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Certification Training

You will never again have to wonder what more you could have done for someone suffering from a significant emotional loss

The Grief Recovery Method Certification Training encompasses the principles and actions developed over the past 30 years by John W. James and Russell Friedman, the founders of The Grief Recovery Institute®, and co-authors of The Grief Recovery Handbook, When Children Grieve, and Moving On. The training is designed specifically to assist all who wish to help those with broken hearts end their pain and reclaim their lives.


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Grief is not an intellectual experience

The uniqueness of the program lies in the essential idea that grief is a normal and natural emotional reaction to loss. Although that is an accurate statement, the majority of guidance for grieving people tends to move them toward their intellects to deal with their pain. We believe that: “Grievers don’t wind up at our door with broken heads, they arrive with broken hearts.”

Help people in your community immediately after the training!

The Certification Training is an intensive 4-day program. The mixture of personal completion actions combined with the fundamental principles of The Grief Recovery Method will give you the language, tools, and specific materials to hit the ground running. The sooner you start your Support Group after completing training, the better. It is advisable to put what you learn into use quickly while it is fresh in your mind.

Work with grievers one-on-one or in a group setting

After you become a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®you have the option to work with people in a one-on-one setting and/or facilitate the Grief Recovery Method Support Group. We provide you with detailed formats for both options. It’s completely up to you in choosing how you would like to help people. In addition, there is a 6-week program for guiding adults/caretakers in helping the children in their care who have experienced a loss.

The Grief Recovery Method Support Groups are not like traditional groups, nor are they self-help groups. They are facilitated groups which use the time-tested Grief Recovery Method and The Grief Recovery Handbook as the basic text, along with a step-by-step format written by John and Russell.

In addition to the text and formats, you will have direct access to the Institute for guidance and direction. This is especially important in the first few months of implementing the program. We will support you for however long it takes to get your Grief Recovery Method Support Groups up and running.

We will refer grievers to you

The Grief Recovery Institute® is home base for our ever expanding international programs, with Certified Grief Recovery Specialists® in all corners of the globe. We receive inquires for Certified personnel from every community in America, and increasingly, throughout the world. Once you have begun running the program, you automatically qualify to be included in our Referral Network.

You don’t need a special degree to help grieving people

Anyone with a genuine desire to help grieving people is a candidate for Certification. Since this educational program is directed at the emotions caused by loss, it does not require special degrees or academic credentials. Here are some examples of people who use The Grief Recovery Method.

Mental Health Professionals: It is logical that mental health professionals, who have observed the level and degree to which their clients have been affected by loss, would want to acquire the most effective skills possible for guiding those clients. Many therapists believe that The Grief Recovery Method is the missing link for completing the discoveries that have surfaced during their work with clients, as well as a major adjunct to effective ongoing therapy.

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Clergy: More than any other professional group, the clergy are most likely to be involved when a family has experienced the death of a loved one or an issue of loss. We often ask our friends in the clergy how often they get this call: “Hi, Pastor Bob, I’m just calling to say that everything is great with my family and at work, and my faith in the Lord is comforting.” This is always greeted with a laugh and they tell us that most calls are about marital struggles, trouble with the children, or a breach of faith in God. All of those are clearly loss issues, which are addressed with the principles and actions of The Grief Recovery Method.

Funeral & Cemetery Professionals: In addition to the clergy, this is the primary group that is literally there at the time of loss. The bottom-line reality is that a grieving family is sitting in a funeral director’s office in the days after the death of a loved one. It behooves all who interact with the bereaved to have the most effective tools for dealing with the emotions caused by death.

People whose lives have been altered by loss: Grief, and the life-altering emotions attached to it, tends to create a heightened awareness of the value of life. Many people who have experienced major devastating losses feel compelled to help others. However noble the intentions, that desire must be matched by effective information and a workable program.

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The Grief Recovery Method Certification Training provides significant career expansion and opportunities for both mental health professionals and non-professionals alike.

Build a solid platform with The Grief Recovery Method

The Grief Recovery Method Certification Training and the accompanying Grief Recovery Method Support Groups and format materials provide the foundation upon which professionals and others can follow their own impulse and desire to help others. The program provides education, training, and practical application of The Grief Recovery Method counseling skills and techniques.

Why is The Grief Recovery Method Certification Training unique?

There are organizations that offer certificate programs in the general field of grief and loss, and some even use the words grief and recovery. A question we hear often is, “What exactly is it that distinguishes your program from the others?”

It is a very fair question and deserves an answer. Earlier we referred briefly to the idea that noble intentions need to be coupled with effective information. The essential impediment to completion of the pain caused by loss is the misinformation which permeates our society and is passed from generation to generation without examination of the validity of the information.

You will learn that unresolved grief is the presenting issue…

Grief and more importantly, recovery from the ravages of loss, is often a stepchild topic in many professional arenas. That is to say, that it is an adjunct element of other concerns, and gets shunted to the back burner of topics that are taught in many of the mental health disciplines.

In all the classroom hours spent in professional schools, very few are actually focused on the specific topic of recovery from significant emotional loss. Time is spent on the history of death and funerary objects and rituals, and on the study of the potential sequence of emotions involved in the process of dying. Little if any time is devoted to the actions of recovery.

Identifying grief is only half of the equation

It is one thing to identify a problem, it is yet another to provide a practical solution to the problem. Yet, at last report from all of our contacts from all disciplines, there is still very little focus in most training schools on the major concern–people’s reaction to loss and what to do about it!

Loss is our only topic

The element that most distinguishes our program from others is the singular focus on helping people deal with the conflicting emotions caused by the change or end in anything familiar. The list of losses that produce grief includes more than 40 life events, so dealing with loss is a full time task for us.

What is especially heartwarming for us and for the people we’ve trained is the enhanced value of therapy, spiritual programs, and improvements in other life areas after completing The Grief Recovery Method Support Groups or working one-on-one with one of our Certified Grief Recovery Specialists®.

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Here’s what you’ll get after you complete The Grief Recovery Method Certification Training

  1. Copies of our three books: The Grief Recovery Handbook, When Children Grieve and Moving On
  2. The Grief Recovery Manual with our program formats and study materials
  3. Unlimited support over the phone and online. We will mentor you every step of the way as you apply The Grief Recovery Method
  4. Access to our online membership area with exclusive content only available to Certified Grief Recovery Specialists®
  5. You will be added to our Referral Network. We put thousands of grievers in touch with our Certified Grief Recovery Specialists® every year
  6. Access to our marketing materials and logo. You will receive everything needed to start implementing your Support Groups in your community
  7. Community Education Program & Attraction: Materials to develop speeches and in-services to assist you in bringing the concepts of The Grief Recovery Method to organizations or groups within your community

Training Agenda

  • Programs begin at 8:30am on Friday morning with an Introduction and Orientation Session.
  • Participants reconvene each morning at 8:30am and conclude each evening at 5:30pm.
  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday sessions deal with The Grief Recovery Method Principles, Concepts of Recovery, How Incomplete Loss Occurs, Identifying Incomplete Losses, Grief Recovery Counseling Skills, Teaching Role Sets, and Development of Completion Exercises, and Practical Application Training.
  • There will be homework assignments Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
  • Times may vary slightly based on number of participants and program location. A program Itinerary will be forwarded with your confirmation. Check your Confirmation carefully for any time variances.

Tuition Cost: $1995.00

Early Registration Discount – Sign up sixty days in advance and receive a $200 discount

Payment plans available! You can pay in full or choose one of our payment plan options. Take advantage of any of these options during the checkout process.

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Continuing Education Credits Available!

Frequently Asked Questions

As in all other things, what you practice is what you get good at. It would be unreasonable to say that we can make you an expert in four days. But, we’ll lay down a very solid foundation that will allow you to become proficient very quickly.

You are certified by the Grief Recovery Institute®, a non-profit educational provider. This means that as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, you are affiliated with our 30 plus years of experience, our reputation, and our intellectual properties. You will be given all the tools and materials to run a 12-week Support Group and/or a 7 session one-on-one program. You will also receive a program called Helping Children Deal with Loss. This is for the parents and care takers of children who have suffered a loss.

Isolation is one of the primary problems for most grievers. In general, The Grief Recovery Method works best in a group format. However, some grievers will not or cannot participate in a group setting. We’ll teach you the Grief Recoveryskills to help in both, a one-on-one and/or group setting.

No. Since grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss, and since The Grief Recovery Method Certification Training is educational rather than therapeutic, all that is required is a loving heart and a genuine desire to help grieving people. While many of our Certified personnel are licensed mental health professionals, many come from other areas, such as the funeral and cemetery industries and the clergy. Those who are not in the mental health arena often create a referral list of mental health professionals in their community for situations that are outside the range of The Grief Recovery Method. Many therapists throughout the country refer clients to our Certified Grief Recovery Specialists® who are not mental health professionals. These therapists observe wonderful changes in their clients’ ability to move forward in therapy after completing the Grief Recovery Method Support Group.

Expect your certificate approximately a week to ten days following the conclusion of your training.

Yes. A long term license and service agreement allows you to affiliate with the Institute and use the intellectual properties protected by copyright law.

The fees you charge for any of the programs are at your discretion and are generally based on what is typical in your community for a parallel service. We have nothing to do with your fees but we are here to advise you if you need guidance.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and most other valid sources allude to the underlying causes that affect and limit attempts at sobriety. Underlying causes can invariably be classified as grief and loss issues. We do believe that the presenting issue must be dealt with first, but as soon as possible thereafter The Grief Recovery Method can be introduced.

You have access to almost unlimited support from the Institute. During the training, we’ll instruct you in the best methods of responding to your griever’s questions. When you’re not sure of the answer, please call us for assistance. With more than 30 years of cumulative experience, there is almost no set of circumstances that we have not dealt with. There is no fee for this continuing service.

No, you will receive a copy of all 3 of our books as part of your training materials.