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This course introduces social work students to the nature and centrality of the experience of loss and subsequent grief in their personal lives, in the lives of their clients, and in their role as professional helpers. Emphasis is placed on the variety and types of loss experienced throughout the life cycle and ways in which social workers may address grief related needs with persons across the life span. As a practice-in-context course, this refers to settings and social groups in which human behavior takes place, these contexts may be biological, physical, psychological, socio-cultural, spiritual, economic, political, historical, and natural environments. Whereas some theories focus on the individual, the family, or the small group, other theories teach us about the larger social contexts or structures in which people operate. The term environment is commonly used in the social work literature to describe these contexts, groups, and structures. Because all human behavior is contextual, an understanding of people must also include an understanding of these contexts.