Evaluating an Online Intervention to Educate Psychology Graduate Students about Grief and Grief Counseling and to Increase Their Self-Efficacy in Working with Bereaved Clients

Thumbnail Image


Jankauskaite_umd_0117E_22702.pdf (1.74 MB)
No. of downloads:

Publication or External Link





Grief is a ubiquitous human experience with most if not all individuals experiencing a death loss at some point in their lives. Prior research found that all surveyed therapists reported having worked with bereaved clients at some point in their careers, with many (44.4%) noting that they provided grief counseling fairly often (Jankauskaite et al., 2021). However, research suggested that majority of therapists never received formal graduate training on grief counseling and may rely on outdated knowledge and questionable skills in working with grieving clients (e.g., Dodd et al., 2020; Jankauskaite et al., 2021; Ober et al., 2012), yet expressed desire to learn more about this clinical skill (Jankauskaite et al., 2021). Thus, the purposes of the present study were to develop an online intervention to educate psychology graduate students about grief and grief counseling and to evaluate whether the intervention can increase knowledge on grief and grief counseling and self-efficacy in working with grieving individuals. The study compared three study conditions – full video intervention, partial video intervention, and a control consisting of a reading. The results indicated that while controlling for prior grief counseling training and experience, participants randomized to the full video intervention had higher grief and grief counseling knowledge and self-efficacy in working with bereaved individuals than those randomized to the partial intervention and control groups. Overall, the results indicated that the full intervention is a feasible and efficacious way to teach psychology doctoral students about grief and grief counseling and to increase their confidence in working with bereaved client population. We end by discussing clinical implications and future research considerations.