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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Parental Bereavement Following the Loss of a Child

by Anna Zacharcenko, PsyD 3 CE Credits

The loss of a child can present many emotional challenges for parents given an underlying assumption that parents will not outlive their offspring.  The death of a child may impact the psychological morbidity and overall health of remaining family members. Given their proximity to such events, health care professionals are in a unique position to provide support and facilitate the bereavement process of parents. This course examines parental bereavement patterns based upon the type of loss as well as predictors of complicated parental bereavement. The role of mental health care professionals in supporting parents is illustrated through review of bereavement follow-up and intervention programs. In addition, specific applications of bereavement intervention strategies, along with case examples, are examined.


Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 3 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction: Relevance and Prevalence
  • Defining Bereavement: Normal vs. Complicated
  • Examining Conceptual Models of Bereavement
  • Common Parental Bereavement Patterns
  • The Impact of Time on the Grieving Process
  • Gender Differences in Parental Bereavement
  • Case Examples of Parental Bereavement
  • Assessing Bereavement
  • Bereavement Interventions: The Role of Healthcare Professionals
  • Self-Help and Other Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Discuss the prevalence of pediatric death in the U.S. and the role mental health providers can play in facilitating bereavement among surviving parents.
  • Describe at least 3 patterns of parental bereavement, recognize how 2 important factors (e.g., gender, time) impact the grief process, and differentiate between ‘normal’ and complicated bereavement.
  • Identify 6 theory- and evidence-based measures to assess grief and 3 effective clinical strategies for working with grieving families, as well as self-help or alternative resources to incorporate into treatment.