How Do I Choose the Best Bereavement Support Group?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Bereavement groups may be helpful to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
Bereavement groups may be helpful to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

When choosing a bereavement support group, take time to evaluate the information provided on each group to see if it might be a good match for you. Talk to the group's leadership to find out about how the group is structured and facilitated. It is always a good idea to make sure that an in-person group is conveniently located to where you live and work so that you can easily attend meetings. Ask trusted professionals and friends for referrals to a bereavement support group, as it can be helpful to have a personal recommendation when deciding which group to join.

Support groups made up of people who have suffered similar losses may be helpful.
Support groups made up of people who have suffered similar losses may be helpful.

Bereavement, or grief, after the death of a loved one can take a significant time to process. While some people find that they are able to manage their grief with the support of family, friends, and clergy, many others need more structured support. In some cases, you may find that a bereavement support group made up of people who are experiencing similar loss is an important key to processing grief.

A grief support group may restrict membership to those who have lost a spouse.
A grief support group may restrict membership to those who have lost a spouse.

Some bereavement support groups may be specifically targeted to a particular type of loss. For example, a grief support group may restrict membership to those who have lost a spouse, a child, or even a pet. In other cases, a bereavement support group may also limit its membership to those who have very recently experienced a loss or may specialize in addressing the needs of those who are still grieving after many years of loss. Consider your own circumstances and explain them to the group leader to find out whether his or her bereavement support group is appropriate for you and your needs.

Churches may sponsor bereavement support groups.
Churches may sponsor bereavement support groups.

Ask about the structure and facilitation of each group that you consider. Some groups may be led by laypeople, and others may be led by clergy or mental health professionals. It is up to you to decide which type of leadership you are most comfortable with. If you are interested in learning more about various resources, such as financial planning or career development after the loss of a spouse, ask if the group ever invites guest speakers to address these topics at meetings.

In some cases, bereavement and grief therapy is part of a broader treatment plan.
In some cases, bereavement and grief therapy is part of a broader treatment plan.

For many people, issues of death and dying often raise issues of spirituality and the sacred. If you are interested in a bereavement support group that incorporates spirituality into its meetings, you may wish to ask a clergy person for information on groups in your area. If you can't find such a support group, you may wish to look into online grief support groups that operate within your religious tradition.

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    • Bereavement groups may be helpful to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
      By: tomas del amo
      Bereavement groups may be helpful to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
    • Support groups made up of people who have suffered similar losses may be helpful.
      By: chuugo
      Support groups made up of people who have suffered similar losses may be helpful.
    • A grief support group may restrict membership to those who have lost a spouse.
      By: Antonio Gravante
      A grief support group may restrict membership to those who have lost a spouse.
    • Churches may sponsor bereavement support groups.
      By: Michael Flippo
      Churches may sponsor bereavement support groups.
    • In some cases, bereavement and grief therapy is part of a broader treatment plan.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      In some cases, bereavement and grief therapy is part of a broader treatment plan.
    • People who are grieving a suicide often have feelings of isolation and guilt that may be helped by a bereavement support group.
      By: ivolodina
      People who are grieving a suicide often have feelings of isolation and guilt that may be helped by a bereavement support group.
    • Bereavement after the death of a loved one can take a significant time to process.
      By: michaeljung
      Bereavement after the death of a loved one can take a significant time to process.
    • Friends can be one of the best sources for help during grieving.
      By: auremar
      Friends can be one of the best sources for help during grieving.
    • Some bereavement support groups are designed for couples to seek help together.
      By: giideon
      Some bereavement support groups are designed for couples to seek help together.