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Digital Seminar

2-Day Certification Course on Grief Counseling for Children & Adolescents: Developmentally-Appropriate Assessment and Treatment Strategies for Processing Grief

Erica H Sirrine, PhD, LCSW, FT
12 Hours 07 Minutes
Jan 27, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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Grief looks different in a child.

When a child loses someone, it’s a lifelong loss. Not only have they lost someone important, they often become isolated in their pain, confusion, and self-blame. Safety and security have been replaced by trauma and anxiety.

Their understanding of death, and responses to the grief that follows, are largely influenced by their developmental level, making their treatment much different from that of an adult.

Many clinicians are unprepared…a child’s unique grief leaving them struggling in session.

This live webinar featuring grief expert, author, and speaker Erica H. Sirrine, Ph.D., LCSW, FT provides you with the assessment and treatment strategies you need to help your most vulnerable clients.

Watch Dr. Sirrine and discover how you can:

  • Better evaluate for developmentally appropriate grief symptomology
  • Provide anticipatory grief support to children facing the death of a parent
  • Talk to kids about death and tough topics like suicide
  • Match strategies and interventions to developmental level for improved outcomes
  • Use therapeutic games, arts and activities to promote healing when talking is too difficult

Best of all, upon completion of this live training, you’ll be eligible to become a Certified Child & Adolescent Grief Counselling Specialist (CGCS-CA) through Evergreen Certifications.  Certification lets colleagues, employers, and caregivers know that you’ve invested the extra time and effort necessary to understand the complexities of grief counselling with today’s youth. Professional standards apply. Visit Evergreen Certifications for details.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get the skills you need to make a difference for your young clients.

Purchase today!


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 12 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Erica H Sirrine, PhD, LCSW, FT's Profile

Erica H Sirrine, PhD, LCSW, FT Related seminars and products

Dr. Erica Sirrine is a licensed clinical social worker with over 22 years of experience in the field of death, dying, and bereavement. She earned a PhD in social work and has been awarded the distinction of Fellow in Thanatology by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Dr. Sirrine has conducted and published research on grief and bereavement, including a study on college student experiences of loss amid the COVID-19 pandemic that was published in OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying and featured in TIME magazine. She maintains a blog on grief and is the author of Sammy’s Story, an anticipatory grief counseling book for young children experiencing the serious illness of a parent.

Dr. Sirrine has extensive expertise providing individual and group therapy to children, adolescents, adults, and families experiencing illness and loss. She has implemented numerous interventions and programs aimed at improving the emotional health of clients and currently serves as the director of social work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Sirrine frequently presents seminars on bereavement and loss throughout the United States and is known for her interactive and engaging workshops.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Erica Sirrine has employment relationships with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Southeastern University. She receives royalties as a published author. Erica Sirrine receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Erica Sirrine is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers, the National Alliance for Children’s Grief, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare.


  1. Analyze the cognitive components of understanding grief in childhood (i.e., irreversibility, non-functionality, causality, universality) and connect these concepts to a developmentally appropriate treatment approach.  
  2. Distinguish between different types of grief and recognize the implications of different types for treatment/intervention with children and adolescents. 
  3. Perform a clinical assessment to identify grief reactions, coping mechanisms, red flag behaviours, and factors that influence mourning in grieving children and adolescents. 
  4. Design individualized therapeutic interventions to help children and adolescents express and reconcile grief. 
  5. Analyze continuing attachment bonds after death and their relevance to clinical practice with bereaved children and adolescents. 
  6. Evaluate developmentally appropriate grief symptomology for children and adolescents and assess for clinical concerns. 
  7. Investigate how traumatic loss impacts young people and use trauma-informed interventions to reduce symptomology.
  8. Utilize strategies for providing anticipatory grief support to children facing the death of a parent, family member, or friend. 
  9. Determine boundaries of professional competence and analyze ethical considerations for working with minors and families  
  10. Utilize developmentally appropriate techniques for working through regret, forgiveness, and reconciliation with children and adolescents 
  11. Assess factors that can influence the grief process, such as multicultural and spirituality considerations, nature and type of loss, and support system. 
  12. Construct concrete terms to increase effectiveness in grief work with children. 


Critical Concepts for Treating Grieving Children & Adolescents

  • Grief vs. mourning: A distinction
  • Primary and secondary losses
  • Parental and sibling loss
  • Non-death losses experienced by kids
  • Traditional grief models & kids
  • Cognitive components of understanding grief in childhood
  • Grief concepts & loss responses by developmental age and stage (using case examples)
  • Distinctions between adult and youth responses to loss
  • Explaining sensitive topics like suicide or homicide death to kids
  • Magical thinking, guilt, and regret in childhood loss

Assessment of Grief & Loss in Children & Adolescents

  • How children and adolescents understand and cope with death
  • Six common questions following a death
  • “Things we want adults to know about our grief”
  • “De-code” the meanings of behaviours
  • Factors that influence mourning and healing in kids
  • Red flag behaviours
  • Ethical considerations for working with kids

Normal vs. Abnormal Responses to Loss in Children and Adolescents

  • Depression vs. bereavement: A DSM-5 distinction
  • Differentiating between normal, complicated, prolonged, and traumatic grief in children

Traumatic Grief in Children & Adolescents

  • Trauma exposure and traumatic loss
  • Assessing traumatic grief
  • Differentiating from normal bereavement
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Evidence-based interventions for treating traumatic grief

The Role of Attachment in Childhood Grief

  • The role of the pre-death relationship
  • Factors that influence continuing bonds
  • Assessment and expression of child and adolescent continuing bonds after death
  • Adaptive vs. maladaptive continuing bonds
  • Grief Cave Intervention

Anticipatory Grief Counselling

  • Talking to kids about terminal illness and death: Do’s and Don’ts
  • Anticipatory grief interventions
  • Explaining cancer to kids
  • Explaining the dying process to kids
  • Strategies to prepare kids for funerals & memorial services
  • Strategies to prepare children to return to school after a death

Individual Interventions to Help Children Reconcile Losses & Discover Hope

  • Bibliotherapy and journaling
  • Therapeutic games and play
  • Expressive arts interventions
  • Poetry, writing, and music interventions
  • Memorialization Rituals- Holidays and Significant Dates

School-Based and Group Interventions

  • Factors for assessing and counselling kids and teens at schools
  • Strategies for building rapport
  • 6-week support group session outline
  • Grief Camps
  • Family Camps
  • “Pamper Days”

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Chaplains/Clergy
  • Thanatologists
  • Bereavement Counselors
  • Hospice Professionals
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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