To understand what the role of a thanatologist is, we must first define Thanatology.
Thanatology is the study of death, dying and bereavement. The term is comprised of two Greek words: “Than” (death) and “logia” (study).
One who studies all that surrounds the experience of death and applies it to counseling and therapy is called a thanatologist.
As a Certified Thanatologist (CT), a credential bestowed only by the Association for Death Education and Counseling after rigorous study, I have worked in hospitals and palliative care hospices, trained medical staff in dealing with patients and families who are experiencing loss, counseled clients who are grieving and written a number of books in the area. With 30 years of experience in pastoral care, funeral homes and counseling, and my personal experience of a wife who died of cancer in her 40’s, I am well equipped to assist the grieving and train care-givers to help people through their loss experience. I am 1 out of 25 in Canada certified in Thanatology.
When you are searching for someone to help you process your grief, it is important to identify individuals with qualified knowledge in thanatology. Even more important is the thanatologist’s ability to apply their knowledge and experience. This comes from years of successfully helping people get back on their feet following a loss.