FAQ About The Program

Is the organization accredited in some way? In what ways is the certificate earned from it helpful to graduates?

The Core Program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers, Maryland Chapter for Continuing Education Units – Category I for Social Workers. Up to 53 CEUs are available for completion of the complete Core Program. However the program is not accredited by an educational institution and does not grant certification that would qualify graduates for professional licensure.

How is the organization funded?

The organization is funded primarily through private donations and program tuition. At times hospice organizations have supported us by granting partial or full scholarships for staff and volunteers who wish to attend.

 How many people enroll in the year-long program in a given year?

We typically accept between 20 to 26 people into our program.  We limit class size  based partly on facility size but mostly to encourage a sense of community, trust, and open sharing among participants. To date the highest total number of enrolled participants in one year was 35.

Why does the learning take 10 months? What outcomes do you expect from students who complete it?

The program is meant to be formative as well as informative. Participants are challenged by experiential learning; the medium of our simple, open presence to one another in our gatherings becomes the program’s message as we companion others in their dying and integrate this learning into our lives. In our experience, both with this program and similar programs which we have directed, all of this takes time and it may take years before the seeds planted in the program take root and flower into desired outcomes.

Some specific hoped-for outcomes are:

  • A deepening presence to oneself and others in suffering and loss;
  • A growing familiarity with one’s core beliefs and a capacity to be with another without the need to change or “fix” them;
  • A growing appreciation for the need for self-care and ways of  attending to this, including the cultivation of a community of allies in this ministry.
  • The cultivation of practices that might assist all of the above.

I currently am a staff member with a large hospice. May I use that experience as the basis of my learning?

You, the participant, would be the best judge as to whether your current position with the hospice would be appropriate for this learning. You might find it more helpful to do your companioning with another facility or organization where you can avoid any role confusion. Your learning might be better served engaging new, unfamiliar ground where you are not locked into a particular way of relating to staff and patients.

 I lead bereavement support groups and serve as an end-of-life doula and have done so for 6 years. Is the program appropriate for me? How might you expect it to improve/ enrich my work?

The program might be very appropriate for you if you think you may be able to drop what you think you know and enter with a “beginner’s mind.” It is hard to predict how the program might improve/enrich your work where you are. It may simply deepen what you are already about and/or offer new ways of seeing and being present to life as you are.

Are the program locations accessible by public transportation?

Public transportation is accessible for the Opening and Closing meetings (Location TBD) using both Metro and Montgomery County Ride-On bus transportation.  There is no public transportation to the Blue Mountain Retreat Center.  Carpools can be arranged.