Professional Development Courses

Each year during the week of its annual conference, ADEC delivers three professional development courses that provide an in-depth look at the topics and issues of greatest importance in grief and bereavement. At this time, ADEC invites applications from individuals who wish to teach either the Essentials Course: Dying, Death and Bereavement or the Advanced Course: Complicated Bereavement and Grief Therapy. For more information on both courses and information on how to apply, please read below.

Essentials of Thanatology: Dying, Death and Bereavement
Years to be taught: 2020, 2021 & 2022

Intended Audience:
The Introduction to Thanatology Course is intended for those new to the field of Thanatology and individuals who are working as volunteers and support staff with critically ill, dying, or bereaved individuals. This course will also be helpful for professionals (nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers, chaplains, funeral directors, police, EMTs, etc) who may have little formal education in Thanatology and are working with the critically ill, dying, or bereaved.

Course Description:

This course gives an overview and summary of the field of Thanatology based upon the Body of Knowledge published by ADEC. It explores the social, cultural, psychological, legal/ethical, and spiritual issues raised by illness, dying, death, and bereavement. All information is relevant to everyday life and most specifically to those practitioners providing support to the dying and bereaved. The course will explore the meaning of death and examine personal attitudes and fears, in order to understand the grieving process and basic grief support throughout the life span. 

Required Course Objectives:

  1. Identify the six categories and twelve indicators which form the Body of Knowledge as delineated in the Handbook of Thanatology (Balk, 2007). 
  2. Describe historical, contemporary, and cross-cultural perspectives of death and dying.
  3. Explain the social, cultural, psychological, and spiritual aspects of death, dying, and bereavement including ceremonies and rituals.
  4. Describe understandings of the death experience related to a life span development.
  5. Identify legal/ethical/technological issues pertinent to the death experience.
  6. Describe the various models of the grief experience.
  7. Identify ways in which caring people may assist the dying and bereaved with basic grief support. 
  8. Describe how research guides clinical practice and the importance of bridging the gap between clinicians and researchers.
  9. Explore personal beliefs and feelings related to the death experience.
  10. Differentiate between formal and informal death education.

Advanced Course: Complicated Bereavement and Grief Therapy
Years to be taught: 2020 & 2021

Intended Audience:
Psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, nurses, physicians, pastoral counselors, or anyone with professional training seeking advanced skill development in bereavement intervention with challenging cases.

Course Description:

A significant percentage of individuals who lose a loved one struggle with prolonged and debilitating grief that merits professional intervention. The goal of this course is to draw on contemporary models and research findings that help distinguish between benign (or resilient patterns of grieving) and those that are more complicated, traumatic, or entail greater risk to the bereaved person’s psychosocial adaptation, health, and interpersonal relationships. The course will acquaint participants with specific conceptual and practical tools for evaluating and intervening in such complications.

Required Course Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between normal and problematic forms of bereavement in terms of characteristic symptoms and trajectory.
  2. Present and evaluate research identifying risk factors for poor bereavement outcome, as well as predictors and correlates of resilience.
  3. Review contemporary models of complicated or traumatic bereavement with a focus toward assessment and intervention.
  4. Describe procedures for evaluating bereavement complications that merit intervention.
  5. Illustrate alternative strategies for complicated or traumatic bereavement intervention, anchoring these in clinical material.

Application Requirements

Please complete and submit the online application by February 28, 2019. Application materials will include:

  • ADEC membership information, ADEC committee/activity involvement, experience in the field of thanatology; 
  • a current resume / CV, brief faculty biography, and desire for applying; 
  • course topic outline, area of emphasis; 
  • teaching history, previous ADEC conference attendance and presentations. 

All applications will be reviewed by the Professional Development Committee and the committee will be in touch by the end of March. Final applicants will be invited to interview with the committee at the 2019 ADEC Conference. If you will not be attending the conference this year, alternative arrangements can be arranged.

Application Deadline

Online applications are due February 28, 2019.

Essentials Course: Dying, Death & Bereavement Application
Advanced Course: Complicated Bereavement & Grief Therapy Application


Please contact ADEC Headquarters with questions regarding the online application form. For questions regarding course content, requirements and logistics, please contact Sheri Goldstrohm, Committee Chair with questions.