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Grief and Loss

Tenets of Companioning the Bereaved


Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D.

 Tenet One: Companioning is about being present to another person’s pain; it is not taking away the pain


Tenet Two: Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about thinking you are responsible for finding away out.


Tenet Three: Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.


Tenet Four: Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.


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


Tenet Six: Companioning is about walking alongside; it is not about leading or being led.


Tenet Seven: Companioning means discovering the gifts of sacred silence; it does not mean filling up every moment with words.


Tenet Eight: Companioning is about being still; it is not about frantic movement forward.


Tenet Nine: Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about imposing order and logic.


Tenet Ten: Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.


Tenet Eleven: Companioning is about curiosity; it is not about expertise.

  • Death and grief are spiritual journeys of the soul.

  • Death ends a life; it does not end a relationship.

  • We are to be " care givers", not cure givers

  • Grief is transformative and life-changing

  • We must feel to heal

  • Grief and mourning are matters of the heart and soul, not of the intellect

  • We who journey with those who mourn are those who show compassion and love

  • Compassion means " to suffer with"

" A wound that goes unacknowledged and unwept is a wound that cannot heal." 
John Eldredge