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Digital Seminar

Counseling Grief Clients: Practical Interventions from New Theoretical Insights

Beth Eckerd, Ph.D.
5 Hours 35 Minutes
Nov 30, 2016
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Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Clinicians often struggle to develop an effective approach to counseling grief clients, due to the uniqueness of each individual's grief. The last 10-15 years have seen an explosion of new research in the field and many new studies have turned what we thought we knew on its head. Another important and very practical issue involves diagnosis, as DSM-5® revisions affect the most commonly applied diagnoses for grief clients.

Explore this new research, including up-to-date information about appropriate diagnosis of grief clients in DSM-5®, ideas for how to assess grief severity and related constructs, and clarification about what is meant by “complicated grief” with Licensed Psychologist and Certified Thanatologist, Dr. Beth Eckerd. Review the most commonly used current models for understanding grief and leave with tools, including 20 interventions, to more confidently assist clients in navigating the adaptive, yet confusing and difficult, grief process. The seminar will end with a focus on self-care, discussing how to appropriately manage and care for ourselves in this demanding, yet fulfilling, work. 



Beth Eckerd, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Beth Eckerd, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Medford, Oregon. She is an experienced educator who taught undergraduate – and graduate-level psychology and counseling courses for 15 years, and she is a professor emeritus at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. As an academic, her teaching and research focused on grief, death education, personality and psychopathology, and diagnosis. Dr. Eckerd’s research has appeared in Death Studies and other journals. Since transitioning to full-time private practice several years ago, she has presented frequently on psychotherapy with clients who are grieving, as well as on the revised DSM-5®. Dr. Eckerd is a certified thanatologist whose practice regularly includes many clients who are grieving the death of a loved one. Her aim for this presentation is to distill current research and theory into clinically useful information and do so with humor and fast-paced organization in order to establish an enjoyable environment for participants’ engagement and learning.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Lizabeth Eckerd is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the Humboldt State University. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Lizabeth Eckerd has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive) Access never expires for this product.


  1. Articulate current models for conceptualizing grief for the purposes of client psychoeducation
  2. Identify five predictors of grief severity in clients
  3. Put to practical use in-session a basic, adaptable approach to grief counseling
  4. Demonstrate three new interventions to use with bereaved clients in a clincial session
  5. Determine when grief has become “complicated” and outline a suitable treatment strategy
  6. Diagnose grief clients appropriately using the DSM-5®/li>



  • The cost of loving and caring 
  • Models for understanding grief
    • Older, familiar models
      • The “griefwork” hypothesis
      • Kubler-Ross stages
    • Current theories and approaches
      • Attachment theory
      • Phase and task models
      • Meaning reconstruction
      • Dual process model
      • Continuing bonds
  • Expressions
    • Emotional and cognitive expressions
    • Physical manifestations
    • Behavioral expressions
    • Social behaviors and societal reactions 
  • Predictors and mediators of the experience
    • Background: grief is highly individual
    • Personality and other vulnerability factors
    • Who died; quality of relationship
    • Social, contextual, and cultural influences
    • Mode of death
    • Other influences
  • Non-death losses


  • Grief counseling
    • How is it different from other types of counseling?
    • Who often benefits (and who may not)? 
  • Components of a general approach
    • The 3 Rogerian conditions
    • Power of presence                   
    • Being a companion/therapist for your grief clients
  • Cross-cultural and other diversity considerations
  • Dealing with emotional intensity
  • Grief vs. trauma  
  • Interventions
  • When clients' grief is disenfranchised
  • Working with couples or families who have experienced the “same” loss
  • Preparing for grief “spikes”
  • Post-traumatic growth


  • Common trajectories for grief
  • What is “complicated” grief and how do you recognize it?
  • Risk factors for complicated grief         
  • Overview of treatments for complicated grief


  • How to differentiate between depression, grief, and PTSD
  • Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder
  • Use of Adjustment Disorder diagnosis with grief clients
  • Measurement/assessment of grief


  • The risks and joys of this work 
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-care
  • Training opportunities in this field

Target Audience

  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Art Therapists
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners
  • Mental Health Nurses
  • Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors

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