Grief, Loss, Death and Dying

Grief, Loss, Death and Dying

Unit Description

In this unit, students will develop an understanding of the issues and processes of holistic counselling and psychotherapy when working with people experiencing loss and grief, death and dying.

Classic and contemporary theories and approaches to working with grief, loss and death will be covered, including the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Arnold Mindell, Rudolf Steiner, Worden and Niemeyer, and models arising from palliative care. The holistic model will be differentiated from other models.

Students will discuss case studies weekly as a way of applying their understanding of the holistic model to a range of loss and grief circumstances, across the lifespan, and with culturally diverse clients.
Palliative care is introduced during the intensive by a palliative care specialist. Counselling skills for loss and grief are taught and practiced under supervision at the intensive and will be demonstrated by students through the submission of an audio-visual assignment and critical analysis of the session.

Unit Code


Unit Type

Core Unit

Credit Points


Unit Coordinator

Dr Christina Nielsen Ch.Med

Consultation Times

30 minutes before and after workshop intensives and by appointment during the semester

Topics Covered

  • Understanding loss and grief across the lifespan
  • Classic theories and approaches to loss and grief
  • Contemporary theories and approaches to loss and grief
  • The holistic model of working with loss and grief
  • The role of the psychotherapist in dealing with loss and grief
  • Bereavement and palliative care counselling contexts
  • Holistic counselling and psychotherapy: Key practice skills for loss and grief
  • Ethical and professional aspects of loss and grief counselling

Learning Outcomes

  1. Critically analyse and compare classical and contemporary theories of grief, loss and death with the holistic model
  2. Articulate and analyse key concerns and challenges in grief and loss counselling and therapy
  3. Skilfully demonstrate and evaluate holistic counselling and psychotherapy interventions for bereavement and palliative care
  4. Accurately define and apply concepts and terminology for loss and grief counselling and psychotherapy
  5. Identify and analyse ethical and professional aspects of grief and loss counselling and psychotherapy

Assessment Overview

Comparative Essay

Critically compare classical and contemporary models of loss and grief, death and dying, with the holistic model.

Analysis of Case Studies on Online Discussion Forum

Students are to participate in the analysis and discussion of weekly case studies on loss and grief.

Psychotherapy Session

Audiovisual Recording of Client Session on Grief and Loss applying the holistic model and a critical evaluation.

Unit Resources

Prescribed reading

Jenkinson, S. (2015). Die Wise: A manifesto for sanity and soul. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books

Barbato, M. (2014). Midwifeing death. Kiama, Australia: Barbato.
Servaty-Seib, H. L. (2004). Connections between counseling theories and current theories of

grief and mourning. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 26(2), 125-145.

Worden, J. W. (2018). Grief counseling and grief therapy: A handbook for the mental health practitioner (5th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Evans, S. (2015). Surviving traumatic grief: When loved ones die in a disaster (2nd ed.). Vol. 1. Eltham, Australia: Sue Evans Fund for Families & Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.

Delivery Mode

Workshop intensives on-campus

Workshop Intensive 1:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Workshop Intensive 3:

9:00 am to 5:30 pm
3.25 hours of teaching and learning

Online delivery
1.5 hour Zoom discussion mid-semester

Written by: Samuel Minton • Created: 21 Jul 2020, 10:07 a.m.