Bereavement seminar draws capacity attendance

By - Monday 27th April, 2015

A press release from local funeral directors, Rowland Brothers, reports on the information on grief and bereavement shared at a seminar held on Tuesday 21st April in West Croydon.

Release begins: A capacity audience of more than 100 attended a bereavement seminar at Jurys Inn Hotel, Croydon, organised by Croydon funeral directors Rowland Brothers and A & J Morriss & Sons. They included professional bereavement practitioners, such as social workers, care home staff and police family liaison officers, and volunteers from local counselling groups and churches.

The seminar, one of a series titled ‘The Grief Journey’, was presented by internationally renowned bereavement specialist, Dr Bill Webster, a Scottish-born Canadian, author of 10 books on grief counselling.

In four sessions spread over a full day, Dr Webster tackled the various stages of grief, the difference between grief and mourning, what you can do and say when you feel there is nothing you can do or say, and recognising the signs of stress in yourself caused by sharing the grief of others, and what can be done to mitigate this.

Rowland Brothers, a family-run independent company operating in the Croydon area since 1873, organises such sessions as part of its desire to be of service to the local community. Its ongoing personalised support service to the families of people whose funerals are conducted by the company has set the standard in this field, and a dedicated team regularly visits nursing and care homes and churches of all denominations in the borough and surrounding areas, all at no charge.

Actively engaging the enthusiastic participation of those attending the seminar, Dr Webster went into the subject of grief and mourning in depth, but also skilfully focused the important messages in easily understood phrases. He spoke of the virtual ‘conspiracy of silence’ surrounding death in present-day culture, and explained how grieving cannot be helped by a one-size-fits-all neat package, but is inevitably ‘messy’ emotionally, given that it is a uniquely personal process.

Grief and loss, he said, are not purely the result of the death of a person, but also the ending of such things as a relationship, marriage, career or good health. The principles of helping those affected are the same.

Family and friends, he said, are sometimes at a loss for words at such times, but the truth is that if you understand the ‘why’ of how a person is feeling, the ‘what to do’ will take care of itself. There is, he said, ‘a reason behind every reaction’.

The aim, he said, is not to enable people to ‘get back to normal’ but to redefine their ‘new normal’ in the light of what has happened, and enable them to make the most of what they have left.

Above all, said Dr Webster, it is important to allow the bereaved person to talk: ‘That which cannot be put into words cannot be put to rest.’ The caregiver’s job is not to do the work of others, but to help others to figure out how to do it themselves.

Concluding with helpful advice to carers and counsellors who find themselves overwhelmingly stressed by sharing the grief of others – described variously as compassion fatigue, bereavement overload or burnout – Dr Webster outlined warning signs to look out for, and ways of addressing the situation.

Certificates of attendance were given to every delegate who attended the seminar.

Release ends.

Release sender: Rowland Brothers.



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  • Anne Giles

    I wish I had known about this.

  • Steve Rowland

    It’s run every year if you want to know more pls contact Gary Bruce at Rowland Brothers hq on 020 8684 1677