Companioning the Bereaved: A Soulful Guide for Caregivers
This book presents a model for grief counseling based on Dr. Wolfelt’s “companioning” principles.
For many mental healthcare providers, grief in contemporary society has been medicalized—perceived as if it were an illness that with proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment could be cured. Dr. Wolfelt explains that our modern understanding of grief all too often conveys that at bereavement’s “end” the mourner has completed a series of tasks, extinguished pain, and established new relationships. Our psychological models emphasize “recovery” or “resolution” in grief, suggesting a return to “normalcy.”
By contrast, this book advocates a model of “companioning” the bereaved, acknowledging that grief forever changes or transforms the mourner’s world view. Companioning is not about assessing, analyzing, fixing or resolving another’s grief. Instead, it is about being totally present to the mourner, even being a temporary guardian of his soul. The companioning model is grounded in a “teach me” perspective.