Presented by

Delaware End-of-Life Coallition

This program was developed by the Division of Special Programs, College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware, and is now available exclusively through the Delaware End-of-Life Coalition.


End-of-Life issues impact the practice of all healthcare professionals, counselors, clergy, hospice staff, social workers and many others. In order to provide appropriate, compassionate care, one must have a sound understanding of all aspects of grief – from anticipatory grief to post death grief. Special Topics in Thanatology: Dying, Death and Bereavement is a three part distance learning program incorporating both video and on-line components provided on a password protected website. The program divisions are:

  • The Grief Primer
  • Issues and Interventions Related to Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief
  • Capstone Experience

Sections I and II contain from five to seven topic areas with multiple modules addressing each area. The Capstone Experience video contains an overview of the experiential component of the program.

This division of content allows the learner freedom to select information directly related to his/her needs. The presenters are highly qualified professionals who integrate content and research with real world experience.

Each of the two content sections of the program can be purchased separately and CE credit will be awarded upon successful completion of the online quizzes and evaluation form. While it is recommended that the Grief Primer be completed first as it provides foundational information, the choice is left to the learner. In order to earn a certificate of completion for the series, the learner must successfully complete all three sections of the program. The Capstone Experience is available only to those who have successfully completed the two content sections of the program.

About the Field of Thanatology …

The word "thanatology," derived from the Greek thanatos, meaning death, can be broadly defined as the study of dying, death and bereavement. While death has been explored in many forms, from drama to poetry to cartoons, throughout history, it wasn't until the latter half of the 1900s that theorists, clinicians and researchers began to bring death "out of the closet." Pioneers in this movement included Herman Feifel, whose book, The Meaning of Death, was published in 1959 and Elizabeth Kuber-Ross, the Swiss psychiatrist whose early work with dying patients was recorded in her book, On Death and Dying, published in 1969. Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of St. Christopher's Hospice in southeast London in 1967 is credited with initiating the hospice movement which has flourished in the US and is a funded service under Medicare. In 1972 Robert Kastenbaum and Ruth Aisenberg's text, The Psychology of Death became another marker in the evolving explosion of books and research about death and dying. The oldest interdisciplinary organization in thanatology, The Forum for Death Education and Counseling, was formed in 1976. Today there are many organizations devoted to some aspect of dying, death or bereavement as well as many publications. Research at all levels within the field is the cornerstone of education and practice.

Program Objectives

Special Topics in Thanatology: The Grief Primer
At the conclusion of this program, the learner will be able to:

  • Define anticipatory grief.
  • Identify therapeutic interventions for anticipatory grief.
  • Identify grief manifestations.
  • Describe factors which may impact the grief experience.
  • Articulate past and current understandings of the grief experience.
  • Discuss the concept of "continuing the bonds."
  • Identify the basic needs of grieving children.
  • Delineate task faced by grieving children.
  • Discuss potential consequences when one avoids the question or tries to answer the unknowable when working with a grieving child.
  • Articulate skills needed for communicating about the unknowable when working with grieving children.
  • Discuss support strategies that can be utilized when working with a bereaved individual.
  • Explain the value of ceremonies and rituals as a component of grief work.
  • Discuss Gestalt Therapy in relation to the grief process.
  • Describe creative therapies which utilize the human/animal bond, horticulture, nature and the arts in supporting the bereaved.
  • Explain the utilization of music in care of the dying.

Special Topics in Thanatology: Issues and Interventions Related to Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief
At the conclusion of this program, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify risk factors for complicated grief.
  • Define disenfranchised grief in terms of loss not recognized as socially significant, griever not recognized as capable of grief, relationship not recognized as “legitimate,” circumstances of the death and the ways individuals grieve.
  • Discuss special issues confronting suicide and homicide survivors.
  • Identify support strategies for suicide survivors.
  • Articulate varying reactions of individuals to perinatal loss.
  • Describe support strategies to be utilized when working with a family who has experienced perinatal loss.
  • Recognize multicultural differences and implications of same related to bereavement support.
  • Articulate unique aspects of military deaths in relation to surviving families.
  • Discuss the programs and resources available through TAPS to assist military families after a death.
  • Identify issues related to companion animal loss.
  • List groups at increased risk for disenfranchised grief related to pet death.

Special Topics in Thanatology: Capstone Experience
At the conclusion of this program, the learner will be able to:

  • Assess his/her personal awareness of feelings, thoughts, values and experience which impace his/her interactions with the dying and bereaved.
  • Articulate the importance of research to the continued development of the field of thanatology.
  • Identify methodological and ethical issues of concern in relation to death-related research.
  • Describe the four dimensions of death education utilizing specific examples reflective of each dimension.
  • Synthesize knowledge gained through each dimension of death education as evidenced in the development of a capstone project.


Bereavement/Aftercare Staff
Death Educators
Funeral Directors
Hospice Staff
Social Workers
Others who teach about end of life issues or provide care to the dying and bereaved

Contact Hours

Each section of the program can be purchased separately and CE credit will be awarded upon successful completion of the on-line quizzes and evaluation form. Programs can be completed in any order.  However, a certificate of program completion will be awarded only upon successful completion of all three sections.

  • The Grief Primer - 9.0 contact hours / 0.9 CEUs)
  • Issues and Interventions Related to Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief - 6.8 contact hours / 0.7 CEUs)
  • Capstone Experience - 25.3 contact hours / 2.5 CEUs)

Continuing education credit is provided through Corexcel.

Corexcel is accredited as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation (ANCC).

Corexcel is also accredited through the State of Florida, Board of Nursing (provider no. FBN 2479) and the State of California, Board of Nursing (provider no. CEP 13687). Corexcel has been approved as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, MacLean, VA 22102.

If your discipline is not listed above, please contact your professional licensing organization for program approval.

Technology Requirements

This is an online certificate program.Participants must have access to a Mac® or Windows®-based computer, preferably no more than four years old, with a modern web browser (such as Internet Explorer®, Safari®, etc.) and the latest version of Adobe Flash®. To view printable slides, as well as some additional resources, you must have Adobe Reader downloaded on our computer. The program can also be accessed via Apple® iOS and Android™ devices (phones and tablets) from the past year. Note: All assignments in the Capstone seciton must be submitted electronically.

Click here to view a lecture demo..




Section I: The Grief Primer [$249.00]
Section II: Issues and Interventions Related to Complicated and Disenfranchised Grief [$199.00]
Section III: Capstone Experience [$499.00]

Register for all 3 sections [$599.00]

NOTE: 5 or more registrations from an agency made at the same time will generate a 10% discount off the total cost. This may be any combination of sections including the 3-section package which counts as one.


Participant Comments

Section I - The Grief Primer:

"The Grief Primer was a wonderful introduction to the topic of Thanatology. I had never realized how extensive the history and current state of knowledge was in this area."

"...a great refresher for me regarding basic grief and bereavemet support information. Music as therapy was a unique and valuable section."

Section II - Issues and Interventions Related to Complicated and Disenfrancished Grief:

"The broad spectrum of disenfranchised grief issues and interventions in this section was vary valuable and enlightening. Each section provided information about a specific type of loss and how to more fully support the grieving individual."

"I enrolled in this course to better understand issues related to grief and mourning. I had hoped that this knowledge would help improve my skills as a clinical ethics consultant. I was overwhelmed with the breadth of knowledge and research in this discipline and believe I learned more than I ever anticipated. I appreciated the mix of both theory and practice."

Section III - The Capstone Experience:

"The Capstone Experience allowed me to further investigate and research the field of Thanatology so that I might begin to think more like a "thanatologist." I was most pleased when even simple conversations regarding disenfrancised grief returned big dividends when some of the medical residents informed me that their perspecive and appreciation of the grieving process has made them better listeners and practitioners."

"This heavy-duty section was full of self-awareness exercises, research assignments and creative project work. Self-awareness exercises provided an opportunity to recognize and understand my own experiences with grief and why I respond as I do to my own grief and that of others. The requirement of developing and completing a project...has been a challenge and adventure for me. Throughout the whole process, I have received a good deal of direction and encouragement from Professor Lambrecht."

"The information is invaluable and tends to make you examine your own feelings first..."


Program Highlights

  • Video Lectures with printable slides
  • Supplemental materials available on password-protected website
  • Module format for fast, easy access
  • Separation of content addresses learner needs
ALERT: This program contains very explicit photographs that may be disturbing to some viewers. The overall nature of the content is not suitable for children.

Advantages of Online Format

  • Anywhere, anytime accessibility
  • Increased computer competency, a necessity in today's technological practice settings
  • No scheduling conflicts
  • No transportation costs
  • Tech support available
  • Online quiz and evaluation
  • Printable certificate on program completion

What is a Certificate Program?

A certificate program is an education offering (or series of offerings) in a specified content area. A certificate of completion is awarded by the provider when all program requirements (such as video presentations, assignments, tests, etc.) have been successfully completed.

What are the Benefits of a Certificate Program?

  • Increased knowledge base in a specific area
  • Exploration of a new field if considering a career change and/or added responsibilities in current position
  • Addition to CV or resume as documentation of knowledge in a specified area
  • Continuing education credit for license renewal for nurses and other professionals (check with your professional licensing board)

Program Presenters

Nina Bennett, MS
HIV Education Coordinator/Trainer
Pennsylvania/Mid-Atlantic AIDS Education & Training Center
HIV Community Program
Christiana Care Health Services

Melanie Chichester, BSN, RNC
Labor and Delivery
Christiana Care Health System

Kathleen Foster-Morgan, CGT, OSP, FT
Director, Edith Fox Life & Loss Centre
Past President, Ontario Society of Psychotherapist

Madeline E. Lambrecht, EdD, RN, FT
Director, Division of Special Programs
Professor, School of Nursing
University of Delaware
Retired 2010/Professor Emeritus
University of Delaware

Jill Harrington LaMoire, MSW, LSW, ACSW
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
Washington, D.C.
Currently Senior Field Researcher at Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences Center for the Study of Traumatic Loss

Valarie Molaison, PhD, FT
Licensed Psychologist & Clinical Director
Supporting Kidds
Currently AAAS/APA Congressional Fellow at US Senate

Sherry Schachter, PhD, FT
Director, Bereavement
Calvary Hospital
Hospice New York