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UK College of Holistic Training
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UK College of Holistic Training,  Creedwell House, 32 Creedwell Orchard
TA4 1JY, U.K.  

Email:  info@ukcht.net   
Tel.  01823 765277

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Advanced Diploma in Bereavement Counselling and Thanatology

Total recommended period of study: approx. 6 to 9 months. Continuous enrolment. No time limit.

Cost: £295.00

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 a private qualification aimed at the helping professional and the care worker.


•  Interdisciplinary Study of Death and Bereavement (Psychological, religious and cultural aspects)

•  Grief Counselling and Therapy

•  Death, Dying and Bereavement

•  The Five Stages of Loss

•  Moving Beyond Death, Divorce and Loss

•  The Healing Power of After-Death Communication

•  Terminal Care and Bereavement Counselling

•  Scientific Evidence of Life After Death

Final Project

The final project requires the student to write approx. 2,000 words on a special aspect of death or bereavement, using the student's choice of books, articles & other sources. A list of suggested topics will be provided.  The project may be cultural, philosophical, psychological, metaphysical,  spiritual or based upon practitioner case studies.

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.


Approx. 8 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.

Rees, Dewi.  Death and Bereavement: The psychological, religious and cultural interfaces.  Second edition.  London: Whurr Publishers, 2001.

Worden, J. William,  Grief Counselling and Grief Therapy: A Handbook for the Mental Health Practitioner, Brunner-Routledge; 4th Revised Edition, edition, 2010.

Dickenson, Donna L. , et al., (eds.) Death, Dying and Bereavement (Published in association with The Open University) Sage Publications Ltd; Second Edition, 2000.

Kübler-Ross,  Elisabeth, and Kessler, David.  On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss (Paperback). Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2007.

Parkes, Colin Murray, et al., Counselling in Terminal Care and Bereavement, BPS Blackwell, 1996.

Friedman, Russell.  Grief Recovery Handbook, The (Revised): A Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Devastating Losses, Harper Perennial; 2nd Revised edition 1998.

Martin, Joel.  Love Beyond Life: The Healing Power of After-Death Communications. Dell Publishing Company; Reprint edition, 1998. Note: A Harper paperback reprint edition appeared in January 2009. Either edition can be used for your studies.

Fontana, David. Is There an Afterlife? A Comprehensive Overview of the Evidence. O Books, 2005.


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.

Click here for our article on the future of counselling - this is important information

Further information

Please see our FAQs page for general information about practising counselling and psychotherapy in the UK and elsewhere.

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 book.

Please note that this course is not accredited or approved by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy or the British Psychological Society.  It does not lead to UKCP or BACP accreditation and is not accredited by any body that is recognised by the UK government. In the UK, there are many independent routes to private qualifications & professional society memberships. This is mainly a professional development course for existing practitioners, and also is for anyone with a personal interest in studying the subject.

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