Center For Loss & Life Transition
3735 Broken Bow Road
Fort Collins, Colorado  80526
Phone: (970) 226-6050   Fax: 800-922-6051
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Companioning the Bereaved:
A Note from Dr. Wolfelt

If you are thinking of attending a 4-Day Training in Colorado or Arizona, I invite you to consider the philosophy that informs my work with bereaved people as well as my teaching. I believe in “companioning” the bereaved instead of “treating” them.

I have taken liberties with the noun “companion” and made it into the verb “companioning” because it so well captures the type of counseling relationship I support. Actually, the word companion, when broken down into its original Latin roots, means com for “with” and pan for “bread.” Someone you would share a meal with. A friend. An equal.

Please be aware that not everyone is comfortable in the culture of “companioning.” I urge you to read through the information contained here very carefully. I urge you to use discernment in determining if the Center for Loss learning experiences are a good match for your fundamental learning style and philosophy of caring for your fellow human beings during times of loss and grief.

Here are my tenets of companioning the bereaved:

  • Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.
  • Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding the way out.
  • Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.
  • Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.
  • Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles.
  • Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading or being led.
  • Companioning is about discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it is not about filling up every moment with words.
  • Companioning is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.
  • Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.
  • Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.
  • Companioning is about compassionate curiosity; it is not about expertise.

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Center For Loss & Life Transition | 3735 Broken Bow Road | Fort Collins, Colorado  80526 | Phone: (970) 226-6050 | Fax: 800-922-6051 | E-Mail:
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