Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education

First Advisor

JoAnne Holbert


Loss, whether death or non-death related, is a life-changing experience. When people grieve over their significant loss, they go through a multitude of emotional, behavioral, physiological, and cognitive changes that can be disruptive at times. Counselors report encountering various loss-related issues with their clients, yet novice counselors in particular do not feel comfortable dealing with these issues. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a grief and loss training program from a Rational Emotive Behavioral Theory perspective for counselors to improve their comfort level in grief counseling.

The literature highlights the increasing trend of online training in higher education. With advancing technology and globalization, online training is becoming more and more prevalent in every aspect of higher education. Counselor education is adapting to this trend by including more online courses in the curricula. The effectiveness of online training has been studied widely in the past ten years. However, literature regarding effectiveness of online training in counseling is very limited. Therefore, this study also tried to provide some information about the effectiveness of online counseling courses by comparing the effectiveness of grief and loss training in online and in-class settings.

Thirty counseling master's students were included in the study. The grief counseling training was delivered in three weeks, and the first hypothesis was tested with a pretest-posttest two-treatment groups design by using Counseling Situations Questionnaire - Subscale for Level of Grief Counseling Comfort. The results indicated that grief counseling training has a statistically significant effect on the grief comfort level of counseling students. The training was also found to improve the students' overall counseling self-efficacy. The second hypothesis was tested with a posttest only two-treatment groups design. The results showed that the online group, which received the grief and loss training online, and the in-class group, which received the training in the traditional in-class setting, showed no statistically significant difference in their grief counseling comfort level. This shows that both groups improved their grief counseling level with the training regardless of the setting of the training.