GEN PRAC 6021 - Nature of Grief

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2016

This course aims to provide an experiential, theoretical and evidence based framework for understanding the nature and characteristics of grief, and its potential to affect any dimension of the individual: physical, emotional, psychological, social, behavioural and spiritual. Students will also be introduced to some of the current controversies regarding grief and the nature and process of integrating the grief experience into the pattern of living. An opportunity will be given for students to examine their own personal grief experience, with a view to building an appreciation of the wide variety of grief experiences and responses reported by individuals.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEN PRAC 6021
    Course Nature of Grief
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Course Description This course aims to provide an experiential, theoretical and evidence based framework for understanding the nature and characteristics of grief, and its potential to affect any dimension of the individual: physical, emotional, psychological, social, behavioural and spiritual.
    Students will also be introduced to some of the current controversies regarding grief and the nature and process of integrating the grief experience into the pattern of living. An opportunity will be given for students to examine their own personal grief experience, with a view to building an appreciation of the wide variety of grief experiences and responses reported by individuals.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Greg Smith

    Course Coordinator: Dr Greg Smith
    Phone: +61 8313 6273
    Location: Level 11, 178 North Terrace

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8 8313 0148
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Review their personal grief history and clarify the personal and professional implications
    2 Identify different concepts and current theories of loss and grief
    3 Explain the multiple manifestations of grief
    4 Describe loss and grief issues from a life-span perspective (children, adolescents, young adults, middle-aged adults, and old age)
    5 Recognise the effects of grief and unresolved grief in families
    6 Recognise cultural differences in the expression of grief
    7 Differentiate between multiple contexts of grief and loss
    8 Assess and recommend different grief counselling approaches and techniques
    9 Identify situations when referrals to other professionals are necessary in the context of grief
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1-2, 8
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Worden, J.W. (2009). Grief counseling and grief therapy (4th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

    Recommended Resources
    Hooyman, N.R., & Kramer, B.J. (2006). Living through loss: Interventions across the lifespan. Columbia University Press.
    Online Learning

    3.3.1 MyUni
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework program have access to a Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. This course is available on MyUni at
    Please check the website regularly as it may contain announcements that are relevant to your study in the course. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site:

    Discussion Board – Users can post discussion items and reply to other posts. Note: If you would like to have a specific Discussion Board Forum created, please send your request to

    Send Email – This feature enables users to send email to fellow students.
    Group Pages – Groups enable Users to collaborate with each other. Groups usually consist of a smaller group of Users in a course or organisation, such as study groups or project groups. From a Group Page, users may send email, exchange files, enter discussion forums or enter collaboration sessions.

    Note: Only members of a particular Group can access the Group communication features (discussion forums, email, etc.). If you would like to have a specific Group Page created, please send your request to For example, Group Pages can be created to include students living in the same geographical area or students working for the same organisation.

    Please note that you also have access to individual MyUni sites for EACH course you are enrolled in.
    Please check the sites regularly as they may contain important announcements that are relevant to your
    study in the course.

    3.3.2 Access Adelaide
    Access Adelaide is the name of the online service that allows you to access and, in some cases, amend your records. It can be found at:
    You can log into Access Adelaide to view:
    your enrolment details for any term
    your academic results
    your unofficial academic transcript
    your personal details
    the fees, charges and payments on your University account
    your exam schedule
    your graduation eligibility details.

    As a student you can:
    change your address and telephone details (please inform the Discipline as well) change your password
    set a password clue to help you remember your password.

    3.3.3 Student email
    It is important that you set up your student email and check it regularly. Information from your course
    coordinator and student administration will be sent to you at your University of Adelaide email address.
    It is your responsibility to check your email. You will need your student number located on your student
    card to log in.

    3.3.4 Computers
    Where can I use a computer in the University?
    Computing facilities are provided to students by the University, and there are several suites of computers available, including at the Barr Smith Library and in Hub Central. The University web site has a list of computer labs at:

    3.3.5 Internet access
    The University provides a free dial-up service to students without the need for a commercial ISP account. This service is available at the cost of a local call to students residing within Adelaide (please refer to your telecommunications provider for confirmation of call costs). Students residing outside these numbers can dial into the University at STD call rates ( ). Postgraduate Coursework students will receive a University Funded Quota of 500Mb.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The teaching methods in this course will employ a range of techniques to allow the integration and understanding of the content presented. Group-work and workshop activities will be employed in addition to the traditional methods of communicating information. It is expected that by creating an environment that promotes the practice of individual responsibility as essential for students in managing their own and others learning, it will also complement the expectations that current professional-based workplaces adopt.

    Students are encouraged to share their own knowledge and experiences, in a respectful manner, to enhance each other‟s learning processes.

    Due to the experiential nature of the course, and the topic itself, students may experience emotions that they may find upsetting. Should these emotions surface and if the student feels in need of support, students are reminded that the University provides counselling services and/or that they can choose to talk about it with the course coordinator.

    Finally, it is assumed that all students are of a mature age, professionally educated and motivated to adopt the responsibilities associated with post-graduate study. Therefore, a level of intellectual effort (including a minimum of 10 hours of private study time outside of formal class time per week), and a level of commitment and participation in class activities, is expected.

    Course structure
    This course will provide an overview to grief and loss over ten seminar/workshops. Fundamental aspects of grief and loss will be introduced in the first sessions.

    Seminars/workshops will continue with a series of guest presentations on areas of loss and grief that will be relevant in the students' future professional practice as counsellors.
    It is expected that students will actively participate in the seminar/workshops by having read the recommended readings, and preparing for each of the sessions.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Introduction to grief and loss

    Grief across the lifespan
    Understanding grief and loss with particular populations and presenting issues.

    Grief and loss: A cross-cultural approach Migrants / Refugees

    Indigenous Australians: Grief, loss, trauma and resilience

    Grief, loss, and trauma: Veterans

    Grief and loss and Offender

    Grief in the aftermath of sexual abuse and or domestic violence

    Other contexts of loss and grief

    Perinatal / still-birth



    Grief from anticipated losses

    Counselling approaches and self-care

     Some of the approaches to be discussed are:
    o    Fundamentals of assessment
    o    General techniques and interventions
    o    Individual vs. group interventions
    o    Death education
    o    Narrative approaches
    o    Family-focused approaches
    o    Cognitive-behavioural techniques
    o    Use of rituals

    An emphasis on self-care will be present throughout most of the lectures. However, a section of the last session will be dedicated to explore fundamental aspects of self-care, self-awareness, countertransference, and potential positive and negative impact of working in this area.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Topic Lecture
    Introduction 1 Grief and Loss
    Introduction 2 Grief and Loss
    Specific Grief Issues TBA
    Specific Grief Issues TBA
    Specific Grief Issues TBA
    Specific Grief Issues TBA
    Specific Grief Issues TBA
    Grief Counselling TBA
    Specific Grief Issues TBA
    Specific Grief Contexts TBA
    Grief Counselling Practice TBA
    Grief Counselling Practice TBA
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task
    Assessment type
    Weighting Learning outcome to be addressed
    Participation Summative 10% 1-9
    On-line exam Summative 30% 2-5, 7
    Critical Review of Literature Summative 30% 2-8
    Reflective Paper Summative 30% 1-8
    To pass this course, students are expected to attend and actively participate in all sessions.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment is based upon in-class participation, plus assignments are to be handed up during and before the end of the semester. There will be a multiple-choice online examination.

    Lecturers will aim to mark and return assignments to students within 4 weeks of the due date, or before the due date for the next  assignment (whichever comes earlier).

    Assignment summaries
    Details of assignments are provided below. Where appropriate, Marking Guides will be made available on MyUni at least a month  before the assignment is due.

    Active participation and attendance are fundamental to the learning process. Lectures will provide an environment where students  can participate comfortably. Criteria for assessing class participation are: a) the originality of the student‟s contribution, b)  reference to relevant academic readings and/or personal experience, c) evidence of preparation for the lecture, d) use of critical  thinking, and e) consistency of participation over the different sessions.

    Students are expected to participate in a respectful manner with lecturers and

    On-line exam
    With the purpose of consolidating and strengthening the knowledge acquired over the first four  seminar/workshops, students will  be asked to answer an online multiple-choice exam.

    Critical review of literature
    For this assignment, students are expected to prepare a 2000 word critique on a journal article of their choice, from a selection of  articles provided.

    Reflective paper
    Students will prepare a reflective paper of no more than 2000 words. The paper should reflect the student’s experience throughout  the course, interconnecting contents of the course with a personal reflection of their own experiences of grief.

    Word limits
    You are advised to comply with word limits for written assignments. You are, of course, not expected to achieve exactly the  required length and a 10% leeway on either side is acceptable. However, a penalty of 5% of available marks will apply for word  quota in excess of the 10% leeway. Each assignment must include the word-count at the end of the document and in the cover  sheet.

    Assignment cover sheet
    Assignments are to be submitted with an attached Assignment Cover Sheet” (available on MyUni), which is to be signed and dated by the student before submission. The lecturer can refuse assignments that do not have a signed acknowledgement of the  University’s policy on plagiarism.

    Referencing of assignments
    It is essential that you reference all written work accurately and consistently. We ask that use the American Psychological Society  Referencing Format (APA 6) and information regarding this system can be found at: 

    or more detailed information can be found at: 

    EndNote bibliographic software is a very useful tool for managing your references and it is provided free of charge through the  university. Information about EndNote can be found at: 

    Be aware that marks will be deducted for incorrect referencing in all assignments.
    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds.  Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension.  Without documentation, extensions will not be granted. Late requests for extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation.  The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact  on the student.  Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits.  In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted.  If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%.  If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.  

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.

     If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process  <>.  Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance.  This must be done within 10 business days of the  date of notification of the result.  Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and  will only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.