We interviewed Howard Winokuer, author of Principles and Practice of Grief Counseling, at the recent ADEC (Association for Death Education and Counseling) conference in Atlanta, GA, held March 28-31, 2012. He mentioned this book is the first comprehensive textbook to teach grief counseling and grief counseling skills, which gives counselors and therapists a foundation that they’ve never before had in one place or time.

Read the interview below or view the video on our YouTube channel.


SpringBoard: How would you say your book is different than others on this subject?

HW: I think the thing that’s most interesting about it, for those of us who have been teaching grief counseling for so many years, we’ve had to incorporate many different resources to teach a course. We’d use this book, that article, pieces from another book and Darcy Harris and I, when we collaborated on this, realized we wanted to create a book that was intact, one whole book, that was on teaching grief counseling skills to both introductory graduate students and upper level undergraduate students. So I would say this, and it’s a biased opinion and I own that very much, that this is the first comprehensive textbook to teach grief counseling and grief counseling skills.

SpringBoard: Would you say that the book takes a particular approach to grief or has a particular understanding of grief that perhaps other books may not spouse?

HW: I think that rather than having a particular understanding, most books are focused on one particular area of grief or another and what we’ve tried to do is really broaden that concept. So for instance the chapter on theories and orientations about grief, we’ve presented a plethora of models and theories. The image that I have is that we all have tools that we use, and what our hope was in this particular book was to enhance and increase people’s toolboxes. We could give them new tools to use so that when a situation came about they had a tool in their toolbox to pull out and use at the appropriate time with the appropriate person about the appropriate issue. That’s really our hope in this, giving people a broad perspective so they have lots to draw from.

SpringBoard: Are there any other key messages you’d like to express?

HW: I guess the key message really for me is again the idea that I believe that every psychological issue is related to some kind of loss, whether it’s the loss of self-esteem, whether it’s a divorce, whether it’s the loss of your youth and getting older. Whenever people experience loss they experience grief and I really believe so strongly that young counselors and therapists who are getting ready to go out in the world, not even young ones who are training, but also current counselors would so benefit from our new book because it will give them a foundation that I don’t believe they’ve ever had in one place at one time.