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,
  • social justice theories,
  • and more.

We’ve also included experientials like:

  • multiple coaching demos to give you examples of how the creative tools might be used and
  • video and photo-illustrated heARTmaking demos to give you sparks on making your own art for yourself and with clients
  • creative prompts we’ll explore together during our live calls as well as others you can explore with your coaching buddies.

Here’s a bit more about topics we’ll cover in each section of the course:

  • Preparing for the course: We’ll all be meeting each other and getting familiar with this private classroom as we get ready for our first live call next week.
  • Introduction to grief: We’ll have our first call together, and we’ll introduce you to grief as a creative and social meaning-making process, and the roles of shame resilience, agency, belonging, and hope.
  • The support relationship: We’ll explore the role of the support relationship in Creative Grief Support, and what it means to nurture a non-pathologizing “two-Way account” of Creative Grief Support.
  • Meaning-making after loss: We’ll cover the core philosophical assumptions that underpin our approach, including the roles of language and social discourse in meaning-making, and a critique of popular grief theories.
  • Shame in meaning-making after loss: We’ll explore the potential effects of shame on meaning-making after loss. We’ll also cover the supports for shame, and the intersections of social injustice with grief and shame.
  • Shame resilience and generative meaning-making: You’ll learn what shame resilience is, and what kinds of themes, factors, and creative conversations can support shame resilience in meaning-making.
  • Emotions in grieving: We’ll critically review various popular social discourses in respect of grieving emotions. We’ll also cover a variety of creative ways to support flexibility and motion in grieving emotions.
  • Embodying agency: We’ll explore the multiple and multi-directional relationships between grief and the body, as well as various creative ways to support your grieving clients to embody agency during and after loss.
  • Remembering Conversations: We’ll introduce you to the philosophy and method of facilitating re-membering conversations with clients grieving the death of a loved one.
  • Re-membering conversations in conflicted relationships and after traumatic death: You’ll learn how you can use re-membering conversations with people grieving the death of a person with whom they had a difficult or abusive relationship, or when the death was traumatic.
  • Traumatic grief: We’ll explore the nature of trauma, its potential effects, how to know when your client needs specialist trauma support, and an approach to facilitating safe and helpful conversations about trauma.
  • Grieving in community: We’ll explore how grief may affect social circles, and we’ll cover creative ideas for supporting your clients to transform relational conflict that may compound stress after loss.
  • Support when death is near: We’ll discuss the ethics, values, choices, and aesthetics involved in supporting your clients and their families to create meaning when death is near.
  • Becoming: your values, ethics, limits, and ongoing growth: We’ll cover the difference between therapy and coaching, how to discern whether your client needs more specialist support, and the values, ethics, and practices are sustaining for you and your clients
  • Endings and possibilities: We’ll explore themes of what our clients might need, and how we might support those needs as we come to the ending phase of our individual and group relationships.
  • Certification Assessment Preparation: We’ll review the requirements for certification, and help you to prepare logistically, emotionally, and mentally for your certification submissions.


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 Grief + Creativity 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:

 Dr. Kimberly Manning, MD, & author of Reflections of a Grady Doctor blog. Dr. Lorraine Hedtke, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D. & author of Remembering Lives.
Dr. Harriet Lerner, Author of Dance of Anger and Marriage Rules.
 IMG_3153 (3)Dr. Darcy Harris, author of Promoting Social Justice in Loss and Grief.
 Vanessa Gorman, filmmaker and author of “Losing Layla”  Ade Adeniji, Coach, Interfaith Minister, Group Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator. Heather Plett, Writer And Founder at

The 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 of core values and theories that include: creativity, experiential art-making demos, exploring the intersections of grief and social justice, articulations of values located within Postmodernism and Social Constructionism, plus prescribed reading and experiential time with your peers so you build your skills in real time.

In this 90min call, our team shares an Introduction to Creative Grief Support to give you an overview of the course and how it works. We also hear from several of our Alumni who speak to things like forming group culture, what it is like to learn online, and more.

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 16-week 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.

Working with children: Our course is most suitable for those who are working with adolescents and adults because we do not include child development theory that is necessary to understand how to communicate with children at different ages and cognitive levels. But if you are already working with children, and understand child development, you’ll find the creative activities in this course are very adaptable for supporting grieving children. Supporting grieving children most often also involves supporting the adults around them, who often are also grieving, and our course material is very suitable for this purpose.


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, 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.
  • Prescribed reading.
  • 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.

Course dates

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.


Applications open until 29 AUG 2017

  • Tuesday 29 Aug – No live call
  • Tuesday 5 Sept – Live call 1
  • Tuesday 12 Sept – Live call 2
  • Tuesday 19 Sept – Live call 3
  • Tuesday 26 Sept – Live call 4
  • Tuesday 3 Oct – Live call 5
  • Tuesday 10 Oct – No live call
  • Tuesday 17 Oct – Live call 6
  • Tuesday 24 Oct – Live call 7
  • Tuesday 31 Oct – No live call
  • Tuesday 7 Nov – Live call 8
  • Tuesday 14 Nov – Live call 9
  • Tuesday 21 Nov – Live call 10
  • Tuesday 28 Nov – Live call 11
  • Tuesday 5 Dec – Live call 12
  • Tuesday 12 Dec – Live call 13
  • Thursday 14 Dec – Live call 14 (Certification Prep)

TIME: 4pm till 5:30pm PACIFIC – Tuesdays (exception: last call for Module 12 happens on a Thursday, same time). This converts to:

  • 5pm till 6:30pm MOUNTAIN TIME, USA – Tuesdays
  • 7pm till 8:30pm EASTERN TIME, USA – Tuesdays
  • 1am till 2am
  • 12am till 1:30am LONDON, UK – Wednesdays
  • 11am till 12:30pm AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Wednesdays
  • 9am till 10:30am SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Wednesdays

MARCH 2018 –

Applications open until 27 FEB 2018

  • Tuesday 27 Feb – No live call
  • Tuesday 6 March – Live call 1
  • Tuesday  13 March – Live call 2
  • Tuesday 20 March – Live call 3
  • Tuesday 27 March – Live call 4
  • Tuesday 3 April – Live call 5
  • Tuesday 10 April – No live call
  • Tuesday 17 April – Live call 6
  • Tuesday 24 April – Live call 7
  • Tuesday 1 May – Live call 8
  • Tuesday 8 May – No live call
  • Tuesday 15 May – Live call 9
  • Tuesday 22 May – Live call 10
  • Tuesday 29 May – Live call 11
  • Tuesday 5 June – Live call 12
  • Tuesday 12 June – Live call 13
  • Thursday 14 June – Live call 14 (Certification Prep)

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 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.

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 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

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”.


After you’ve applied, if you are accepted, we will email you an acceptance letter. The acceptance letter will:Payment plan is available. Read for details below or be in touch with us to talk about your needs.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.


  1. Course Applications for the sessions are due 29 AUG 2017 for Sept session OR 28 FEB 2018 for March session.
  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 to secure your spot and uncovered portion of the course fees. You can find full details about our scholarship application process here.

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kate_duriegailgloriabonniekarenKerry_RyanKuhn_wordsshannonFrequently 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. Where we do offer art-making demos, we’ll tell you what supplies we use, but also do our best to give you alternative ideas to encourage you to use whatever you have on hand, to upcycle materials, and think outside the “art store” box. Also, since it’s about the process of creativity rather than the product, the supplies matter less than just putting in the time to play and explore with whatever supplies you have! Box of colored pencil, crayons, cut open a grocery bag for paper. You get the idea. Of course if you want to explore with a wider range of art materials, that’s fine, too, and we’ll tell you what supplies we are using in the demos.

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 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.

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!