The American Grief Academy offers Core Courses and Advanced Courses.  Each course is detailed below.

Core Courses

Understanding Grief

Comprehensive orientation course in the grief process.  Includes fundamentals of grieving, philosophies of adaptation process, grieving styles, coping mechanisms, family dynamics, historical and cultural perspectives of grief.  Variances in the grieving process will be addressed.  Personal exploration of attitudes towards death and grief will be explored as well.  This is a participatory seminar.



  • The Process of Change and Adaptation

  • The Grieving Process

  • The Myths of Grief

  • The Variables in Grief

  • The Family Dynamics of Grieving

  • Personality and Grieving Styles

  • Cultural Aspects of Grief


Follow-Up Care and Support Services

Basic orientation course in aftercare services.  Includes the philosophy of aftercare, community assessment skills, program materials evaluation and selection process, basic program developmental skills including basic budgeting and marketing techniques, program development, planning and evaluation.  A hands-on, working course!



  • Philosophy of Follow-Up Care

  • Myths About Setting Up and Running a Continuing Care Program

  • Community Assessment Skills

  • Follow-Up Program Options

  • Basic Program Budgeting

  • Basic Marketing Strategies

  • Evaluation of Program Materials

  • Building Networks and Community Resources


Group Dynamics and Facilitation

Explore group dynamics and identify your leadership style.  Learn the elements and options of bereavement support programs and how to build effective groups.  Extensive program ideas will be shared and program outlines created.  Learn group assessment skills as well as how to make appropriate referrals.  Group facilitation and leadership skills will be practiced and evaluation techniques will be included.  You'll never hesitate to run groups again!


  • Elements of Successful Groups

  • Program Ideas

  • Leadership Styles and Roles

  • Liability Issues

  • Group Membership Criteria

  • Group Assessment Skills

  • Effective Tools for Starting and Ending Groups

  • How and When to Make Referrals

  • Evaluation Tools and Techniques

  • Extensive Facilitation Practice


Compassion Fatigue

This program is designed to provide care for the caregiver while helping them develop skills that will help with their own personal growth and management of stress.  Participants will learn to tap into their inner source of wholeness and how to help others find their own well spring of strength, compassion and capability.  A participatory course with lots of interaction and inner action!  Come to be re-charged, re-energized, renewed!



  • Expectations of Self and Others

  • Elements of a Healing Environment

  • Discovering and Understanding Your Coping Style

  • Anger Management and Coping Strategies

  • Wallowing-How to Have a Good Bad Day

  • Understanding Situational Depression

  • Dealing with the #1 Disease in America: GUILT

  • Building Success for Yourself and Others


Advanced Courses

What Color is Dead?  How to Help Grieving Children

Grief isn't just for grown-ups.  Little hearts need mending too!  This program is designed to help you understand how children perceive death, how they respond to loss and how they grieve.  A comprehensive overview of death from a child's view will be given as well as developmental stages of grieving behaviors.  Information on ways to create support systems for bereaved children will be shared as well as extensive program ideas and strategies for helping heal the hurts.



  • How Children Respond to Death and Loss

  • Developmental Stages of Children's Understandings of Death

  • Signs and Symptoms of Stress in Grieving Children

  • Concerns of Surviving Children

  • Sibling Loss, Parental Loss, General Loss

  • Strategies for Positive Grief Resolution

  • Ceremonies for Children

  • Programming for Children




Beyond the Basics of Grief: Complicated Issues of Trauma, Suicide, Homicide, Long Term Illness

This course will move beyond the basic concepts of grief and bereavement.  It will cover a wide variety of specialized topics including the reactions from death from trauma, suicide or homicide.  It will address grief issues such as death from Long Term Illness and Pregnancy Loss as well.  A new language of grief will be discussed and specific interventions will be studied.  A must for anyone working with complicating grief issues.



  • The Grief Process Revisited

  • A New Language for Grief

  • Complicating Factors in Bereavement

  • Major Issues for Specific Death Types

  • Differences in Grief Reactions: Suicide, Homicide, Sudden, Accidental, Long Term Illness, SIDS, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, AIDS

  • Interventions

  • The New Grief of Terrorism


The Spiritual Connections of Bereavement

In an attempt to remain completely neutral for all populations, bereavement caregivers often skip over the spiritual aspects of grieving.  This course will examine the value and need for addressing the spiritual concerns of the bereaved.  Learn the differences between religion and spirituality and become comfortable with the wide variety of needs in this area of bereavement support.  We will explore a variety of religious philosophies, rituals and customs and create a meaningful memorial for ourselves.  Discover what is meant by PRESENCE.        



  • The Differences Between Religion and Spirituality

  • Addressing the Spiritual Needs of the Bereaved

  • How to Answer the Unanswerable Questions

  • The Meaning of Death/Grief Rituals for a Variety of Religions

  • The Magic is YOU: the Gift of Presence


Death Takes A Seat in the Classroom

Death has come to the classroom in violent ways in recent years.  Our children are faced with armed classmates, threatened with bombings and terrorized by gang warfare in the streets.  How can we help children learn to cope with the losses and hurts they experience instead of ignoring them until they explode into violet behaviors?  This HOW TO course on developing internal crisis response teams within a school system will discuss intervention goals, objectives and the stages necessary to create a first line of defense for any death-related crisis.  Action plans, program elements, time lines and training guidelines will be given.  A MUST for anyone working with schools!



  • Crisis Definitions

  • Elements of an Effective Crisis Response

  • Building an Internal Crisis Response Team

  • Techniques for Responding to Crisis

  • Designing A CRT for YOUR System

  • Program Ideas for Student Groups

  • Evaluation Tools and Techniques



Rituals Right or Rituals Ruined

Rituals can play an important part in the healing process, but they require careful planning and orchestration in order to be effective.  This course will explore the world of rituals and special programming for the bereaved and teach you some of the tricks for successful rituals.  Rituals done well are wonderful, but poor planning can lead to "ritual ruin" and destroy the healing aspects of your ceremony.  We will examine the planning process, elements and secrets of program success, budgets and marketing and the elements of a successful ritual.  You will participate in a number of rituals and have the opportunity to create one as well.



  • The Philosophy and Value of Ritual

  • Elements of a Successful Ritual

  • Planning Steps

  • Budgeting and Marketing

  • Holidays and Special Day Programming

  • Participate in a Variety of Rituals

  • Create a Personal Ritual of Healing



Grief Counseling Skills Training (for licensed counselors, therapists, psychologists or social workers only)

This course is designed for licensed professional counselors (LPC) or social workers (BSW, MSW, etc) who wish to add to their knowledge about grief and grief counseling.  It will address a variety of grief issues including but not limited to: the grief process, specialized grief situations, debriefing skills for trauma victims and disaster workers and therapeutic interventions for positive grief resolution.  Practical applications as well as didactic materials will be presented.  Designed to add grief counseling skills to an already established professional counselor.  (a copy of your advanced degree and/or license is required prior to enrollment)



  • The Grief Process and Adaptation to Impending Change

  • Therapeutic Interventions for Positive Grief Resolution

  • Listening to The Story

  • Client Evaluation Tools   

  • Liability Issues

  • Record Keeping for Accurate Billing


Grief Goes to Work

This innovative program will prepare you to help employers and employees cope with grief in the workplace.  Designed to assist Employee Assistance Programs, Mental Health Workers, Supervisors, Employers or anyone working with the workforce to provide information, education and support for grieving employees.  Organizational assessment, policy development and implementation of a support system will be presented as well as the skills needed to design a customized program for any work site.



  • The Myths of Grief in the Workplace

  • Organizational Assessment of Services

  • Management Roles in Grief Support

  • Creating a Healing Environment at Work

  • Building Support Programs at the Work Site

  • The First Line of Defense



Dollars and $ense: Marketing, Public Relations, and Creative Financing for Bereavement Programs

Designed for aftercare providers, this training will provide an in-depth look at advanced budgeting strategies, marketing ideas and new and creative ways to extend services throughout a community.


Your program doesn't have to be a "throw away cost" or a drain on the resources of your firm.  All aspects of marketing, public relations and financing an aftercare program will be covered.  If you love being innovative with finances and want to fund an aftercare program creatively, this course is for you!  A must course for those interested in increasing their market share and enhancing public relations and community awareness of their programs!



  • Making Your Aftercare Program Profitable

  • Budgets: The Mysteries and the Magic

  • The Marketing Process

  • Effective Use of Public Relations

  • How to Get the Most Bang for Limited Bucks

  • Effective Advertising in All Media

  • Grief Resource Centers: The Wave of the Future

  • Roadblocks, Setbacks and Success Stories


Creative Therapies (Art, Music, Hypnotherapy, Alternative Modalities)

There are many ways to help the bereaved in their search for healing.  This course will examine a variety of "alternative" methods for finding the "quiet within" which leads to healing the hurts of grief.  We will explore the worlds of art and music therapy, investigate hypnotherapy as a method for grief integration and several methods of hands on" support.  Come with an open and inquisitive mind as we will be pushing back the edge of what is known and march into the realm of belief and possibility.  The instructors are all certified in their respective fields (art, music therapy, hypnotherapy, healing touch, massage, etc).  An exciting learning laboratory for the healing ARTS!  Come learn some new techniques and search for your own "Quiet Within" space.



  • What is meant by "alternative therapies?"

  • The Healing Aspects of Art Therapy                     

  • The Healing Aspects of Music Therapy

  • How Hypnotherapy Can Lead to Grief Resolution

  • Guided Imagery and Creative Visualization Techniques

  • Healing Touch and Other Healing Arts

  • The Search for the Quiet Within


Grief Resource Centers: The Wave of the Future

When you are ready to take the next step into the future, this course is for you.   Here is an innovative and creative way to provide grief resources for the bereaved in your community.  


This class will take you, step by step, through the process of community assessment, space design, product selection, budgeting, marketing strategies and creative programming.  You will learn the hows and whys of creating a profitable grief resource center for your community.  This is a “nuts and bolts” course that will help you develop a blueprint for creating a state of the art grief resource center.



  • Community Assessment Tools

  • Budgets That Work

  • Design Magic:  The Where and How of Space Utilization

  • Product Selection, Purchase and Inventory Management

  • Product Placement and Design

  • Effective Marketing Strategies

  • Creative Programming

  • Roadblocks, Setbacks and Success Stories


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