Deepen your counseling skills with practical tools and knowledge that will equip you to aid people to find healing as they grapple with devastating loss through the Grief Support Specialist Certificate Program at UW-Madison.

Is this program right for you?

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


Designed for a variety of 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. The 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.


What you Learn

  • Acquire counseling strategies for helping those who have experienced loss
  • Identify tools and techniques to help clients work through their loss-related feelings and thoughts
  • Understand the dynamics and interventions for children dealing with grief and the role of spirituality in the grieving process
  • Identify skills for building a new or enhancing a current career in the grief and loss field
  • Integrate key points into a final project and your counseling practice

Where & How you learn


  • Face-to-face or online


  • Work with a cohort of learners through the 5-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

Apply Now

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in a health care or counseling field
  • Be employed in a health care or counseling setting

Register for and learn more about the Grief Support Specialist Certificate Program.


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