Children and Loss

Bereavement and loss

Course details

We know that loss and bereavement have significant personal, community, and health impacts yet are under-studied and not sufficiently incorporated into the curricula of health and social care professionals.

The science around loss, bereavement and resilience continues to evolve, so it is now possible to identify both risk and protective factors and, consequently, to intervene to benefit individual and community health.

When a child experiences loss, either through death or parental separation, their needs are often misunderstood or overlooked. Because children may express their grief in ways that are different to adults, their reactions may go unrecognised.

The Professional Certificate in Children and Loss, a collaborative programme between RCSI and the Irish Hospice Foundation, seeks to equip practitioners with the necessary skills to understand and support children on their grief journey.

The Professional Certificate in Children and Loss consists of two modules:

  • Understanding Children and Loss
  • Addressing Loss Issues with Children

Each module consists of approximately 200 hours of learning including lecture time, self-directed learning, assignment preparation and integrative sessions.

The course will be taught in-person with the exception of the two half-day online integrative group sessions on 1 December 2023 and 7 March 2024.

All in-person sessions will be held in Irish Hospice Foundation, Morrison Chambers, 4th Floor, 32 Nassau Street, Dublin 2 from 9.15am – 4.15pm.

Download the course schedule

This programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the theory underpinning childhood loss and bereavement.
  • Evaluate the different types of loss issues experienced by children at different stages in their development e.g. younger children and adolescents, loss through separation and divorce.
  • Critically appraise therapeutic interventions – including art and clay.
  • Analyse the role of resilience in bereaved children and an ability to incorporate resilience into care plans.
  • Assess support systems for working with children and loss.
  • Integrate new knowledge and skill into professional practice.
  • Exhibit an integrated value-based and evidence-based approach to the support of bereaved children.
  • Debate the merits of theoretical frameworks for children’s loss experiences.
  • Apply aspects of theories and models to explain individual children’s grief experiences.
  • Assess the moderators in responses to loss, including stage of development and nature of death and relationship lost.
  • Critique contemporary understanding of bereavement and loss from a life-cycle perspective.
  • Demonstrate critical, reflective practice and self-awareness.
  • Locate and critique current knowledge on a loss related topic.
  • Locate and appraise intervention strategies for working with children experiencing loss.