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Counselor Education and Supervision


Richard Cicchetti


Counseling can promote positive outcomes for grieving clients by addressing personal loss and helping the client process their grief. However, a lack of understanding on the part of counselors of how people grieve may result in negative client outcomes such as psychological stress, poor health, or an increased risk of depression. Education and training in grief counseling can improve counselors' problem recognition and skills in treatment planning. The purpose of this study was to examine whether Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) master's degree counseling students view themselves as having been adequately trained in grief theories and skills. The theoretical foundation used was modern grief theory based on John Bowlby's work on Attachment Theory. The overall research question was how competent do master's-level counselors view themselves regarding the education or training they received in grief theories or counseling skills in their CACREP-accredited studies. I used a non-experimental, one shot survey comparative quantitative research design. Cicchetti's Grief Counseling Competency Scale (GCCS) was administered to CACREP master's-level counseling students enrolled in their practicum or internship experience, which resulted in 153 participants. Using a MANCOVA, there was significance found for relationships between coursework taken and (a) perceived assessment skills (p = .029), (b) perceived treatment skills (p = .025), and (c) perceived conceptual skills and knowledge (p = .003). Results of this study provided insight for CACREP master's-level counseling programs to explore and discuss curriculum coursework inclusion of education and training in grief theories and skills.