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GC 530 Meaning Reconstruction in Grief and Bereavement


This comprehensive course explores the principles and propositions of the revisionist theory of “meaning reconstruction” as it applies to grief and bereavement. The course examines the current body of research that argues for a more dynamic concept of loss that goes beyond stage or task theory.  Meaning reconstruction positions the concept of grief on the constructivist process of meaning making and on a reworking of the griever’s assumptive world. The course elucidates this grief theory as a highly subjective and social process in which the bereaved – rather than withdrawing energy from the deceased – constructs a new world of meaning as a result of the experience of loss.  As the student appraises this contemporary paradigm, he/she will develop a fresh understanding of the role of grief and loss in changing the life perception of the griever.  The student will also assess meaning making strategies and therapist dialog in order to apply the theory of meaning reconstruction as a technique in grief counseling.

The reading in this course is extensive and presumes that students have a good understanding of the process of grief as described in stage and task theory.  Readings have been chosen from a variety of grief theorists in order to furnish the student with a thorough understanding of the rich dimensions of this approach.

Course Code: GC 530

Contact hours of continuing education = 40

This course is particularly designed for those who are already or were recently certified by the American Academy of Grief Counseling, and are seeking continuing education to meet re-certification requirements.

Instructor/Course Author: Rosemary A. Castelli, Ed.D., MA, BA, SMC-C, GC-C 
Certified Funeral Celebrant
Certified Grief Counselor

Link to Resume: Resume

TEXTBOOKS: There are two (2) required books and one article for this course:

Lessons of  Loss: A Guide to Coping.  Robert A. Neimeyer.  Memphis, TN: Center for the Study of Loss and Transition, 2006. ISBN-10: 0978955617 ISBN-13: 978-0978955618

Link to Purchase on click here

Meaning Reconstruction and the Experience of Loss.  Robert A. Neimeyer, editor.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001.  ISBN-10: 1557987424 ISBN-13: 978-1557987426

Link to Purchase on click here

Required Article:

Bearing Witness to the Story: Narrative Reconstruction in Grief Counseling. Peggy Whiting and Elizabeth James.  (7 pages) This article can be accessed online at   You are required to read the entire article.

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete this course. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the course within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an “incomplete” will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the course after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

GRADINGYou must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 40 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by AIHCP and will be permitted one more attempt to retake the online examination.


The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is an Approved Provider for Continuing Education by the South Carolina Professional Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists licensing board, Provider # 4637.  Access information

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (The Provider) is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, Provider number # CEP 15595 for 40 Contact Hours.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Florida State Board of Nursing  Provider # 50-11975.


The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Arkansas Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Georgia Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the South Carolina Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Professional Registered Nurses. CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the Kentucky Board of Nursing CE Provider # 50-11975.
The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is a Rule Approved Provider of Continuing Education by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. CE Provider # 50-11975.

Course Refund & AIHCP Policies: access here


  • Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as “open book” tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.
  • Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page “Student Resource Center.” The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.
  • Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.
  • Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor’s online resume/biography, as well as your instructor’s specific contact information.
  • Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional “readings” and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Review and discuss the universality of loss in human life.
  • Explain the anatomy of grief.
  • Identify and analyze the typical course of adjustment during the first two years of a major loss.
  • Define the duration of normal grief.
  • Recognize and describe the characteristics of complicated mourning.
  • Identify and explain types of loss.
  • Describe relationship loss as it relates to grief.
  • Examine the difference between relationship loss and loss through death.
  • Explain the trajectory in loss.
  • Explain and analyze the activities involved in the grieving process.
  • Identify and describe the challenges inherent in mourning.
  • Describe the central place of relating to others in the context of loss.
  • Evaluate the efficacy of “telling our story” in grief work.
  • Describe gender differences in grieving.
  • Identify and apply the essential prescriptions for adapting to loss.
  • Recognize the value and purpose of ritualizing loss.
  • Identify and explain the propositions that derive from a meaning reconstruction view of grief and bereavement.
  • Analyze and evaluate the criteria for meaning reconstruction as a useful grief theory.
  • Describe and evaluate the propositions that underlie good clinical practice using meaning reconstruction.
  • Explain grief work in terms of the interdependent systems connected to self, family and society.
  • Understand and evaluate the role of culture, gender and spirituality in meaning reconstruction.
  • Formulate and practice specific applications of meaning reconstruction in counseling settings.
  • Apply narrative reconstruction to grief counseling.
  • Formulate counseling questions which initiate meaning making in grievers.
  • Compare and contrast the psychoanalytic theory of grief with meaning reconstruction.
  • Explain the concept of “relearning the world.”
  • Distinguish between meaning making and meaning finding.
  • Describe the process through which posttraumatic growth occurs.
  • Examine the factors that may promote positive aspects of loss.
  • Describe the outcomes of research into the positive outcomes of loss.
  • Explain and evaluate the value of remembering.
  • Provide examples of the value of translating memory into story telling.
  • Explain the concept of haunting loss.
  • Describe and evaluate the “account-making and confiding model” of dealing with loss.
  • Recognize how meaning reconstruction is essential to grieving.
  • Extract from therapy dialog techniques useful in helping grievers in meaning making.


A brief abstract of content:

  • The experience of loss
  • Love and loss
  • The activity of grieving
  • Context and connection in loss
  • Ritual and renewal in loss
  • Meaning reconstruction and the experience of loss
  • Dimensions of diversity in the reconstruction of meaning
  • Personal applications and strategies for meaning making
  • Narrative reconstruction in grief counseling
  • A new psychoanalytic understanding and treatment of mourning
  • Making and finding meanings
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Positive Outcomes of losing a loved one
  • The construction of accounts of loss and hope
  • Grief therapy as a process of meaning reconstruction