Grief support groups can be a wonderful, therapeutic way to find outside support, connect with others who will understand what you’re experiencing, and learn about new coping strategies as you work through your grief.
When led by qualified licensed professionals, online grief support groups, in particular, can be a great way to stay emotionally connected through technology. Depending on the group size and engagement, you may be sharing stories, discussing ways to cope and heal from your loss, while finding ways to support others in the group as well.
So, how do you know which grief support group is right for you? Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
How Are You Feeling Emotionally?
A great place to start is with YOU. Are you feeling it’s time to find a safe space to share with others who will understand? Or are you feeling emotionally prepared to engage in dialogue with others about their losses or are you feeling quite closed off or removed from society right now? In either case, it may be the right time to seek outside support. Only you can answer this question.
How About The Size?
Support groups come in all sizes, of course. So it’s important to know what feels the most comfortable for you at this time. I find that smaller groups of about 4-6 people allow for everyone to have time to share if they want to. Larger groups may allow you to take more of an observational backseat to the larger goings-on of the group.
Would You Prefer a Specialist Lead The Group?
Even if you’ve never sought counseling or therapy before, it’s important to know if you’d prefer the group leader to be an expert in the field of grief. There are many different types of counselors and therapists out there, among them being those who specialize in grief and loss! This versus those who may be simply congregating to support each other, without a qualified person leading the way. So, if this is important to you then it can also serve as a great way to narrow down your search.
How Often Do You Want to Meet?
This is where you may find the most variety in groups. Some may gather on a rolling, join-when-you-can basis, while others may have more structure and have, say, 6 consecutive weeks, once per week, down for the meetings. So ask yourself, would consistent guided support be best, or would you prefer to pop-in whenever?
What’s It Worth?
The great thing about group support is that it’s typically more affordable than one-on-one therapy or counseling sessions. If you’re on a tight budget but know that you still need help, groups can be a great place to get started. The casual, meet-whenever, led by others who are also grieving versus licensed professional types of groups, maybe free to join.
What Are Your Expectations?
The last thing worth considering is your expectations. Are you seeking an environment that will allow you to sit quietly and observe, or are you needing something more interactive? Are you seeking healing through helping others, support from those who ‘get it,’ and/or are you wanting to make new friends with shared experiences? Or are you pushing yourself into a new, uncomfortable space because you know you need to? It’s time to get real honest with yourself on this one. The more clarity you have around what you want from a grief support group experience will help you find the right one for you.
Are you seeking a small, virtual Grief Support Group run by a licensed professional counselor? See my schedule HERE to learn more.
Photo credit: Nappy.co, CreateHERStock