Grief and Loss
Grief Support Groups Can Help
Grief support groups are an important part of grief counseling and healing from the loss of a loved one. Grief support groups in general are excellent opportunities for individuals to deal with issues in a setting which reaffirms the idea that they are not alone with their circumstances. In life, each of us deals with grief in its various forms. However, bereavement in particular has a sense of finality, which is can make it a bit unfair to categorize into the common stages of grief.
Grief Support Groups Play a Helpful Role
Many people dealing with grief believe they are dealing with a very personal issue that nobody else can truly understand. And this may, in fact, be true. However, seeking out the help of a grief counselor or a bereavement group can be a truly empowering and liberating experience. Some people feel a tremendous amount of personal guilt if they believe they are not feeling sad enough after the death of loved one. Others may isolate themselves and have no idea how to function and continue on with life as a result of the intense amount of grief they are feeling. Some may bury themselves in grief books searching for answers. The grieving process can be completely debilitating. Fortunately, grief support and bereavement counseling will help.
A grief support group can help create an understanding regarding the lack of, or the intensity of, the emotions created by the loss of a loved one. Support groups can also help identify how someone is feeling and reinforce the idea that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
Certain levels of support alone can help someone suffering from an episode of grief to move toward a place of hope, as well as create a new sense of what is normal in their life. Grief counseling is not about diminishing the loss of a loved one or even a pet loss. It is about the understanding that there will be a time someone will be able to look towards the future. The goal is for someone to gain the ability to honor the past, but not have to live in it. This means that grief counseling is a way to help someone in bereavement to understand that, once the shock of the loss is over, there will be a point where they will reach a new beginning. And whenever this time comes, it is normal to continue living without any sense of guilt about the past. This is not to imply that someone needs to forget about the past and always live in the present, but more to reinforce the idea that the memories of loved can play a positive role in the future of someone who is grieving.
Regardless of how the loss of a loved one can change someone’s life, there will be a time that the individual simply must continue to live. The journey and struggle to get to this stage can vary among almost everyone, but the support structure of a bereavement group is designed to provide the strength it will take to persevere. Ideally, the group should be led be an experienced and qualified grief counselor, and have members who are also dealing with somewhat similar circumstances.
Sometimes reaching beyond ones traditional and familiar support system will provide extremely powerful results. Many of us have friends and family to turn to, but perhaps others experiencing grief are better suited to relate to the issues at hand. Having said that, there will also be those who feel they have no friends or family to rely on, and this makes it even more important to seek out the support of a group with the power to help someone come to terms with the idea of moving forward.
Grief Support Groups Promote Healing
As with any type of support group, grief support groups are structured in a way to promote healing, and provide various tools for coping with loss. They provide a safe environment for individuals to make connections with others in similar situations. One of the most important things that can happen within the group dynamic is the establishment of sense of community that can validate that the emotions and reactions to the grief process are normal. Grief support groups provide the opportunity to learn new and proven methods to effectively move outside one’s own grief process, and gain a new and different perspective through the experiences of other members.
Within a grief group, individuals will engage in exercises and self exploration designed to promote both healing and personal growth. It might be too simplistic to say that people will learn to move through the five stages of grief and come out on the other side. These stages of grief are merely a blueprint of commonalities expressed during grieving. It is the group structure that can provide a direction for individuals to move towards.
Regardless of time, many people eventually choose to reach out for grief counseling or grief support group. However, it is unrealistic to expect that joining a grief support group will fully resolve a persons emotional challenges, solely as a direct result of their participation in the group. Grieving is difficult, and there is a great deal of healing work that must be done individually. But having grief support of the other members, and the counselors who lead the group, a person is very likely to begin the journey of healing and movement into a hopeful mindset…filled with happiness