The Benefits of Healing With Grief Support Groups

Bethesda Health | July 21, 2017

What is a Grief Support Group?

A grief support group offers a different quality of support and connection that comes from being with people who have also recently experienced a loss. Grief support groups provide emotional support, validation, and education about grief.

What can I expect during the grief support group?

Why might a grief support group be helpful?

Grief support groups are increasingly being recognized as an effective way to promote healing through education and support after the loss of a loved one or close friend. Bereavement group members report a strong positive impact based on both the psycho-educational aspects of groups and the “safe haven” setting they provide for emotional expression and release of feelings.

How do I choose a grief support group?

Grief support groups come in many shapes and sizes. Group participants may express a desire for narrowly defined groups where everyone has had the same type of loss, (spouse, parent, child, sibling, etc). Comfort levels may be increased if the losses are similar, but this is not a prerequisite for a successful group. The commonality of loss is a common denominator and learning comes from sharing among different age groups and perspectives.

Traumatic losses, such as loss of a child or suicides, generally are better served in groups where all members share the same type of loss. Age separation – such as a group for young widows or one for widowers from older spouses – is important because many of the issues they face are affected by where they are in the life cycle.

How do I know if I would benefit from a grief support group?

Support groups at Bethesda

Bethesda Hospice Care offers 6 and 8-week grief support groups to family members, residents, and community members every 3 months. Bethesda’s support groups offer time-limited, closed-ended sessions that tend to be most effective because group enrollment closes after the first group session. This provides a secure environment in which trusting relationships between members can develop. These small grief support groups encourage more self-disclosure, which often leads to self-awareness. Support groups at Bethesda are completely free.

Join us for Bethesda’s next grief support group, beginning on August 1st.

For questions or to sign up for the next grief support group contact, Leslie Schaeffer, Bereavement Coordinator, MSW, LCSW at (314) 373-7025 or

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