What Happens in a Grief Support Group?

One of the first things any average person will bring up when they find out you’re grieving is whether you’ve sought help.  The average person’s reaction to this question can range from the mild offense to surprise- but this feeling shouldn’t stop mourners from looking into it.  Grief support groups are a type of therapy that’s not often discussed, and because of this, it’s often left misunderstood or overlooked.

If you aren’t sure what goes into a grief support group and want to know if it’s the perfect option for you, here are the answers to the top question.

What’s A Grief Support Group?

There’s no one version of a support group that can be used as a mold for the others.  Grief support groups can meet in person, or online and sometimes are aimed towards specific mourners like widows or grieving adult children.  These groups are usually peer-created, and peer-run, although there are times when mental health professionals run these.  In these groups, mourners discuss the people they’ve lost in their lives and how they’ve handled that loss.  Through hearing other people’s stories and getting to talk about their own, it allows people to heal and bond knowing they’re not the only person hurting.

Do I have To Talk?

Although all members are encouraged to speak up, you don’t have to talk at every meeting.  Sometimes listening is more healing, so there are no rules in most groups about whether you can speak or not.  Hopefully, by hearing other people’s stories, it can inspire you to talk about your own.

Everyone heals differently, and there’s no right way to mourn, but most people talking about what you’re going through can help you process it.  Getting to be listened to, knowing that you’re understood, can help you come to terms with what you’ve gone through.

Is It Anonymous?

Although there are anonymous grief support groups, not all of them are.  If you hope to be anonymous, you can always contact groups before attending to find out what their policies are.  Most don’t have a problem with anonymity, but it’s still best to ask ahead, so you know what to expect.  There’s understandably a lot of stress and worry already on your shoulders; naturally, you’d want to avoid others knowing too much about your life because of a group.

Will They Judge Me?

Everyone in a grief support group is going through something similar to what you are.  Their relationship with who they lost may differ from who you lost, but they still had to deal with the ugly hurt and pain that grief causes.  There’s no right way to grieve; people are known to lash out and become unreasonable when losing someone important in their lives.  If you’re scared and not wanting to face possible judgment, ask to sit in on a couple of groups, and listen.  You’ll quickly find that you’re not alone, and hopefully find your voice so you can share your story.