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5 Benefits of Grief and Bereavement Support Groups

“Why don’t you check out a grief support group,” is often offered as a suggestion to people after the loss of a loved one. And it’s not a bad suggestion. Grief and bereavement support groups offer many benefits to participants.

Grief support groups come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are specific to a type of loss or tragedy. They can be less specific, as well. Sometimes sessions are led by a licensed therapist or counselor, or by a religious leader. Sometimes a trained volunteer leads the group. Regardless, the loss of a loved one is the shared experience that brings the group together. Here are five benefits of a grief support group:

  1. Provides Hope
    Grief is a journey, with detours and straightaways, starts and stops. While no two experiences are the same, there is a shared experience of loss. Gathering in a group allows people who are early in their journey to connect with those who are much further along. Meeting with and talking to others who have experienced a similar loss shows that it’s possible to feel joy again. For those further along in their healing process, sharing such reassurance can provide important affirmation to themselves, and confirm that the group is a helpful resource for others.
  1. You are not alone.
    Perhaps the biggest benefit of a grief support group is the reminder that you are not alone. Grieving can be terribly lonely and isolating, especially when everyone around you seems to be “getting on with their lives.” By attending a support group, you may find that other people have experiences, feelings and struggles that are similar to your own. When your grief is overwhelming, the support group community says, “We’ve been there. We understand you.” This is a powerful statement at a critical time.
  1. A Different Perspective
    As we mentioned above – and cannot reiterate enough – no two grieving journeys are the same. However, those who have experienced a similar loss may have valuable advice and suggestions, critical insights, or a different outlook to share. By listening and learning, you may come away with some useful perspectives to help you move along on your grief journey.
  1. Giving Back
    Giving back to others grounds people with a sense of purpose and meaning. This altruism can serve as a helpful tool in the healing process. When you participate in a grief support group, you’ll receive advice, but you also share your story and inspire others, too. Often we don’t realize how far along on our own journey we truly are until we guide and support someone on her or his journey.
  1. A Sense of Belonging
    We, as humans, have an innate need to belong, to be part of a tribe or group. This survival instinct has served us well for thousands of years. Indeed, studies show that a sense of belonging can contribute to our overall happiness. Following a loss, you may feel alone or left out, and different than others because of your grief. Finding a group that understands and accepts you can be an important step in your healing. No one wants to be in the grief club, but once you’re in the club, you may find comfort in surrounding yourself with other members.

At Cypress Hospice, we want each of our patients and their loved ones to know that no matter what happens during an end of life situation, they are not alone and they have a hand to hold. That’s why we provide grief support services both during a patient’s time with us, as well as for one year after a patient passes.

Learn more about Cypress Hospice and the grief and loss support we provide.

  • Mark Finch says:

    Your article about the benefits of grief counseling is very informative. I agree that support groups help in gaining a different perspective on the process of healing. As people cope differently, participating in council can help a person gain different views on different outlook shared by others. I’d personally recommend counseling to those who go through bereavement on their own.

  • Kourtney Jensen says:

    I really like how you pointed out that with grievance support, you aren’t alone in that difficult time. I remember in high school, a boy passed away at our school, and the school gave the students access to counselors where they could all talk about the situation. It’s good to know that different kinds of these groups are available to us in such hard times in order to understand and come to terms with our feelings.

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