At the annual ADEC (Association of Death Education and Counseling), I spoke with Dr Janet McCord about helping others after loss.

Janet is a professor in Thanatology. In the video below she shared with me the programs at Marian University and what they offer those who are interested in helping others through grief and loss.

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • Janet offers a Masters of Science degree in Thanatology, which is the study of death, dying, loss, and bereavement.
  • Thanatology doesn’t technically include non-death loss, but in Janet’s program it is included as well.
  • Hospices are mandated to offer bereavement care services, but they never know who to hire in order to fulfill those services. So what Janet has done at Marian University is create a practical degree in order to help people be trained and be ready  to step into those roles.
  • Should people who have experienced loss go into the field of Thanatology? Janet says that it all depends on when the loss has occurred. If it’s a fresh loss it can be difficult because the content in the program can set off emotional triggers.
  • What Janet means by this, is that people in the program may read something and find themselves really emotionally upset and find that they need more time before being able to continue with the program.
  • However, education is therapeutic. So those who continue with the program find themselves wanting to learn more so they can help someone else. The program helps you to gain mastery over your loss and gain a deeper understanding of your loss.
  • Janet’s programs are offered 100% online, where you have the option to do a Masters degree or an 18-credit certificate. Or you can just take individual courses.
  • To learn more about these programs, vist

For more video interviews, please see the Open To Hope YouTube channel.

Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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