St. Anthony's Compassionate Care Companions Receive 80 Hours of Performance-Based Training

Our Compassionate Care Companions help clients change, grow and heal.

Compassionate Care Companions (C3) come from varied backgrounds and professional disciplines. They are chosen to reflect the diversity of our clientele. Their training consists of 80 hours that includes intense classroom work that involves study, discussion, research, and role-play. Training is multidisciplinary, comprised of teachings from various spiritual/religious disciplines, health practices and research. The core of the training is in deep listening and self-awareness. Included in the 80 hours is a 20-hour Practicum working with the Program Director as trainees make client visits and observe interactions with clients.

As part of their training, Compassionate Care Companions are also required to complete 10 hours of in-service education each year to keep current on the latest studies.

The combined study of classroom and Practicum teaches the Companions how to not only listen with their ears, but with their hearts and bodies. Interaction among the trainees and clients allows them to practice that level of deep listening and response.

Each Companion is assigned a roster of clients and make appointments for their first visit at which they will assess the various components that comprise the client's situation, issues and needs. They prepare a plan for regular visits, which may be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, depending on the client's wishes and schedule. At these visits the client and Companion may talk about various topics, leading to an opening that allows the client to share his or her innermost feelings. Feelings they may be reluctant to share with family, friends or medical personnel for various reasons.

Thich Nhat Hanh, nobel prize nominee, Buddhist Monk and St. Anthony's Caring Foundation share a fundamental perspective. He describes the type of work done by C3 Companions this way:

"Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart. Even if he says things that are full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you are still capable of continuing to listen with compassion. Because you know that listening like that, you give that person a chance to suffer less. If you want to help him to correct his perception, you wait for another time. For now, you don't interrupt. You don't argue. If you do, he loses his chance. You just listen with compassion and help him to suffer less. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing."