Apprenticing to Grief

An immersive journey for people wanting to deepen their relationship with grief, and strengthen their capacity to hold grief spaces for others. We (Sophy and Jeremy) have run this as a 6 day residential twice; in Spring 2021 we offered it as 3 online modules.  You can see more information about us here

“..a gathering of folk dedicated to bringing back the sacred art of grieving… Reassured by the extensive knowledge and humility of the facilitators, we spent an alchemical week weaving stories, dance, laughter and tears, deepening our knowledge, finding our gifts and establishing what feels like a strong support network as we went forth. It was a week of pure soul food.

We are currently planning an in-person residential in October 2021 (or February 2022). The next on-line programme will be in 2022.

Our intention

The intention of bringing this workshop at this time is to share our learnings around holding grief spaces, and to help support and resource others that are stepping towards this work.

We recognise that we are still learning – and we see that more and more people seem to be drawn to the work – to hold spaces for grief as well as to participate in them. In a land where we have lost the role of elders and many other helpful traditions we are feeling our way towards forms and practices that can be both accessible and effective. So we are happy to share our understandings, hoping they can benefit others, honouring our teachers who have helped us to grow in this work, and knowing we will learn together when we gather a group around this intention.

Practical information – in person

We’re exploring offering the in person 6 day residential in October 2021. If you’re interested in joining this – or later – you can let us know your availability using this form.

Cost: Sliding scale from £420 – £680, includes food and accommodation as well as all teaching costs. Some bursary places available.

Venue: likely to be at High Heathercombe, high on wild Dartmoor, Devon.

See below for details of how to apply.

What you can expect from us

Residential: Six day programme with accommodation, food, and a teaching / support team.

On line: Three modules using Zoom, usually not more than 41/2  hours screen time per day. There will be resources and practices to work with off line both during and between modules.

We will explore how to open pathways into the landscape of grief, hold space there, and guide the journey back, integrating our experience so we can go forward in our lives in a good way.

“Sophy and Jeremy together share a deep passion for healing our relationship to nature and each other and skillfully created a communal space for us to approach grief with a slow gentleness. Going home, I feel more capable of serving my community in kind, inviting people to a monthly gathering where we can grieve together, and recognize our shared love of life.”
The workshop includes:
  • Looking at the elements of a safe, held and deep journey into and back from grief. This includes –
      • Welcoming and creating trust in a group and building the “banks of the river” – calling in resources that we can return to
      • Introducing grief in ways that are inclusive and respectful
      • Practices to stir and express grief
      • Integration and soothing; making meaning and harvesting insights from grief tending
      • Reconnecting to resources and supporting people to leave in good shape for the return to their lives
  • Sharing different practices and philosophies around grief, trauma and healing; exploring the relationship between cultural norms of avoiding feeling pain; creating systems of harm and oppression; a system which is destroying the living web of life. Acknowledging we have different identities, spiritual beliefs, if any, and cultural contexts which affect how we step towards this work.
  • Reflecting on how we deepen into our own grief, and how this supports us to work with others – understanding that whatever we cannot face or facilitate in ourselves we are unlikely to be able to welcome or facilitate for others.
  • Looking at skills of facilitation – reflecting on how we can continue to develop and hone these skills
  • Recognising that this can be challenging and difficult territory, we will look together at creating ethical and robust practices
  • Exploring how we each strengthen the skillset we need to be competent, skilled and ethical – whilst recognising that there is a deep and sometimes urgent need for this work, to which we are responding.
  • Times for participants to facilitate, including a full grief journey held by the group; self, peer and tutor feedback
  • Building a network or community of practice if the group chooses to do this
  • We will explore how the intention shapes the work – for example, that Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects has a different purpose and evoke a different response to holding a general Grief tending event.

If there is time and / or desire we may also include:

  • Creating a ceremony to strengthen connection to ancestors and the beyond human
  • Exploring sources of grief that are particularly present in these times – including issues such as increasing social inequality, accelerating environmental degradation, polarisation and more. How are we in relationship to this information ourselves, and how do we include this in ways which are responsible and ethical?
  • Thinking about structuring, promoting and delivering an event

It’s a lot!

“Like the best grief rituals, we were guided gently, to give attention to our tender places through experience, ritual and community, and welcomed back to everyday life immensely enriched and inspired.”
What we expect from you
  • To attend the whole course, unless you have an agreement with us otherwise
  • That you are in some process of inner exploration, including ways of tending your own grief
  • That you have attended at least one Grief Tending workshop with us, preferably longer than one day, so you have a sense of our work and approach.
  • That you are resourced and supported so you can participate in and help to hold processes that invite the sharing of feelings, vulnerability and self exploration with others.
  • That you have experience of holding others either in one to one or group settings
  • To prepare and facilitate part of the grief journey, working with others in the group
  • To take responsibility for the other aspects of holding grief work that are needed for you to be a safe and competent facilitator before you hold others in this work (including facilitation skills, working with others at depth and holding people as trauma surfaces)
  • On line journey: to do some work in between on line sessions, during and between the modules individually, and in learning groups
This is NOT a training

We want to be clear that we are not offering a training in “becoming a grief facilitator”, nor in facilitation, in holding people at depth, or in working with trauma. We have both completed professional trainings in counselling / therapy, as well as having many years of experience holding groups and individuals in deep work in a variety of contexts. When working with grief we are likely to touch wounded places, including trauma. We see that facilitators of grief spaces need to have skills in group facilitation, working at depth, and meeting trauma. Whilst we can touch on these themes during the workshop it’s your responsibility to equip yourself to work safely with people in any contexts you are offering.

To apply for Apprenticing to grief 2021

We ask that you have attended at least one Grief tending workshop with us before applying, preferably longer than 1 day. There are up-coming opportunities for this on our Events page. If you aren’t able to attend something run by Sophy and/or Jeremy and would like to apply to the Apprenticing programme please contact us.

We’ll confirm dates soon.

Cost is on a sliding scale from £420 – £680, including food, accommodation and all teaching . If this is unaffordable for you please do get in touch with us.

To apply please complete the on line Application form. When we confirm that you have a place we will ask for your deposit of £75 to secure your place.