Benefits and Guidelines

benefits-and-guidelinesHow a grief and loss support group can benefit:

Losing someone or something you love is very painful. After a significant loss, you may experience all kinds of difficult and surprising emotions. Grief is a natural response to loss, regardless of the circumstance. You will learn over time that the pain of your grief will keep trying to get your attention until you have the courage to gently, and in small doses, open to its presence. No words written or spoken can take away the pain you feel right now. When you come to trust that the pain will not last forever, it becomes tolerable. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried, and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving.
How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality, your coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. Even though we each respond differently, there is much to be learned from the experience of others. Loss and Grief Support Group Meetings offer you the opportunity for:

  1. SHARED GRIEF- You can sense that as part of a group, everyone is experiencing similar pain with their individual losses. This can help lessen the feeling of being singled out and alienated. Support group meetings can re-awaken one’s self-worth and belonging, because you each have much to offer the other.
  2. SELF HELP- As you help others move through the grief process, you help yourself.
  3. HOPE- You can begin to see how others have had similar problems and have moved through them. People can experience and share coping skills with one another in an atmosphere of mutual support. The educational aspects of the meetings also encourage greater responsibility in dealing with the healing process.
  4. CHANGE/GROWTH- We model our behavior after someone who has been successful in overcoming specific problems. An informed person can take a more active role in overcoming their own loss, while learning from others.

Support meetings provide opportunities to develop a sense of confidence and self-worth by helping each other. These meetings provide concrete support for individuals. Members share what is going on in their grief process. This strengthens a group member’s self-esteem and assertiveness, which puts them in a position to make real changes in their lives.

At our meetings, we extend a warm welcome to all that have experienced a loss due to death. You are encouraged to ask questions, make suggestions, or just listen. The facilitator of the group will share some thoughts and ideas on various problems encountered in the grief process, and will welcome responses from the group. As a participant of the group, you may choose to either participate or listen. There is no judgment here! No right or wrong!

Support Group Guidelines

  1. Each person’s grief is unique. While you may share some commonalities in your experiences, no two of you are exactly alike. Please respect and accept both what you have in common with others and what is unique to each of you.
  2. Grief is not a disease, and no “quick-fix” exists for what you are feeling. Don’t set a specific timetable for how long it should take you or others to heal.
  3. Feel free to talk about your grief. However, if someone in the group decides to listen without sharing, please respect his or her preference.
  4. Make every effort not to interrupt when someone else is speaking.
  5. Thoughts, feelings, and experiences shared in this group will stay in this group. Respect others’ right to confidentiality. Do not use names of fellow participants in discussions outside the group.
  6. Allow each person equal time to express themselves.
  7. Attend group meetings when you can and be on time. It is understood that there may be exceptions to this rule.
  8. Avoid “advice giving” unless it is specifically asked for by a group member. If advice is not solicited, don’t give it. If a group member poses a question, simply share ideas that helped you if you experienced a similar situation.
  9. Recognize that thoughts and feelings are neither right nor wrong. Enter into the thoughts and feelings of other group members without trying to change them.
  10. Create an atmosphere of willing, invited sharing. If you feel pressured to talk, but don’t want to, please say so.

Remember this is a support group, not therapy.
If you feel the need for individual counseling, a list of trained professionals is available.

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