Education for Grief Counselors
Grief Counselors serve a very important role in our society.
Grief counselors guide individuals through the loss of a loved one such as a spouse, parent, or even a pet. Supportive listening is a big part of what they do. Grief counselors help individuals manage their feelings appropriately. Relationship break-ups and divorces can be difficult, too. Grief counselors can assist in these cases, as well.
Grief is a reaction to any form of loss. An individual often experiences a range of feelings from deep sadness, and sorrow, to anger. One person may have an entirely different reaction to another to the same incident, depending on his or her background, beliefs, and many other factors.
The American Academy of Grief Counseling delineates that traditional therapy is different from counseling. Grief counselors typically work with individuals who are experiencing normal expressions of grief. The process implemented by a grief counselor encompasses elements such as encouragement and education. Clients with more serious experiences, or challenges, will need to seek assistance from a qualified therapist with advanced credentials.
Grief counselors are often found working within hospices or other places where death is not uncommon. They can be found in social service agencies, churches, or funeral homes. Those who are grieving derive much comfort and benefit from the grief counselors.
Receiving the Proper Education for Working as a Grief Counselor
The amount of education and training needed depends on what capacity you will be working. Obviously, you want to get the best education possible in order to expand your career horizons.
A prospective counselor or therapist should ideally plan on completing an undergraduate degree and then a Master’s degree. Recommended undergraduate degree programs would be along the lines of a psychology, human services, or social work degree. If a person has a background in nursing, he or she could choose to work as a psychiatric advanced practice nurse. Many will choose to combine a desire for counseling with a particular religious calling in order to become pastoral counselors.
A graduate is usually required to work under supervision for a period of two to three years, gaining invaluable fieldwork experience. The person supervising usually must perform an evaluation and recommend the counselor to the state board for professional licensing.
If you are looking into degree programs that will give you a solid start, here is a great place to
Licensing and Certification
Master’s level counselors are state licensed. There are voluntary certifications in grief counseling available, as well. The certification process will usually include formal training and an examination.
The American Academy of Grief Counseling offers various levels of credentialing. There are multiple eligibility categories. Though a Master’s is not always required for Certified Grief Counselor, a successful undergraduate degree in psychology or human services is usually required. In order to become a Grief Recovery Practitioner, a counselor will need a Master’s degree.
Once certified as a Certified Grief Counselor, a person may do training for specialty certifications.
Practitioners may also seek certification through ADEC, The Thanatology Association.
Grief Counseling can prove to be a very rewarding career for those willing to put forth the effort.