Bereavement Accompaniment Training Logo


Faith-based organisations have long traditions of supporting the bereaved and are a significant part of the community support system. This course is intended to use the Irish bereavement community strategy (i.e. the Bereavement Pyramid Model) and the healthcare chaplaincy example of non-sectarian approach to spirituality to add additional relevancy and effectiveness to existing faith-based bereavement ministries.   

Primarily, the course is intended to help those who come in contact with the bereaved to be more comfortable in themselves and more helpful to the bereaved. By achieving both of those thing, the students will be more effective in their faith-based ministries. This course is also useful for secular bereavement helpers who want to be more sensitive to the spiritual dimension of bereavement as it relates to the bereavers they support.

This course is not designed to make the students grief counsellors. However, it might, for some, be a good introduction and generate an interest to go on to acquire that training.

Learning Objectives

This course is intended to make students more aware of:

  • the dynamics of grieving
  • how grief is experienced by bereavers
  • how bereavers’ grief impacts helpers as well and the related need for self-care
  • the special role of faith -based bereavement ministries
  • the bereavement support eco-system as laid out in the Bereavement Pyramid Model

More comfortable with:

  • Simple accompaniment (i.e. compassionate listening) of the bereaved
  • Accessing and sharing sources for information about bereavement
  • Referring bereavers to sources of additional bereavement help
  • Managing their own self-care

More effective in their:

  • Interactions with the bereaved in their current role in their faith-based bereavement ministry
  • Interactions with a diverse community of bereavers
  • Role in the larger bereavement support ecosystem 

Intended Audience

This course is intended for adults whose occupations or voluntary roles bring them into contact with bereaving individuals. The nature of that contact would be one where the person could potentially be a helper and have the opportunity to provide to level of non-clinical compassionate and informed support to the bereaving individual and provide additional assistance to signpost a believed individual to an appropriate source for additional support.

Examples of this include:

  • Workers and volunteers in death-related industries and professions. This includes such diverse individuals as those who work in the funeral industry as well as clergy and lay people working in faith-based ministries.That person may be a musician playing the organ at funerals. It could be someone who coordinates meals at memorial services. It could be an usher who escorts bereavers to their seats in  house of worship. It can also be the person who takes the call to arrange the schedule for memorial services. In short, it can be anyone in a helping role who comes into contact, even casual contact, with bereavers.
  • Healthcare, allied healthcare, and other front-line workers who, while they do not perform grief counselling as a routine part of their job, still come into contact with clients who may be grieving. 

Course Outline

Week 1:

  • Module 1A – Introduction (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Module 1B – Faith Communities and Bereavement (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Module 1C – The Bereavement Pyramid Model (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Group Session 1 (Facilitated Discussion)

Week 2:

  • Module 2A – Bereavement Basics (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Module 2B – A Chaplaincy Approach to Bereavement Ministry (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Group Session 2 (Facilitated Discussion)

Week 3:

  • Module 3A – Self-Care for Bereavement Ministry (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Module 3B – Resources (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Module 3C – Wrap Up (Self-Paced, On-Line)
  • Group Session 3 (Facilitated Discussion)


See: Our Team


This course has been accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (Ireland) Ltd.

ACPE Ireland Logo

Development Support

The development of this course was made possible by the generous support of:

Irish Hospice Foundation Logo
Bon Secours Foundation Logo