Honoring Grief—Intending to Heal: A Training Program for Companioning the Bereaved

Five Saturdays: January 13, February 24, March 16, April 13, and May 18, 2024
Facilitator(s): Cat Horzewski, Daryl Powers, Kathleen Cullen Ritter, Melissa Minkley, MSW, CT


Honoring Grief Intending To Heal (400 × 250 Px)


This five-session series is for those who wish to companion the bereaved or are already doing so in various capacities and want to hone their skills. The art of supporting those who grieve life’s losses is deceptively simple, but many who support the bereaved discover a challenge of
imbalanced approach of head, heart, and persistence. Often the best approach feels counter-intuitive, counter-intellectual and even counter-western culture.

In this training, we explore the ‘Three-Legged Stool,’ a natural and balanced approach to companioning the bereaved along with compassionate approaches to guiding the bereaved towards purposeful and intentional healing.

At the completion of this five-session training, participants will:

  • understand grief, the grief process and its significance to healing life’s losses
  • understand the main components of the ‘Three-legged Stool’ approach to supporting the bereaved
  • understand the companioning philosophy with sensitivity to serving differing ages, cultures, ethnicities and spiritual backgrounds
  • learn compassionate approaches to help guide the bereaved effectively through their grief
  • learn specific methods to help the bereaved identify and overcome roadblocks to healing life’s losses
  • learn ways to nurture and cultivate resiliency in the bereaved to enhance their capacity to endure their grief reactions and honor their unique mourning style.

The gatherings will include presentation and educational activities, small and large group interaction, meditation and griever-friendly rituals, opportunities to practice skills and opportunities for personal integration. Participants will receive four grief related books and practical handouts.

Certification of completion of 40 Continuing Education Hours (4 CEUs) is available upon request for an additional $25 fee.

Program requirements include attendance at all five Saturday gatherings, a period of 1.5 years since a significant loss (preferred) and reading and reflection before sessions.

Registration and Application Process:
1. Complete and submit the registration form.
2. Once your registration is received, you will be emailed a biographical application form which is required to be completed and submitted for review by the training program team.
3. You will be notified regarding your acceptance into the program and mailed the assignment for the initial gathering. Once accepted, an online invoice will be sent for payment. 

Registration is due by Tuesday, December 26, 2023.

Five Saturdays: January 13, February 24, March 16, April 13, and May 18, 2024
8:30am – 4:30pm
Cost: $675 (includes five training days, noon meals, four books, handouts and materials)
Please add $25 for CEUs.
Led by Grief Support Training Team

You can register online by clicking the register button above, by calling the front desk at 262-898-2590 with a credit card number, or by mailing a check made out to Siena Retreat Center.”

See our Frequently Asked Questions page for our cancellation policies and other helpful information.

About the Facilitators

Cat Horzewski

Cat Horzewski is involved in suicide prevention and bereavement facilitation in the Greater Milwaukee area. With over 15 years of experience serving youth and families through the nonprofit sector, she is pursuing her Masters in Thanatology through Marian University.

Daryl Powers

Daryl Powers founded The Grief Training Center of Wisconsin and is the author of The Lies Cancer Told Me: A Journey Toward Truth. He is a graduate of Marquette University and spent more than 20 years supporting nationally known companies, while building corporate teams and raising his family.

Kathleen Cullen Ritter

Kathleen Cullen Ritter is the founder of Grief Grit Gratitude and serves as a grief coach helping the bereaved find new meaning and learn to live again after loss. She has over 11 years’ experience assisting schools, faith communities, and companies respond to grief and loss in their organizations.

Melissa Minkley, MSW, CT

Melissa Minkley, MSW, CT, is the Program Director of the Grief Training Center of Wisconsin and is a social worker with over 25 years of experience in psychosocial oncology and bereavement counseling. She is the Executive Director of Healing Hearts of Waukesha County, a program supporting children and families impacted by loss. Her personal experience of loss has given Melissa insight into the impact of grief on one’s life.