|Abstract or Summary
- 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.