The Handbook for Companioning the Mourner: Eleven Essential Principles


BY: Diana Battles LISW, ACHP-SW

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

In his book, The Handbook for Companioning the Mourner: Eleven Essential Principles, Alan Wolfelt, raises the question, “just imagine how profoundly the world would change if all those who mourn life’s losses-everyone-were companioned through their grief journeys.”

These thought-provoking questions are posed for consideration by Wolfelt:

“What happens when we live in a society where feelings of grief are seen as signs of weakness instead of signs of strength?”

“Have many people in our society come to believe that feelings of grief are unnecessary and inappropriate?”

Wolfelt has been teaching the “art of companioning” for many years. He suggests that in order to “support fellow human beings in grief, you must create a safe place for people to embrace their feelings of profound loss” and presents “The Eleven Tenets of Companioning the Bereaved.”

Here are two of those tenets:

• Companioning is about being present to another’s pain; it is not about taking away the pain.

• Companioning is about bearing witness to the struggles of others; it is not about judging or directing these struggles.

If you’re seeking to be sensitive and supportive to someone who is grieving, this concise handbook, filled with wisdom and insights, may be just what you are looking for.

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