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Why it’s important to have grief support groups

Why it’s important to have grief support groups

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2008 10:15 pm

Grief support groups have provided help for many bereaved people during their personal journey through the dark valley of grief.
Members of these groups receive important and practical information about grief and the grief process: how to cope with grief, how to release grief instead of repressing it, the difficulties bereaved people encounter as they attempt to move forward with their lives and suggestions on how they can rebuild their lives. Members have an opportunity to form supportive relationships with other bereaved people and to openly discuss their grief in an environment in which they feel safe and secure and find understanding, acceptance, support, love and encouragement.  Participants know and appreciate the pain and suffering other people in the group are experiencing. Each person also has the opportunity to share ideas about things that have been helpful. Many deep and lasting friendships have been formed in such groups. 
In addition to general grief support groups, there are specialized groups that focus on specific types of loss such as the death of a spouse, child, parent or sibling; or death by suicide, homicide, cancer, heart attack, stroke, AIDS, accident or military action, etc. Guest speakers may include people who have expertise in the specific areas of concern.
Because members of grief support groups understand the importance of keeping confidences, they are free to discuss sensitive issues without the fear of someone betraying their confidence. Thus, confidentiality is essential if bereaved people are to experience healing and if the group is to maintain its integrity.
The Internet provides countless opportunities for bereaved people to get helpful information about grief and to contact various organizations and institutions regarding specific types of grief and grief support groups. A number of national and international support organizations offer periodic teleconference meetings. Many universities now offer courses in grief over the Internet. If one does not own a personal computer, they may access the Internet through public libraries.
Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is www.shackelfordfuneraldirectors.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.18.08

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