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Grief Support Groups

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 20 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Grief Support Groups Online Grief

Grieving is a painful and often lonely process. Many bereaved people find that while friends and family members are happy to help them initially, after a time their support systems tend to disband, with people needing to return their time and attention to other matters.

Additionally, well-meaning loved ones may not fully understand the grieving process and can expect the bereaved to heal within a few months. For many people, though, the process can take much longer.

Fortunately, those who feel the need to each out for help with the grieving process have a number of options as grief support groups are readily available most everywhere.

Helping Each Other

Sadly, grieving will be experienced by most of us at one time or another. The loss of someone dear can have an enormous impact on the lives of survivors, who are forced to reconsider their future plans without the presence of a treasured friend or relative.

Rewriting a life story can be an overwhelming task, however, and many people find themselves uncertain as to how to continue. Grief support groups can be quite helpful, with participants truly understanding the feelings that other members share, things that outsiders may not be able to relate to.

One of the most important aspects of grief support groups is the ability that members have to help one another as they help themselves. It is not uncommon for the bereaved to experience a wide variety of difficult emotions, some of which are in conflict with others. For example, survivors may be angry, sad, frightened, guilty, and relieved all at the same time and are sometimes hesitant to share their feelings with those closest to them.

In the protective and accepting setting of a support group, though, it can feel safer to honestly express the depth of despair that can accompany grief without fearing that others are judging. Typically, grief support groups are moderated by bereavement counsellors or other professionals trained to assist survivors to work through their feelings and also to recognise warning signs of severe adjustment difficulties.

Locating a Support Group

Many communities provide services for those who are grieving. Additionally, hospitals, churches, and civic organisations may host support groups or have the resources to recommend places where the bereaved can go for help.

Survivors may need to be proactive in locating groups that meet their needs, but unlike a generation ago, the value of support groups for those who are grieving is widely recognised so it is usually not difficult to find local meetings. In medium to large sized communities, especially, there may be groups designed to meet the specific needs of mourners.

For example, separate group meetings may be scheduled for those who have lost a child, those who have lost someone to cancer, and those who have experienced the sudden death of a loved one.

Online Grief Support

The internet has the ability to bring people together, even if they live continents apart. Those with common interests can form relationships from the comfort of their homes or offices, making it possible for even the busiest people to find time to connect with like-minded folks.

Online grief support groups are plentiful and a quick internet search is likely to result in a number of appropriate sources for those seeking help in working through the grieving process. Many social networking sites allow members to host groups of all varieties, including those for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, and some sites are dedicated solely to managing grief.

One word of caution: it can be difficult to verify the credentials of people online, so a healthy dose of caution is recommended. The majority of people, both online and in real life, are honest and honourable, but there are those who misrepresent themselves, which is easier to do online than it is face-to-face. As in all internet encounters, participants in online grief support groups should be careful not to disclose any information that they wouldn’t want made public.

Grief is a natural reaction to loss and many people can benefit from sharing their feelings with others who have been or are currently experiencing the same emotions. Grief support groups can provide the bereaved with valuable tools to aid in the healing process.

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