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Honoring Grief...Intending to Heal: A Training Program for Companioning the Bereaved

This is a condensed, intensive, basic training program for those who wish to companion the bereaved individually, as a facilitator of a grief support group, and/or within a bereavement outreach program. This program is also designed for those who currently serve in these roles and who wish to ‘hone’ their skills.  The training will include:

  • understanding grief and its power
  •  connecting spirituality and grief
  • exploring the significance of authentic mourning as it relates to healing
  • appreciating the role of companioning vs. ‘fixing’ or ‘treating’ the bereaved
  • clarifying the ‘Intention to Heal’
  • understanding facilitation and the role of an effective facilitator

The training also includes learning and practicing necessary companioning skills such as:

  • communication, listening, questioning, creating, and ‘holding’ space
  • developing tips for specific situations
  • reviewing types of support group models
  • identifying boundaries and providing appropriate community referrals
  • discussing necessary strategies for initiating a support group
  • surveying components of effective ritual and memorial services
  • outlining components of a bereavement ministry outreach program

In addition to addressing these topics, participants will receive three books and a binder filled with practical materials and handouts that can be used as guides and resources both for themselves as well as for those they serve.  Other resources will be available for participants to review.

Training Program requirements include:

reading, intentional reflection, integration and other assignments between gatherings, and attendance at all four Saturday gatherings.  A space of two years since a significant loss is preferred.

Saturdays, February 25, March 4, March 18, and March 25, 2017  (snow date:  April 8, 2017)
8:30am—4:30pm
Follow-up Day of Reflection:  Saturday, July 1, 2017, 9:30am—3:30pm
Registration Deadline:  February 1, 2017

Cost of $375 includes three books, binder of materials, noon meals, handouts, and three CEUs.  Enrollment is limited.  Registration information here.

Honoring Grief is approved through the University of Wisconsin—Parkside Continuing Education.  Participants who adequately complete the program will be awarded three CEUs and 30 instructional contact hours.

Co-facilitator Melissa Minkley, MSW, is the co-founder of Healing Life’s Losses grief services and is a social worker with over 20 years of experience in psychosocial oncology and bereavement counseling.  She has companioned adults and children in individual, support group, workshop, and retreat settings, focusing on enhancing ones holistic well-being.   Personal experience of loss has given Melissa insight into the impact grief has on individuals, families and friends. 

Co-facilitator Pete Reinl, CSG, is the co-founder of Healing Life’s Losses grief services and is a companion and spiritual guide with over 25 years of pastoral ministry experience, serving in various roles within faith communities, retreat centers, and funeral homes.  He has spent the last twelve years of his ministry companioning the bereaved and training others who wish to be companions. His background includes certification in pastoral ministry and he is a graduate of Siena Retreat Center’s Spiritual Guidance Training Program.  Having experienced several significant losses in his life, he brings a wealth of personal experience in addition to his professional background in loss, grief, and healing.