Companioning the Bereaved
To be a companion to the bereaved means being totally present to the mourner by offering a safe place for them to embrace their feelings. This safe place also allows the companion to be truly present to another person’s intimate pain. Tears and sorrow, with the listening and sharing of experiences, can bring about very deep and profound emotions.
Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, breaks down how to go about companioning in his “11 Tenets of Caring for the Bereaved.”
Some examples of what companioning means:
- It is about being present to another person’s pain; not taking away the pain.
- It is about honoring the spirit; not about focusing on the intellect.
- It is about walking alongside; not about leading or being led.
- It is about respecting disorder and confusion; not about imposing order and logic.
- It is about learning from others; not about teaching them.
For a more detailed list of what companioning means according to Dr. Wolfelt, go to “Companioning Philosophy” here: http://tmsd.mb.ca/Crisis%20Plan/Section%205/5-O%20Companioning%20Philosophy.pdf
Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology has a bereavement support group available for men and women who have lost a spouse/partner to cancer. This unique opportunity allows for the bereaved to share and heal with others that have gone through similar feelings during this very challenging time.
To learn more about the Grief Work Support Group, go to: https://www.simmsmanncenter.ucla.edu/index.php/services/groups/what-groups-are-available/grief-work/
For more information or to enroll, please call the Simms/Mann Center at (310)794-6644 or email SimmsMannCenter@mednet.ucla.edu.