How to Start a Grief Support Group in Conjunction With Professional Therapists

How to Start a Grief Support Group in Conjunction With Professional Therapists

In order to create a successful grief support group, you need first to familiarize yourself with certain fundamentals.

It might be intimidating to lead a support group for people who have experienced loss, even if you work in the mental health field.

Starting a grief support group could be downright daunting, especially if you're not a trained professional and have no prior group facilitation expertise.

Because of this, it is highly recommended that anyone aiming to start a grief support group should do so in collaboration with professional therapists.

Before you start a grief support group, the first step is to plan your group.

At this stage, you decide on the vision of the support group, as well as certain specifics like the scope and duration of the group.

The initial stage forms the foundation or background of the support group.

Determine the format of the group.

This is where you decide whether it will be an open group or a closed group, as well as whether it will be virtual or in-person.

Also, consider who will facilitate the meetings.

Some people start up such support groups with the aim to facilitate it themselves if they have the experience required.

On the other hand, others may decide to partner with companies that have professional therapists and have them facilitate these meetings instead.

Read on to learn more about ways to start a grief support group.

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Janelle Wagenknecht, MA, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(720) 710-0919
Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Rebecca Johnson, LPCC, NCC

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Amber Chambless, LPC

Amber Chambless, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Naomi Kettner, LPC, NCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121

Plan Your Group 

Identifying your motivation for starting a grief support group is the first step.

Think about why you're making this choice and what factors contributed to your thinking.

Keep in mind that you should start a grief support group just to meet your personal needs.

Nonetheless, you are in a position to utilize your knowledge, skills, and experiences to comfort others who are grieving.

Also, while you plan the group, it is crucial to determine details like the scope and duration of the meetings.

How many people you wish to provide grief support to is a key factor in determining your group's scope.

If you don't limit the number of people you're willing to aid, your support group might end up being too big to accomplish anything effectively.

The time commitment involved in starting a grief support group is a significant consideration.

In order to better organize your group's time together, it may be helpful to set a specific beginning and ending date.

Determine the Frequency of the Group's Meetings 

The frequency of your group's meetings should also be carefully considered when planning to start a grief support group.

Consider if you plan to make it a regular weekly event, either in person or virtually.

Also, when working in conjunction with a professional therapist, ensure you both work together to determine availability for them to be present at the meeting.

Also, consider if you are thinking along the lines of including an open, permanent online community for bereaved people.

Determine how frequently you'd want to meet after determining how much time you can devote to organizing the group.

Find the Suitable Format 

The decision on the format of the support group will likely be dependent on the scope and vision of the support group.

If you are unclear about how to go about picking, you may contact professional therapists since they can assist you in choosing a proper format.

Support groups come into two categories: open and closed groups.

An open group comes with no attendance obligation and doesn't have a set start or finish.

These meetings enable members to jump in at any moment and include individuals at varying stages of bereavement.

Closed, time-limited groups are normally conducted for a certain number of sessions.

Participants are required to attend the initial session and cannot join the group part-way through.

This may have the advantage of creating trust between individuals within a short length of time and avoids concerns of reliance.

The group may have a maximum number of members defined in advance.

Both group models may include scheduled activities like inviting guest therapists from time to time, completing in-group homework or watching films, etc.

Either style of a group might also be unstructured, where the facilitator invites members to discuss whatever subject is on their mind that day.

Ensure the Facilitators are Professionals 

Professionals with the right kind of training are the suitable choice of facilitators for bereavement support groups.

However, volunteers who have expertise in providing one-on-one assistance to persons or who have personal experience may also be considered.

When starting a grief support group, it's important to consider the sort of aid being provided so as to choose the most suitable kind of facilitator.

The grief support group's facilitators should have relevant professional experience and expertise in the field.

Additional training for facilitators, both in group facilitation and in bereavement, should also be considered along the line.

Find a Location 

You may already have a location provided by your organization or whatever company you may decide to partner with, or you may need to scout one out.

Either way, there has to be enough parking space, clear directions for people who need wheelchairs, and sufficient lighting.

It should also include comfortable, moveable seats, preferably with back support.

Take into account the need for privacy/confidentiality; there shouldn't be distractions, or at least little distracting noise from other areas of the building.

The room's temperature and lighting should be flexible, and there should be whiteboards or flip charts available for use.

Supplemental tables and/or storage tables should be included as well as the means to access break refreshments when needed.

Conclusion

Those who have lost loved ones need grief support.

Group support is an effective way for people to come together and support each other in a trusted environment.

You can start a grief support group by planning your group, determining the frequency of

group meetings, finding your format, deciding on who will facilitate the group, and finding a location. 

Resources 

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July 14th, 2024

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