Holding the Hope:bereavement

One of the most important roles as a peer facilitator, when working with people whose lives have been shattered by loss is to hold the hope, keep it in the room at times when a person is feeling so devastated or overwhelmed that they can’t access their own hope. Effective facilitators come to realize that it is about creating “sacred space” in the group so that each person’s story can be non-judgmentally received. Facilitators help to create a mutual bond between the group members, help them to “trust the process” in being able to find meaning in their loss.

What to look for in Peer Facilitators:

  • Must have experienced a loss
  • Compassion and excellent listening skills
  • Self awareness
  • Belief in mutual/peer support
  • Openness and willingness to share of themselves
  • Tolerance and acceptance of others
  • Ability to hold back advice-giving
  • Need to be able to work as part of a two person team

The extensive 25 hour training will provide a basic understanding of the grief processes and the feelings that accompany them. The facilitators will become keenly aware of the differences in the way people grieve, the key point being, that we can not dictate the way people grieve, but rather allow people to grieve in the manner in which they feel comfortable. The program is based on a combination of two experts in the field of bereavement. William Worden’s “four tasks” and Alan Wolfelt’s  belief that “companioning” people on their grief journey, helping them to integrate life’s losses by allowing them time to contemplate and turn inward is key to a persons healing.

“Hope is the vital ingredient that helps us reignite our divine spark after loss breaks our hearts and touches our souls”  —Alan D. Wolfelt

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