You may think that joining a grief recovery or bereavement support group may not be for you or you may be worried that it’s not the right time or place for you to participate with others in such a private journey. The truth is that everyone I know who has ever participated in a group program has only positive things to say about the experience. Comments like: ” I was anxious at first, but so glad I stayed”, ” It was so good to hear others talk … and realize I’m not alone”, “I finally found myself again”, ” I felt safe in the group and Lynne helped me feel comfortable sharing,” “I learned that my ‘crazy’s were normal, what a relief”, I’m using my coping tools and they work,” I didn’t realize how isolated I had been.” No regrets and so many benefits. At the same time, you probably have lots of questions so I’ll try and answer some of them….
Q. What if I don’t want to talk about it?
A. It’s really easy to just stay quiet and listen and observe. One of the first things we establish when we meet is how important it is for each person to be safe and comfortable. No pressure to do or say anything at all.
Q. I can hardly stand to be with even a few others right now. How big is the group?
The group is small, usually between 4 and 8 participants. And most importantly, as facilitator, I have interviewed everyone so am aware of individual needs and sensitivities.
Q. What if it’s too soon for me to take part in a group?
A. During our interview I will be able to discern if your loss is too recent or your feelings too intense for you to be able to stay a part of the group or get much from being there. Generally speaking, it will be easier for you if the loss has occurred at least 6 months to a year ago and if you have already worked on your recovery with the help of a counsellor or others. Sometimes It will be best for you to do one-on-one work before joining a group.
Q. What if it happened long ago. Is it too late for me to deal with my grief now?
A. Actually, it’s never too late. You may have lost your parents in a car accident, or your child to sudden illness or suicide many years ago. If you have not had the opportunity to focus on that loss and process the complex effects of unresolved grief, then the effects are the same for you as if it happened yesterday. You are probably being triggered one way or another every time your memory is jogged.
Q. What goes on in the group? Is it like a lecture, or a self-help workshop, or group therapy?
A. In our two hours together, you may get a taste of all three. I start with an overall plan for our 5-6 weeks together with a topic for each week. I share and discuss this with the group and then adapt it each week to best suit the needs of your particular group. Typically we will have a balance of a) learning about a principle such as “grief bursts”, b) practicing skills to cope with that, and c) sharing our experiences. Because of my eclectic background you will be presented with a wide range of knowledge and tools to choose from to heal your mind, body and spirit.
Q. How much does it cost? Do I have to pay up front and what if I want to withdraw?
A. My group programs run about $30 per week, payable in advance. If this makes it difficult for you, then just speak to me about what would work for you and we will make a plan. My policy is that healing and recovery work must never be blocked by lack of money. Also, I am happy to make a full , no-questions-asked refund within 7 days of the start of any program.
Q. I’m afraid that it might stir things up too much for me. What if I go home and have to deal with a week of turmoil?
A. Please be assured that you will have my support 24/7. This is another policy that I put in place long ago and I find it has worked very well for both group participants and individual clients. I welcome emails with questions and concerns, and will answer them usually within hours. If you should be in distress, you only have to text me to arrange a phone call and I will usually be able to help you through it within 20 minutes. I can be reached 24/7.
Q. I have a lot of stuff to deal with and my grief issues are complicated. Are you equipped to cope with my multiple problems?
I have a lot of experience with grief and loss, abuse and trauma, anxiety and chronic pain and all kinds of relationship issues. It helps if I know about these before you come into a group, and I may suggest that you supplement the group work with some individual therapy sessions. Whenever I deem your problems outside of my areas of competence, then I will help you find the expertise you need.
So… those are some questions I’ve been asked before. Please let me know what others you may have. I welcome your communications.