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GRADUATE SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM University of Missouri-Kansas City Karen DiSanto, LCSW H: 816-891-7756 4825 Troost , Suite 106 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Course Number: SW 580 Grief and Loss in Social Work Practice Summer 2008 COURSE SYLLABUS I. Integrative Course Rationale: The Grief and Loss in Social Work Practice elective is for the advanced year of the social work program. The course builds upon the skills from the foundation year coursework. Students will use the knowledge gained in the Human Behavior and Foundation Practice courses to assess specific grief presentations in persons of diverse ages, races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Policy that impacts clients who have experienced losses will build upon the basic policy learning form foundation year policy courses. Concurrent coursework including field practicum experiences will enhance the students’ learning. A liberal arts perspective that includes the impact of biology, anthropology, sociology psychology, economics, ecology, ethics literature and theology will be integrated throughout the course. Issues pertaining to loss and grief are Integral in nearly every clinical situation that social workers address. Loss occurs throughout the life cycle, divorce, loss of a job; the effects of a disaster and an acute illness are all examples of losses other than death that impact clients. It is essential that social workers be trained in the understanding and assessment of loss and grief issues. Social workers need to develop interventions so they are able to provide practice-centered approaches to addressing these issues for individuals or within groups. It is also imperative that social workers are able to influence the service delivery segments of the population so that they are better able to administer to the loss and grief issues clients experience. This course will be taught so the following are included and present: 1. The focus is on the strengths, assets and resiliency that an individual or group brings to their current situation; 2. That there is a profound respect for the multitudes of cultural diversities pertaining to the experience of grief and mourning; 3. The promotion of social justice, especially with vulnerable, underserved, and disenfranchised populations; 4. The theoretical bases and critical analyses of social work intervention strategies. This course will provide in-depth and specific knowledge of grief and bereavement issues. It will serve to expand upon the curriculum in the area of specialization already undertaken by the graduate student and prepare the student to intervene and advocate for individuals, groups and societies in the areas of loss, grief, and mourning. Pre-requisites or co-requisites: Completion of foundation year II. Course Description: The framework for this course involves theories of loss and grief and methods of assessment, and interventions applicable to children, adolescents, adults and families. The interplay between uncomplicated (“normal”) grief and bereavement and clinical syndromes that may lead to a complicated grief response is analyzed for the purpose of helping clients through effective and empirically based interventions grounded in social work values and an ethical decision making process. Each developmental life stage of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age requires different knowledge and skills to assess and treat the various grief reactions. Students will develop an advanced understanding of the grief process experienced by people from diverse backgrounds (i.e. religion, race, culture, sexual orientation, physical and mental impairment, inadequate social and economic resources), for the purpose of enhancing their professionalism and affirming and respecting the strengths and differences of disparate minority populations. This course is designed for students to engage each client in an appropriate working relationship and identify needs, resources and assets for coping with grief reactions. The students will examine exploration of the workers’ own beliefs, responses and reactions to participating in professional grief work and doing the work with disparate populations in depth. The course directly and explicitly enhances the connection of theory and concepts in the bereavement field, to the needs of clients and the demands of everyday practice. This commitment is enriched by the following themes that are incorporated into the curriculum: A. Strengths perspective – This perspective recognizes and mobilizes the inherent strengths and resiliency of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities to discover and develop their own and communal resources and assets in their challenge to improve their quality of functioning and manage the various losses they face. B. Critical perspective – This allows the student to engage in a deliberate and continuing examination of the assumptions of underlying social work theories, methods and approaches developed by various authors in the field of bereavement. Discussions will include how to take this information and apply a social work frame of reference to address human need. C. Social justice – This course will encourage greater inclusion of disenfranchised populations understanding the effects of economic, political, and social structures on people’s life chances, particularly as it relates to economic inequality and the availability of necessary social resources. D. Diversity - This allows the vast diversity of how grief and mourning are experienced among individuals and within populations to be honored, respected and protected, especially with vulnerable, exploited and disenfranchised populations. III. Course Objectives: Upon conclusion of the course, students will demonstrate knowledge of: 1. Personal and professional anxieties and attitudes about death, loss and separation that may interfere with effective social work practice. 2. The impact of death and loss at various ages and stages of the life cycle. 3. The interpersonal, familial, socio-cultural and institutional dynamics that can assist or impede social work practice with the dying and bereaved. 4. The grief process and the roles and responsibilities of the social worker in providing service to the terminally ill patient and grieving client/family. 5. The dynamics of sudden loss and expected loss and the differential grief reaction to these. 6. The cultural differences that affect the grieving process. 7. The variety of social policy and ethical issues related to the needs of dying and grieving persons, particularly those members of oppressed populations, and how they affect the social workers’ professional practice. 8. Address and resolve professional values and ethical dilemmas that occur in bereavement situations. 9. Apply research to evaluate grief and loss social work interventions. Upon conclusion of the course, students will demonstrate skill in: 1. Methods to differentiate and treat normal and complicated grief reactions including crisis intervention/brief therapy, and grief counseling. 2. Identifying and planning appropriate interventions with diverse individuals, families and groups who are dealing with grief and loss issues. 3. The development of culturally appropriate death and loss rituals with individuals and families. 4. Planning and termination process in practice situations involving bereavement issues. 5. Identifying and managing counter transference reactions in work with the bereaved. IV. Topics Tasks, phases, stages, and processes of grief o Explanation of various experts in the field and their approaches regarding grief will be addressed (Example: Rando, Wolfelt, Worden, Doka, Irish, Kubler-Ross) Disenfranchised grievers Clinical assessments and tools to use in the process Triggers to grief reactions (STUG’s) Children and teen issues relating to grief Community resources Sudden death: murder, accidents, suicides, disasters, acute illness Anticipated death: chronic illness, aging, dying processes End of life issues including legal documents such as advanced directives Widowhood and grief Hospice care Complicated grief and treatment considerations Grief styles – intuitive and instrumental grievers Funeral rites and passages Death of a child Use of rituals in the grief process Strengths based, resiliency considerations in treatment Cultural diversity of population groups and grief styles (examples) o Asian ways of grief o Jewish perspectives and grief o Muslim/Islamic perspectives and grief o African American ways of grief o Latino community and grief o Native American and grief o Buddhism and grief o Hinduism and grief DSM IV diagnosis pertaining to grief reactions (discussion on use of psychotropic medications) Specialized populations and grief and mourning (examples) o Natural disasters and grief o Deaf community and grief o Sexual orientation and grief o First responders and grief o Pet loss and grief o Motherless daughters and grief o Violent and traumatic loss and grief Healthy self-care for caregivers and professionals in the field V. Students with Special Needs: If you are in need of special assistance for any type of disability, please contact Scott Laurent, Coordinator of Student Disabilities Services at 816-235-5696 or at email@example.com. The Student Disabilities Services office is located on the lower level of the University Center, room 23. The Student Disabilities Services office can be located on the Internet at www.umkc.edu/disability. In order to receive accommodation you will be required to document your particular disability. VI. Academic Honesty: The UMKC 2005-2006 Catalog states in the Conduct subsection of Policies and Procedures at the Graduate and Professional level, “The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri recognizes that academic honesty is essential for the intellectual life of the university. Faculty members have a special obligation to expect high standards of academic honesty in all student work. Students have a special obligation to adhere to such standards.” Please visit the on-line catalog at www.umkc.edu/umkc/catalog-grad/html/aooend/policy/0020.html to read concise definitions of behaviors and sanctions related to academic honesty, especially those pertaining to plagiarism. Students must cite (in both their written and spoken work) someone else’s thinking whether using a direct quotation or not. The School of Social Work is adamant that MSW students adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics and learn with honesty and integrity. Software to detect plagiarism is available to all UMKC professors. Writing Lab: Students are expected to utilize APA formatting, and to utilize proper citations when appropriate. If assistance with writing is needed, a writing lab is available for all UMKC students at 5201 Rockhill, 235-1146. Additional student services are available through the university including English as Second Language. Please contact your advisor, or the administrative center to learn how to access these services. VII. Teaching Methods: A variety of instructional strategies will be employed for the purpose of enhancing the students’ cognitive understanding, helping them incorporate professional values and ethics, and enabling them to apply principles and concepts covered in the course to the actual development of intervention skills. The instructor will make use of lecture, audio- visual content, and exercises in value clarification, critical thinking, and self-evaluation to explore major principles, concepts, and content of the course. VIII. Required and Recommended Texts and Materials: Rando, T. (1984). Grief, dying, and death: clinical interventions for caregivers. IL: Research Press. Dickinson, G. & Leming, M. R., eds. (2006). Annual Editions: Dying, death, and bereavement 08/09. NY: McGraw Dushkin. IX: Evaluation of Student Performance: Description of Methods of Evaluation: 1. Participation: Be prepared to participate in course discussion and activities. Prompt and regular attendance is expected. 2. Readings: Readings should be completed before class meetings. 3. Assignments: See attached packet X. Grading Policy The course requirements are all assigned point values. Assignment 1 Experience Essay 25 points Assignment 2 Cross Cultural Paper and Presentation 25 points Assignment 3 An Appropriate Death Paper/Forms 20 points Assignment 4 Art Project and Presentation 10 points Assignment 5 Opposing Viewpoints (8 @ 2.5 points each) 20 Points Students will earn grades based on total points earned in the course. A = 94-100 Excellent work, above course expectations A- = 91-93 B+ = 88-90 B = 84-87 Good work, meets course expectations B- = 81-83 C+ = 78-80 C = 74-77 Poor work, meets minimal course expectations F = 73 and below Failing work, no graduate credit will be awarded I= Incomplete Used only for serious situations which prevent a student from completing work in a timely fashion. (Ex. Serious illness) Student and instructor must complete a contract regarding when the coursework will be completed. Coursework must be completed prior to the beginning of the next semester in order to qualify as an incomplete. XI. Class topics and class schedule, including course assignments: See attached grid.
"death and dying"