Pre-service grief and loss preparation in CACREP accredited school counseling programs Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h989r578x

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  • Youth today experience high degrees of loss and change, resulting in grief (Goldman, 2001). Little evidence exists of school counselors' academic preparation in grief counseling. The purpose of this research study was to determine how CACREP school counseling programs prepare school counselors in the areas of grief and loss, including course delivery methods, included curriculum areas, and reasons for exclusion. A quantitative, descriptive design was utilized. The "School Counselors Preparation in Grief/Loss and Substance Abuse Counseling" survey was designed for data collection and sent to the 150 United States CACREP accredited school counseling programs. A total of 79 programs responded, resulting in a 53% response rate. Research results found that 40% of responding CACREP programs did not offer any grief and loss preparation to their pre-service school counselors. Sixty percent indicated providing some training. Data show that 11% of programs required a course and 50% offered an elective course. Additionally, 48% of respondents taught a module on grief and loss within a required course, and 13% through a module in an elective course. Results found 6 respondents included all 17 suggested curriculum areas, while the mean for curricula inclusion was 11 areas. Research indicated 78% of programs not offering grief and loss cited a lack of room to add more credits as their exclusion rationale. Furthermore 35% of respondents did not offer curriculum because it was not a CACREP requirement. Lacking trained staff and financial reasons were both reported by 25% of programs as reasons for non-inclusion. Facing grief and loss are realities of life. Helping students to acknowledge and cope with these realities is a necessary task, as loss is a normal, universal experience, encountered repeatedly (Lenhardt, 1997). CACREP standards position that counselor education programs will prepare students to meet the real life counseling situations they will face while working in schools (CACREP, 2001). Research results indicated an inconsistent delivery of appropriate training in grief and loss among responding CACREP school counseling programs. Counselor education programs may wish to examine if they are ethically and effectively preparing their 21st century graduates. Recommendations and limitations are included.
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