Course Overview

The Diploma in Bereavement, Grief & Trauma Studies provides students with a clear understanding of the process of grieving after a bereavement. It adopts a lifespan developmental approach to death, grief and trauma by exploring the impact of death from childhood right through to older adulthood. Students will be given a theoretical framework for understanding the impact of death on individuals, families and communities and why some individual’s journey through grief can become more problematic (complicated grief). The course will provide students with an insight into the differences between normal grief and complicated or traumatic grief reactions.

Various theories and models of grief, as well as therapeutic interventions, will be discussed using empirical research and evidence-based practice. The course is suitable for social workers, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, GPs, nurses, care staff, Gardai, emergency responders, teachers, and anyone whose job brings them into contact with individuals grieving after the death of someone close. For existing practitioners, this programme will provide a basis for developing core skills used in responding to grieving clients.

This course is part of The College of Psychology.

Course Modules

  1. Introduction to bereavement and grief – introduction to the course and a focus on attachment theory & separation anxiety.
  2. Theories & models of grief – providing a critical awareness of the stage & task models of grief, dual-process model, continuing bonds, meaning-making & benefit-finding.
  3. Death and dying – what are normal grief, anticipatory grief and complicated grief? Considering cultural sensitivity of bereavement. Introduction to sudden death focusing on accidents and illness.
  4. Suicide – providing a thorough understanding of the theories and models of suicide, risk and protective factors, research on suicide and the experiences of the suicide bereaved.
  5. Homicide and Homicide-Suicide – examining prevalence, trends and research. Exploring the experience of homicide on bereaved families and considering the impact of justice and the legal system.
  6. Death and the family life cycle – death of a partner/spouse/child; theories of psychosocial development; death and the family life cycle; the importance of rituals, memorialising. Adapting to life after bereavement (roles & identity).
  7. Grief in children – Understanding grief reactions within a developmental framework. The impact of the death of a parent. Key considerations in talking to children about difficult death. The impact of grief in adolescence – social contexts, managing multiple losses.
  8. Trauma – understanding the interplay between trauma and grief; the neurobiology of trauma; PTSD; recognising trauma in adults, children & adolescents; intergenerational trauma.
  9. Interventions for trauma and grief – Working therapeutically with grief and trauma; providing bereavement support, tools to help the bereaved, effective therapeutic interventions, promoting resilience. Evidence-based approaches to treatment and outcomes
  10. Self-care for professionals – recognising and managing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.

Course Award

City Colleges Diploma

Who Should apply?

For anyone whose job brings them into contact with individuals grieving after the death of someone close.


A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding the Diploma.

A written assignment of 2,500 is the assessment requirement for this diploma.

The assignment/project must be handed in on the due date unless a sound reason for lateness is provided. In such instances, an extension may be awarded at the discretion of the lecturer.


Nicola Mitchell

Nicola Mitchell has over 20 years’ experience of working with children, adolescents and adults as a professionally qualified social worker, accredited psychotherapist, and psychologist. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies (BSS, CQSW) from Trinity College Dublin in 1994. Since then she has worked as a child protection social worker, and as a medical social worker in a children’s hospital working primarily with children and their families with a diagnosis of life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses. Much of Nicola’s work was supporting families through loss, anticipatory grief and grief after bereavement.

Nicola is a professionally qualified psychotherapist and has worked as a Bereavement Counsellor for children and adolescents for over a decade with a national children’s charity. She worked for a number of years as a Bereavement Counsellor with families bereaved by suicide and more recently as a Student Counsellor with third level university students.

Nicola also has a Higher Diploma in Psychology (H Dip Psych) from UCD achieving a first class honours, and a Master’s of Science in Applied Psychology (MSc App Psych) (TCD) achieving the award of distinction. Nicola’s research dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate level were both in the area of bereaved parents with no surviving children. Nicola is currently in the final year of the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in Trinity College Dublin. She works primarily from psychodynamic and attachment perspectives but also incorporates CBT as well as other modalities into therapeutic interventions. Nicola maintains a keen interest in areas related to attachment, loss, trauma, suicide and murder-suicide.


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12 weeks
live online
Live online training with real-time instructor-student interaction.
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January 2023
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT
Study in a classroom environment one evening a week.
  • City centre location
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  • Limited class sizes
January 2023
10 weeks, 1 evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm GMT

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