Grief Support
Taking Flight International

Grief Support Certification Course Overview 




 1) The primary goal of the Grief Support Certification Course is that all who attend gain advanced knowledge and skills to work in more wholistic ways, with individuals and in group settings, with those who have experienced grief.

2) Since basic to this course is the belief that a therapeutic helper can only bring another as far along the healing process as the helper has already been, a second goal is the facilitation of personal healing and professional growth for each participant. 




The teaching and learning experiences provided in this course allow you to:

  1. Increase your knowledge of the theories of loss and grief and the approaches used to support those who are grieving.
  2. Gain the skills to support and counsel individuals and families who are grieving one, or multiple losses.
  3. Gain the knowledge and skills to offer physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support to a dying person and assist in the process of Life Review.
  4. Advance your skills at offering wholistic support and counseling to the family caring for a dying member.
  5. Advance your ability to offer community support and to provide information on bereavement to community members.
  6. Acquire knowledge and skill in using healing strategies, including therapeutic art, dream processing, guided visualization, energy, and nature work, to help reduce the effects of grief.
  7. Identify and practice self-care methods.
  8. Develop a model for a Grief Support Practice that allows the implementation of wholistic methods of helping and healing.

Course Content





The Methods used in this course build upon theories and practices that flow from holism, art as therapy, and ancient healing methods. Human and Universal Energy Field theory and practices are incorporated, as are the theories and practices of mental health nursing, sociology, Gestalt therapy, Jungian, developmental, spiritual, and counseling psychologies.

Principals of adult learning form the basis of the teaching and learning strategies. Each level of learning employs a four-part process, combining theory and experiential learning. This process does more than provide information and advance skills. When applied accurately and consistently, this method brings about healing for those involved.


Educational Process


During this interactive and experiential certification training you examine in wholistic ways the implications of supporting others during dying and through the grief experience. You explore the stressors inherent to care-giving and practice self-care strategies which empower you as a counselor and which enhance the overall care-giving experience.

Required Resources 


  1.  Simington, J. (2021). Grief Support Certification Handbook (6th Edition). Edmonton, AB. Taking Flight International.
  2.  Simington, J. (2003). Journey to the Sacred: Mending a Fractured Soul. Edmonton, AB., Taking Flight Books.
  3.  Simington, J. (1999). Listening to Soul Pain (audio-visual recording). Edmonton, AB., Taking Flight Books.


Dr. Simington Presenting Differences Between Grief and Trauma

Click on the title to watch the video

Time Frame 


Forty hours of education and training are required for certification. Education hours are given for assigned readings and exam completion.

Conditions for Certification


1. Attendance at all sessions.

2. Full participation in all activities and discussions.

3. Achieving a passing grade (80%) on the Take Home Exam.

 Multiple Losses and the Circle of Significance

 by Jane A. Simington, PhD


In this chapter I describe the uniqueness of Grief and explain why one person may have a more difficult time resolving a loss that appears to be similar to the loss experienced by another, who seems to be healing more easily and effectively. This chapter helps the reader become non-judgemental regarding an individual's grief. 



Case Example

Margaret was 67 years old when her husband, Gerald, died from pancreatic cancer. She came two years later for grief counseling emphasizing that she felt a sense of failure and shame for being stuck in her grief process and for not being able to recover as did her sister Rose whose husband had died two weeks before Gerald.

I invited Margaret to participate in a grief-healing workshop and during the workshop to complete a Circle of Significance. Margaret spent a lengthy time pondering, writing in her journal and carefully designing each wedge. When we processed her Circle of Significance, Margaret described how the first wedge represented a three year old daughter who had died of pneumonia. The size of this wedge and the emotional load that accompanied the story indicated considerable unresolved grief around a death that occurred forty years previously. A second wedge depicted a farm the couple had lost from an unpaid mortgage. Margaret attributed the loss of the family farm to her husband’s heavy drinking which had started after their daughter’s death. She labeled this wedge, “Alcohol.” It had multiple subdivisions identifying her losses of dreams, respect, admiration and love for her husband. The third wedge represented the death of her close friend. This wedge too had several subdivisions. Margaret wept as she described how this woman friend had been her only companion and confident during the difficult years when her husband had emotionally withdrawn due to his own grief and alcoholism. A fourth wedge portrayed the death of her adult son from liver cirrhosis. His death predeceased Gerald’s by only three years. This wedge was also subdivided. As Margaret processed the subdivisions she talked about the numerous losses she had grieved as she witnessed her only son lose so much due to his uncontrollable drinking. The final wedge was placed for her husband. In response to, “Tell me about this wedge, she replied, “There is little left to say. I have just discovered it is not really him I am grieving. I grieved for him many years ago. It is all the other things that I could not, dared not, ever before let myself grieve. I guess I thought everything would fall apart if I did. I now know that Gerald’s death has opened all these old wounds. His death has brought me to a standstill. It has forced me to look at these things and find a way to heal them before I can ever hope to go on.”

When I asked Margaret to go back over the Circle of Significance and tell me about the stickers she had placed in each wedge to describe the healing she had done, she noted how affirming it was to know that even though she had a lot of grieving still to do she was pleased and surprised to be able to honor that she had made progress along the journey.



Simington, J. (2012). Multiple Losses and the Circle of SignificanceIn R. A. Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.


Examine the book "Techniques of Grief Therapy."


I feel very blessed and lucky to have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jane Simington and to have become certified in trauma  recovery and grief support through her trainings. 

I have found her work especially impactful, both personally, in my own life, as well as in my practice as a psychotherapist. What is amazing is her ability to reach into the deepest parts of the soul, to mend the broken parts, to restore and heal in such a soft, gentle, tender and kind way.

I am thankful to Dr. Simington in more ways than I can express.

Polykseni Gizori, 

Psychotherapist. Athens, Greece

Pamela Smid