– Henri Nouwen
“Honoring Grief—Intending to Heal” is a grief support companion training program for those who are new to companioning the bereaved and/or for those who are currently supporting the bereaved in various capacities and want to hone their skills.
The companioning model can be integrated into—and can greatly enhance—any modality of support to the bereaved, be it as a counselor, support group facilitator, minister, social worker, hospice worker, chaplain, funeral home employee, nurse, physician, spiritual director, friend, or family member.
This approach to supporting the bereaved makes a clear distinction between other models that focus on treating, fixing, curing, analyzing, and resolving another’s grief. Instead, the companioning model is about “being authentically present to the mourner, allowing the mourner to teach and guide you, and even being a temporary guardian of the person’s soul” (Alan Wolfelt).
The art of being a grief support companion is deceptively simple but most find it challenging as it demands personal accountability of—and tending to—one’s own losses, as well as allowing oneself to be vulnerable. It is a model that is counter-intuitive, counter-intellectual and counter-western-cultural. This training program’s approach and contents includes a healthy balance of head and heart.
Components of the Companion Training Program include:
- in-depth exploration of the companioning philosophy (with sensitivity to serving differing ages, cultures, ethnicities, and spiritual backgrounds)
- basic understanding of grief and its significance
- connecting spirituality and grief
- basic understanding of healing in grief
- surveying the necessity of being with difficult emotions and feelings
- clarifying the necessity of purposeful and intentional healing
- learning and practicing companioning skills with particular emphasis on:
- real presence
- creating and holding safe spaces
- the art of curiosity through an appreciation and integration of “beginners
- developing listening and questioning skills
- practical implications of using the companion model in various grief support modalities.
Gatherings will include:
- presentation and educational activities
- small and large group interaction
- meditation and griever-friendly rituals
- opportunities to practice skills
- opportunities for personal integration.
- Attendance at all five Saturday gatherings
- A space of 1.5 years since a significant loss is preferred
- Reading, intentional reflection, integration and other assignments prior to the first gathering and between gatherings.
Participants who complete the program will receive:
- four grief related books
- practical handouts
- certificate of completion of four Continuing Education Units.
Honoring Grief is approved for four CEUs (40 Contact Hours) through the University of Wisconsin—Parkside Continuing Education.
Registration and Application Process:
- Complete and submit the registration form and the non-refundable deposit.
- Once your registration is received, you will be emailed a biographical application form which is required to be completed and submitted for review by the training program team.
- You will be notified regarding your acceptance into the program and mailed the assignment for the initial gathering. You must apply by by Tuesday, December 31, 2019.
Saturdays, January 25, February 22, March 21, April 25, and July 11, 2020. (Snow date May 9)
Cost of $475 includes $50 non-refundable deposit, all five training days, four books, handouts and materials, meals, and CEUs.