Grief Support Services. org
A Program of National Grief Support Services Inc.
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What is a support group?
What is expected of me?
Why are the Support Groups Password Protected?
Is my privacy maintained?
Tele-Support vs. Online Support: Pros & Cons?
How Do I enroll?
When Will My Group Begin?
How long do people generally stay in support groups?
How Can I Withdraw?
 
What is a support group?

A support group is a number of people who begin as strangers but share similar needs to air the feelings that challenge them about a certain topic. In grief support, for instance, it may be the death of a child or the slow onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in a loved one. The group is guided by a professional only as necessary, and dominated by the collective direction participants take the discussion. In a support group, what is shared stays within the group. The group provides an understanding, supportive environment and welcomes participation and bonding to help all its members.

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What is expected of me?

Maintaining regular participation, you are expected to maintain the positive flavor of the group by avoiding arguments and embracing the goal of mutual support, showing compassion and striving to leave no one behind. No profanity or cruel comments are allowed. Participants should remain aware that differences in background and perspectives may exist, but that it is similarities that bring group members together. No single or few members should dominate discussion repeatedly. Honesty and trust are key to the success of a group.

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Why are the Support Groups Password Protected?

We want people to feel totally comfortable and safe in discussing their innermost thoughts and feelings. We want to ensure a supportive environment with others who understand and share their pain. We do not want to have anyone worry that a prankster, voyeur or problem family member can intrude on this healing process.

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Is my privacy maintained?

Yes. You register with griefsupportservices.org, and although a copy of your registration goes to the facilitator, your fellow group members know you only by a name of your choosing. No one else has access to your registration details, and your anonymity is secure.

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Tele-Support vs. Online Support: Pros & Cons?


Tele-Support Groups require the discipline to call in on time so the conference call is not distracted and you listen as completely to others as you would have them listen to you. Call-in begins 10 minutes before the scheduled group starting time. Listening to a human voice offers obvious advantage to interested listeners who are hearing the “voice behind the voice.” The way someone speaks may reveal some hesitations on their part that they wish to overcome and explore.

Online, your message is in exactly what you say. You may have more time to compose your thoughts, and this may feel more comfortable for some people. Also, some people are more eloquent in writing than speaking live. You can check and respond to posts or create posts on a schedule that meets your needs, any time of the day or night.

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How Do I enroll? 

Choose from among the topics and select whether you prefer an Online or TeleSupport group for that topic, or both. Provide the information necessary to complete your enrollment. There are no fees attached, although donations to National Grief Support Services, the nonprofit organization that operates griefSupportServices.org, are welcome, always appreciated and help make these and other of our services possible.

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When Will My Group Begin?

We will strive to begin a group on dates posted or as soon as five people enroll for a topic. The amount of time this takes may vary for a new group. After that, membership will change as new participants arrive and others withdraw. Multiple groups will form for the most popular topics.

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How long do people generally stay in support groups?

This varies greatly, from a handful of weeks to many months or even years. The most important consideration for you is whether you continue to produce good feelings of progress and mutual support from participating. Group members in grief surely welcome the participation of those who have experienced a stage of grief that others haven’t. That is a major element of the system of support. And recalling these stages aloud helps the more “experienced” participant put all their own grief experiences in perspective. Many who have grown through grief to reach a “new normal” often want to continue to help others reach a place of healing. For some, it provides a way to have something positive come from the loss they have sustained.

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How Can I Withdraw?

Although there is no obligation to do so, we appreciate someone taking a few moments to withdraw rather than simply dropping from the group and leaving a facilitator and other participants wondering whether that person is OK after forming a bond over the sessions. A link to withdraw from support groups appears on the left of this and most other pages within the Support Section of the website.

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