What to Know Before Joining a Grief Support Group
A grief support group provides a different quality of connection and care that emanates from being with individuals who have recently lost a loved one. Grief support groups offer validation, emotional support, and education about grief. Before joining any group, there are things you should know like explained below.
When in a grief support group, you should expect to have a safe environment where you can tell your story and freely express how you feel, knowing the rest will be supportive, non-judgmental, and understanding. Also, you can establish connections with others to reduce the isolation accompanying grief, understand common myths concerning grief, and normal grief patterns, learn from others through sharing grief stories, and learn many natural and acceptable ways of grieving. You can also learn new coping skills, stress management skills, daily survival skills, and relaxation techniques other members have found effective.
A grief support group can be a place for you to gather articles, reading lists, and poetry to further your awareness of the several aspects of grief. Besides, they provide an opportunity for personal journaling and/or writing that enhances self-examination and urges exploration of the several aspects of loss over time. Moreover, you can present new or ongoing concerns, report on challenges or progress, and safely go back for help when you experience backslides or setbacks in your grief journey.
Grief support groups increase to be considered as an effective way of promoting healing through support and education after the death of a close friend or a loved one. Grief support group members report a positive impact coming from the psycho-educational elements of groups as well as the haven setting the groups to offer for people to express themselves emotionally and release feelings.
There are many shapes and sizes of grief support groups. Group members may desire to have narrowly defined groups in which every member has had a loss of the same kind, for example, child, sibling, spouse, parent, and more. Comfort levels may increase if people suffer the same loss but this is not a requirement for a successful grief support group. Traumatic losses like loss of a kid are generally better served in grief support groups where every member share loss of the same type. Age separation is crucial because most of the issues members face are influenced by their position in the life cycle.
There are many instances in which you can benefit from a grief support group. For example, if you lack support among your close friends or family, or feel geographically remote or isolated from close allies. Secondly, if you are grieving for the first time and need to learn about typical grief patterns. Thirdly, you may like to talk about your grief with people experiencing similar emotions.
However, there are circumstances under which you are discouraged from joining a grief support group. In case your loss is recent, you may lack the energy needed to participate in a group; focus on the basics like eating regular meals, drinking water, and getting enough sleep. If you are experiencing active addiction, have mental health concerns or trauma, talk to a grief counselor before joining a group. Avoid groups that say there is a specific way to grief or counters your values.