Grief Support Specialist Certificate Program

With a Grief Support Specialist Certificate from UW–Madison, you deepen your counseling skills and develop the practical tools and knowledge you need to aid those grappling with devastating loss.


Is this program right for you?

Loss takes many forms—death, divorce, consequences of drug abuse and other personal trauma. The UW–Madison Grief Support Specialist Certificate Program strengthens how counselors and others help those burdened by grief.

Designed for counselors, clergy, social workers, hospice and palliative care workers, school officials, and first responders, the five-day program presents strategies for helping clients work through their feelings and thoughts related to loss.

The program, the first of its kind in the nation at a major university, is offered in online or face-to-face formats for maximum flexibility.

The face-to-face sessions—taught by four experts in the field—involve four full days of work on subjects ranging from working with grieving children, the role of spirituality, using a client’s own strengths to encourage self-help, and how to develop new grief support programs.

A fifth day, about a month later, is used to showcase final projects completed by program participants. Projects have run the gamut from papers about how to establish school district policies on grief counseling to the grief associated with the loss of a pet to original music and poetry.

Is this program right for you?

Loss takes many forms—death, divorce, consequences of drug abuse and other personal trauma. The UW–Madison Grief Support Specialist Certificate Program strengthens how counselors and others help those burdened by grief.

Designed for counselors, clergy, social workers, hospice and palliative care workers, school officials, and first responders, the five-day program presents strategies for helping clients work through their feelings and thoughts related to loss.

The program, the first of its kind in the nation at a major university, is offered in online or face-to-face formats for maximum flexibility.

The face-to-face sessions—taught by four experts in the field—involve four full days of work on subjects ranging from working with grieving children, the role of spirituality, using a client’s own strengths to encourage self-help, and how to develop new grief support programs.

A fifth day, about a month later, is used to showcase final projects completed by program participants. Projects have run the gamut from papers about how to establish school district policies on grief counseling to the grief associated with the loss of a pet to original music and poetry.

Registration Information

All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a health care or counseling field and/or be employed in a health care or counseling setting.

How You'll Learn

Face-to-Face

  • Work with a cohort of learners through the five-day program.
  • Share personal loss experiences as a springboard into discussions of other grief counseling issues.
  • Develop a final project for presentation a month later.

Online

  • Courses are instructor-facilitated.
  • Share weekly reflections with classmates.
  • Engage in small group assignments and activities.

Sample Curriculum

Face-to-Face Core Courses (complete all)

  • Day 1: Counseling styles and Tools and Techniques
  • Day 2: Children and Grief
  • Day 3: Role of Spirituality in Grief, Multi-cultural Perspectives
  • Day 4: Grief Support Programs and Counseling, Employment Options
  • Day 5: Participant Projects

Online Core Courses (complete all)

  • Week One: Psycho-Spiritual Model of Care, Theories and Tools
  • Week Two: Supporting Children and Adolescents in Loss
  • Week Three: Spirituality, Cultural Competence, and Traumatic Grief
  • Week Four: Working with Atypical Types of Grief and Self-care for Grief Counselors

Ready to learn more about Grief Support Specialist Certificate Program?
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