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Advanced Diploma in Bereavement Counselling and Thanatology
Total recommended period of study: approx. 6 to 9 months.
Continuous enrolment- start any time of year. Time limit for completion 12 months.


Cost: £325.00

Course fees do not include textbooks. Students will need to purchase their own books for this course.

Method of study: 

Textbook study - distance learning. Written assignments based on textbook study and exercises. Assignment questions are issued by email and students return their written work by email. Grades and feedback are issued by email. Students normally buy books from on-line bookstores.

Course outline and syllabus

This course is suitable for the helping professional and the care worker.


•  Imagining Heaven: an intercultural study of how we envisage the hereafter

•  Grief in adult life

•  Loss and Grief Support

•  Moving Beyond Grief

•  Communication with the Bereaved

•  The Science of Grief

•  The Afterlife: What do we know? A Scholarly Review of Evidence

•  The Healing Power of After-Death Communication

Final case study or essay

A choice of topics will be given.

This syllabus is subject to change at any time if a book becomes unavailable or if a new unit is introduced to enhance the course.

Supplementary information

The 62-page UKCHT course manual includes extra information to allow you to research relevant topics in your own time:
Suggested bibliography for further study
Autism and grief - sources
A peculiar source of apparitions
Two major resources: Monroe and Moen
Suggested internet sites


Eight textbooks will be required for the core syllabus and the student will need to purchase the books. The booklist (correct at time of publication) is given below.

Before buying books, please enrol and wait for the latest edition of the course manual which may contain changes to the books required.

Entry criteria and suitability 

The course can benefit any person who regularly comes into contact with people suffering from bereavement, grief or loss, e.g. counsellors, therapists, doctors and nurses, professional carers, hospice managers and staff, volunteers, social workers, charity workers, pastors,  police officers, magistrates,  legal workers, funeral directors, etc.

Qualified and practising counsellors, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists  will find this course a welcome addition to their professional portfolio, providing a key area of professional development. Professional societies that operate an unrestricted CEU policy may consider this qualification for CEU purposes. 

This course is not a general course in counselling and if you intend to practice bereavement counselling you should have a professional qualification in one of the following: counselling, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, psychiatry, psychology, mental health nursing, etc.

Required course reading

Please note that this reading list is subject to revision especially if new editions appear or books go out of print. Please do not purchase books without checking with us for any updates. Each time someone enrols for the course, we review book availability so we can make any necessary changes.

Wolff, Catherine. Beyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven. Riverhead Books, New York, 2021.

Parkes, Colin Murray and Prigerson, Holly G.  Bereavement: Studies of Grief in Adult Life. Fourth edition. Penguin Books, 2010.
Wilson, John. Supporting People Through Loss and Grief. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014.
James, John W. and Friedman, Russell. The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition: The Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith: (20th Anniversary Edition) Paperback – William Morrow Paperbacks, updated 2017 version
Graves, Dodie. Talking with bereaved People: An approach for structured and sensitive communication. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2009.
O’Connor, Mary-Frances. The Grieving Brain: The surprising science of how we learn from love and loss. HarperOne, 2023.
Fontana, David.  Is There An Afterlife?  A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence. O Books, 2004.
Martin, Joel.  Love Beyond Life: The Healing Power of After-Death Communications. Dell Publishing Company; Reprint edition, 1998.


Successful graduates will receive the Advanced Diploma in Bereavement Counselling and Thanatology awarded by UK College of Holistic Training which is a private UK qualification. Course graduates may use the postnominal initials Adv. Dip. B.C.T.

The course is accredited by ACCPH.  Where suitable we will give advice to graduates on the possibility of joining other professional bodies.

Prospective overseas students are responsible for checking whether they need any form of accreditation or licensing to practise as a counsellor or psychotherapist in their own country. UK College of Holistic Training is unable to give advice on local regulations in your country.

We reserve the right to change the syllabus and other details of any course at any time. If any key textbook becomes unobtainable we will provide a substitute module based on another text.


You may start at any time of year
Click this link to go to our Application page

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