Page 19 - 2016 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 19


                         Grief and Groups:

                         Eight Curative Factors

                         by Gloria Horsley                                              Compassionate Friends is my preferred grief group for child
                                                                                        loss as it provides siblings, parents and grandparents the
                         During my over 30 years as a therapist and counselor, I        opportunity to both serve and be served depending on their
                         have often been asked by clients and friends, “What do you     situation. The newly bereaved are helped by listening to the
                         think is best, a bereavement group or individual therapy?”     stories of those who are further along in their grief and the
                         Those who decide to go with a group then ask, “What is         more seasoned griever has the chance to see how far they
                         best, a peer-led group like The Compassionate Friends or       have come and to assist others in coping with their grief.
                         a group lead by a trained therapist?” Often mental health      There are many opportunities to serve. One can be a chapter
                         professionals make the case that a trained therapist is        leader, a member of the steering committee, or set up chairs
                         needed in order to run an effective group. I believe that      or bring refreshments. Small and larger assignments give
                         a case can be made for either peer or professionally led       those in grief a feeling that they have something to offer and
                         groups depending on individual needs and desires. Some         a reason to attend meetings.
                         professionally trained grief therapists often encourage
                         clients to attend private therapy as well as a support group,  Why Group?
                         but expenses often enter the picture. Many join a peer-led
                         group because they do not have the financial resources or      It all started for me in nursing school years ago when I
                         desire to participate in paid grief support.                   was exposed to the work of Dr. Victor Yalom in his classic
                                                                                        1970 book The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy.
                         Group Process                                                  In this book Dr. Yalom identifies 11 Therapeutic Factors
                                                                                        (sometimes referred to as
                         I am a strong advocate of the group process whether the
                         group is led by a professional therapist or is peer-led. The                                                                           (continued on page 20)

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