The Value Of Self-Help Groups Posted January 24, 2014 by bfocornwall

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Self-help groups bring people together who share a common experience or problem and provide a safe place where members can talk about their loss, share their story, and express their grief. Through the self-help process, they no longer feel alone or unique. They feel hopeful as they see how others have coped, and learn about their grief as a normal response to loss.

Members find a comforting network of caring people building trust and relationships. The real benefit of self-help lies in the principle that as we help others, we help ourselves.

Grief crosses all boundaries. Among people who are suffering the loss of loved ones, barriers come down. People unknown to one another before are no longer strangers. To be among others who are sharing a similar loss – to learn from others about the process of grief and to hear from them the ways in which their lives could be made less troublesome or painful is a great gift. Other survivors who have gone before have tremendous knowledge, support, and comfort to share, and we will benefit by being open and receptive.

Facilitation of Bereaved Families of Ontario – Cornwall support groups is provided by trained bereaved volunteers. These individuals lend personal experience as well as encouragement to participants. In a grief support group, the facilitator’s task is to create a safe environment that makes it easier for group members to tell their story, express their feelings, and share issues of concern. The facilitators lead by encouraging members to participate and share as openly as they can. Each session is structured so that the focus is on the group and each member, rather than on the leadership of the facilitator.

Our society offers no “practical” education in the experience of grieving and mourning. Families, friends and co-workers may be afraid of the emotion and sorrow. They may avoid the issues of grief all together thinking it best for all concerned. It is for that reason that groups are an invaluable opportunity for bereaved individuals to come together and share insights and experiences with other grieving families. They will also find support as they restore a balance to their lives and come to terms with the challenges of grief.

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