is a support group?
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.
is expected of me?
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.
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.
my privacy maintained?
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.
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
Do I enroll?
Choose from among
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.
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.
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.
Can I Withdraw?
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.