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What is a Grief Center?

A grief center is an entity that offers support to people who have lost a loved one. This facility may be within a hospital, affiliated with a hospice or palliative care service or a separate community organization. After loved ones have passed, survivors may have difficulty coping with their feelings and moving on with their lives. Grief centers offer programs and support groups to serve varying age groups and often have special sessions for parents who have lost their children.

Most grief centers have a small, paid administrative staff, but operate with the assistance of volunteers. Many operate as non-profit organizations that accept charitable donations to facilitate their services. Some centers are staffed with counselors that offer one-on-one sessions with people who have recently lost a loved one. These facilities often have libraries with material about the process of grief and personal recovery from loss.

Volunteers lead groups and activities to help the bereaved identify and cope with their emotions. Groups may include families or break down their clients into age groups. While some of group time is spent in talk-therapy, sessions at a grief center often involve writing, craft, or movement activities. Although patrons of a grief center are mourning the loss of a loved one, the mood is not always somber.

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A child may be enrolled in a grief center after the loss of a parent, grand-parent, or sibling. Children are less likely to understand loss than adults and usually need special care to understand and accept bereavement. The focus of a grief center for children is providing a safe environment with peers. They may share stories about the deceased with the goal of highlighting enjoyable parts of their lives rather than their departure. Older children may be asked to write in a journal, while younger children are given art projects to help express their emotions.

Grief center staff may be involved in the outside community. In the event of a child's death, a grief center can make presentations at that student's school. Some have online forums for people who are unable or unwilling to attend services in the community. As part of hospice or palliative care services, grief centers offer seminars on advanced planning, funeral arrangements, estate planning and what to expect during the dying process.

While the main focus of a grief center is coping with the death of a beloved person, some offer additional programs for other types of grief. There may be special sessions to help both adults and children with their feelings after the loss of a pet. Some offer counseling and group therapies to deal with grief after a divorce. These centers may also have sessions that focus on depression unrelated to bereavement.

The best way to learn what bereavement services are in an area is to contact a local grief center. Many have websites that list session schedules and the types of therapeutic programs offered. A hospital, hospice or community mental health provider can usually make referrals to a grief center in the community.

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Discuss this Article

burcidi
Post 3

My church provides bereavement services and I think that many hospices, if not all, have chaplains that can provide grief counseling.

I volunteer for my church often because we participate in many social works in the community. If a friend of mine has lost a family member or relative, or if anyone needs some support and guidance in general, I direct them to the church.

I think that guidance from a clergy is really beneficial, even if someone is not particularly religious. Reading and talking about religious texts is comforting because you can always find some words of wisdom about life and death.

We have attendees and volunteers at our church who have experienced loses and faced difficult challenges in their lives, all of which has brought them closer to religion. Spirituality has been a tool for them to get through these times and get back to enjoying life.

burcinc
Post 2

Death is not the only loss we mourn. I had a divorce one year ago, it was not a pleasant one and it ended with a lot of resentment and anger on both sides. I thought that my anger would help me get over things but it didn't turn out that way.

A marriage or a relationship which ends is sort of like death as well. You no longer have that person in your life and even if you were the one to have made the decision to part, it's not so easy to accept it. My husband and I had dated for five years before getting married and our marriage lasted for three. That's a bond of eight

years that just slips out of your hands.

I went for some therapy after the divorce, but I have never been someone who is comfortable talking about my feelings. I don't feel better when someone tells me "I know how you feel" when I know they are really saying that because it's their job.

This is why I joined an online healing forum. This is where people who have experienced a similar loss can talk about their experiences and feelings without being judged, because everyone else has been through that road themselves. There is also a comfort in knowing that you are not the only one dealing with grief and loss at that time. It helps you put things in perspective and you realize that you have so many other things to be grateful for. And as you watch others heal and feel better, you are healing also.

This healing group is like my family now. I still go on it regularly and I think I will continue to even after I have overcome my loss so that my experiences can be useful to someone else.

ddljohn
Post 1

I think that it is so important these days to have grief support groups and similar services available to the public. I feel that there are so many people who don't have the support of family members and friends available to them for various reasons.

Before, family members were closer both physically and emotionally and could be there for each other when something traumatic like death happened. I know many families are very good examples of this kind of bonding and support. But there are also many people, especially older citizens who don't have this support at all.

I have friends who have lost their husband or wife and soon found themselves in nursing homes because they were

not able to take care of themselves and their children were certainly not willing to take care of them. If they hadn't had the opportunities to socialize, to participate in group activities and therapy at their nursing homes, I think that living without their life partners would have been a much more difficult adjustment for them.

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