Four trainee counsellors have completed a year-long voluntary placement at Royal Trinity Hospice as part of a new initiative which has supported twenty-two bereaved friends and relatives in its first year. The group were the first cohort of trainees to be recruited to the placements at Trinity, enabling them to gain valuable experience in providing psychological support around grief and loss.

The new volunteer placement was designed to provide an opportunity for trainee counsellors to gain crucial exposure to issues around death and dying through counselling bereaved friends and relatives. All trainees were in an advanced stage of training with a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) accredited programme and had previous experience of counselling. Volunteers were provided a comprehensive induction, ongoing regular supervision and training workshops.

Chris Millwater, a trainee psychotherapist who completed the placement at Trinity, said, “I feel I have learned a lot, not only about grief and bereavement related to hospice work, but in relation to dealing with loss in general. It has been a privilege to work with the clients and I have felt so supported by every person that I have come into contact with at Trinity.”

Letizia Perna-Forrest, Head of Patient and Family Support at Trinity, said, “Working with grief and loss on a daily basis can at times be a challenge, but the skills I believe our trainees gain through this work are innumerable. This experience enables counsellors to develop experience and self-awareness that a classroom discussion could never achieve.”  

Bereavement counselling is available for close friends and families of people who died under Trinity’s care. Bereavement counselling forms part of the range of emotional and psychological support offered to patients, friends and families. Other support includes one to one and group art therapy, one to one counselling and a monthly bereavement drop-in support group.

Trinity welcomes applications from trainee and qualified counsellors on an ongoing basis. Visit our volunteer vacancies to find out more.