Course at a glance


This Quality Assured, Level 3 Diploma in Bereavement Counselling, is aimed at providing those with counselling experience and/or introductory qualifications, with a review of the fundamentals of counselling, while gaining knowledge and application of counselling in bereavement care.

The course will cover the five key perspectives of counselling skills that underpin the fundamental basis for all counselling. This theoretical foundation will form the basis for, exploring how individuals cope with bereavement as a life experience; how the skilled counsellor can provide; an understanding of, loss and bereavement; coping strategies for anxiety, grief and blame; while signposting the client towards a greater understanding of wellbeing and in part, closure.

Learning Aims

The Learning programme for the student, offers choice and scope in regards to the wider study of the specialist areas of counselling the bereaved person. The core aims of the diploma are to:

  • Specifically offers student a theoretical academic approach to the study of this area of advanced counselling through a robust programme of learning that will enhance careers in the wider field of counselling settings in: social care; palliative care; funeral care, spiritual/pastoral care and many other associated settings.
  • The Diploma Bereavement Counselling encourages students to: develop their interest in, and enthusiasm for, a rigorous study of their subject at a specialist level and explores the core framework that is currently bereavement counselling theory and professional practice.
  • To apply the subject as an academic discipline by developing knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate to a very specialist area of Counselling, adopt an enquiring, critical and reflective approach to the study of cognitive and person centred bereavement counselling.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will have an opportunity to study aspects of Counselling theory and practice that is current and informs the foundation for bereavement counselling.
  • To undertake a broader study of the subject of bereavement counselling through the selection of a variety of topics, although diverse, will complement each other. The following are examples: your enhanced role, as bereavement counsellor: understanding grief and loss; crisis counselling; emotional strategy; client wellbeing; support networking and how the fundamental perspectives of counselling can be best applied in this area of person centred therapy.
  • Some prior knowledge of Counselling is recommended, or experience in working with the bereaved. However, the opportunity is provided for candidates who have studied a social science subject at A Level (either as a Full or Short Course) to build on knowledge, understanding and skills gained at that level. Or simply starting from a point of wanting to enhance professional skills.
  • The course encourages students to develop the critical, analytical and evaluative skills which will enable them To either go on to Higher Education to study a wide range of Social Science courses, including: Religious Studies, Philosophy, Law, Sociology, Psychology and of course, Counselling. Or, seek professional accreditation with an approved counselling body.

This course consists of Ten Units and is a qualification awarded by CIE Global, a leading Awarding Body.

Assessment Objectives (AO)

AO: 1

Students must select and demonstrate clearly relevant knowledge and understanding through the use of evidence, examples and correct language and terminology appropriate to the course of study. In addition, for synoptic assessment, students should demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the connections between different elements of their course of study. This assessment, involves two written assignments: one halfway through the course and following the final unit. Both are assessed and graded by the assigned tutor, according to college procedures.

AO: 2

Students must critically evaluate and justify a point of view through the use of evidence and reasoned argument. In addition, for synoptic assessment, students should relate elements of their course of study to their broader context and to aspects of spiritual human experience.

Quality of Written Communication (QWC)

In addition, OLC require students’ to produce written material in English, candidates must: ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPG) are accurate so that meaning is clear; select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to studying a complex subject matter; organise information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary when appropriate and Harvard referencing of citation and sources. In this Specification, SPG will be assessed in all tutor marked assignments (TMAs)

To ensure that we maintain quality standards; all our students written assignments are subject to our plagiarism policy and procedure.

Key Features

OLC offer the opportunity to study Bereavement Counselling as a professional level 3 validated diploma course. The student will learn and/or review the psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural and person centred approached that provide a greater understanding of advanced counselling in bereavement therapy.

This course has several features:

  • To develop an empathy and coherence for the centric study of bereavement counselling and its contextualisation as a specialist talking therapy.
  • To treat the subject as a professional discipline, providing the academic knowledge, understanding and skills appropriate for specialist study.
  • To teach students an enquiring, reflective and critical approach to the study of bereavement therapies through the discipline of counselling.
  • To encourage students to reflect on their own professional practice, the norms, perceptions, values and opinions in the light of their study.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated Centre for Interactive Education (CIE Global). Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Course Content

The whole level three diploma has TEN (10) specific units of study, which are sub-divided into topic areas these are:

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 1: Re-appraisal, approaches & theories of counselling

In this unit, student the opportunity to review their knowledge of counselling theory that are, the foundations for counselling practice. In particular, the approaches of: Freud, Rogers, Skinner, Ellis, Jung and Egan. These approaches are fundamental in understanding the psychology of the practice of counselling.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 2: The psycho-dynamic approach essential qualities

The unit explores how the psycho-dynamic approach in psychology is a founding concept in counselling. How it works? How it is used and applied in bereavement therapies.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 3: The cognitive behavioural approach

The unit helps the student to re-explore cognitive behavioural therapy an approach that is a frequently applied in counselling. In doing so, the application of this approach to a variety of client presenting circumstances will be carefully explored.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 4: The person-centred approach

This unit helps the student re-explore person-centred therapy an approach that is a crucial foundation for bereavement counselling. Application and conceptualisation of the approach in a variety of client presenting circumstances will be considered and examples given.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 5: Process, skill and boundaries

At this halfway stage of learning the student will with the gained knowledge from unit 1-4, have the opportunity to contextualise this theoretical learning. In doing so, consideration will be given to how in a bereavement counselling session: what skills are best? Boundaries and limitations in client care: sensitivity, recognition and, signposting.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 6: Loss; concepts, origins and perspectives

How we cope with loss as human beings is the focus of this unit. How, different perspectives in a multi-cultural society; spirituality and religion offer comfort and in part, hope. Why has death in a modern society become “the hidden taboo”?

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 7: Understanding bereavement

How do we understand bereavement, is the key focus of this unit. How understanding the raw needs of clients coping with bereavement is a fundamental part of understanding the different and frequently difficult aspects and features of grief. Is there a process to grieving? What psychological and physiological signs can guide the counsellor in applying skills, which cannot be ‘one set fits all’ but an individual approach that fits the person.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 8: Responding to grief

When planning bereavement counselling sessions, the counsellor seeks to understand the nature and situational feature that are being presented by the client. In this unit we explore how to prepare, structure and signpost sessions unique to the client. How use of vocabulary, client expectations and their responses are treated.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 9: Bereavement counselling: special groups: (Part: 1)

Within bereavement counselling, it is frequently common for group therapy to be used in helping those who are bereaved. The benefit of which is the common bond that exists between the participants. Some of these are: groups whose members have been affected by: cancer; suicide; trauma; disaster; terrorism and crime. All of which require specialist counselling skills.

Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma Unit 10: Bereavement counselling: special groups: (Part: 2)

In this final unit we continue to explore specialist group counselling. The growing popularity of therapy in groups is becoming more appropriate and also diverse. The inclusion of what was once seen less important areas are: stillbirth; loss of a child; loss of a same sex partner and more recently, loss of a pet. We conclude the course by considering the importance of empathetic grieving and how this evolving area will impact upon specialist role of being a counsellor.


This Accredited Level 3 Bereavement Counselling Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.