Who is a Companion?
The Companion facilitates the delivery of the programme to children, young people and adults in a safe environment, using methods that promote a peer support focus. Group facilitators are described as Companions to identify their role of accompanying the children, both individually and as a group, as they journey through experiencing, adjusting and developing new life skills in response to personal loss.
The role of a Companion is critical to the Seasons for Growth process. An effective Seasons for Growth Companion is a person who:
- Cares deeply about supporting young people in understanding and accepting their grief.
- Can listen deeply and effectively.
- Is able to facilitate discussion.
- Can ask questions sensitively and respect silence.
- Is not burdened by his/her own unresolved grief.
- Has the ability to express and deal with his/her own feelings.
- Can relate well to the age group he/she is accompanying.
- Understands the issues related to mandatory reporting.
- Is willing to take part in the Companion training.
- Does not bring a personal agenda to the group.
- Acts supportively. Does not rescue, distract or make participants dependent.
- Trusts in the participants’ experiences and capacity to choose what is best for them.
- Asks “what” and “how” questions not “why” or “which”.
- Respects the uniqueness of each person’s life story.
- Is able to affirm others.
Effective listening in Seasons for Growth involves:
- Acknowledging that listening is more important than speaking.
- Using your eyes, ears, heart and head to listen.
- Tuning into the feelings behind the words.
- Giving full attention to the person speaking.
- Putting aside assumptions and judgements about the person speaking or what is being said.
- Respecting silences and not interrupting them.
- Letting others finish what they are saying.
- Paying attention to non-verbal communication.
- Restating what was said, making sure you have heard it correctly.
- Willingness to convey acceptance of others no matter what they do/don’t share.
The Training Process of a Companion:
The process of training to be a Seasons for Growth Companion is as follows:
Stage 1: Informal presentation by Seasons for Growth personnel to staff/community. Schools and community organisations recommend who is to be considered for training as Companions.
Stage 2: Training Application Pack is completed.
Stage 3: Training Part 1: Two day training workshop.
Stage 4: Training Part 2: Reconnector Session 4-6 weeks later. 2½ – 3 hours.
At this point a certificate of attendance at the training is given.
Stage 5: Implementation of programme with a small group.
During this process the Companion must complete an evaluation of each session, and evaluations by the participants must be completed at the end of the programme. It would also be of value to have parents complete a simple evaluation. All these evaluations are then sent to the Training Officer.
Full Certification will be awarded on completion of all requirements .
Please note: In order to maintain accreditation, trained companions must attend an Annual Reconnector Session. This is a minimum of a half day’s training input.
Contact Seasons for Growth National Office by email: email@example.com