Details & FAQs
What is the purpose of this program?
To initiate the step from survival mode to healing;
To dispel some societal misconceptions that hinder instead of help;
To introduce healthy ways of integrating grief, making it easier to carry (building "grief muscles");
To offer tools to increase empowerment and resiliency; and
To provide understanding social supports.
What makes this different than other grief support programs?
This program was created by a peer, certified grief specialist, and emerging mental health professional who understands first-hand the unique needs and issues people face after experiencing the loss of their person. This group addresses not only the loss of your person, but the secondary losses that occur over time. One of the biggest unidentified secondary losses is self-esteem. Nurturing yourself in mind body and spirit becomes essential, and this theme is incorporated throughout the program. In a judgment-free environment, conversations are initiated on a wide range of purposeful topics, and education is given with a trauma-informed, holistic, and positive approach to healing and increasing resilience. Tough stuff is balanced with humor while using therapeutic strategies to work through challenging themes. Additional local and national resources are also shared. Since this type of loss can be extremely isolating, this format also offers an opportunity to share stories, exchange ideas, and build lasting connections with others who understand.
How soon after my loss should I sign up?
While you can sign up for this program any time following your loss, it may be best to give yourself a few weeks to move through the initial shock. During this time it is important to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. These groups are also appropriate for those who are a few years post loss as secondary losses can become more prominent.
Some Topics We Cover:
Typical grief reactions
Milestones, holidays, etc.
Identifying social supports
Regrets & guilt
Love & forgiveness
How long is an ARROW grief support program?
Each group is 10 consecutive weeks in duration. When there is a missed week due to scheduling conflicts with holidays and other special circumstances, it will be noted in the registration description.
Where are the meetings located? Alden Mental Health Counseling on Broadway in Alden, NY, just outside of Lancaster.
Are drop-ins allowed to participate?
No. These are "closed" groups, meaning only the participants who have registered for the program are admitted into the weekly sessions.
How many other participants will there be in the group?
Participation is limited to 8 people, not including the facilitator(s), to ensure an intimate environment where meaningful sharing can occur.
What can I expect during the sessions?
Each meeting is 90 minutes in duration
The very first session will be focused on reviewing the group guidelines, an introduction to the journal we will be using for the program, and an opportunity for all to introduce themselves and share their stories of loss
Each session: begins with a guided breathing exercise, includes some education, group discussions, and concludes with a brief journaling task to be completed between sessions (each session has a similar flow)
Sessions are topic focused and structured in a way that builds on content from the previous week
You are not obligated to share any details you are not comfortable sharing
How do I get a journal for the program?
You may purchase the journal, Death Sucks: A Journey of Life After Loss, ahead of time through Amazon for $10 each, or you can get a copy at the first meeting. If you like, you do not have to wait until the program starts to begin journaling.
What is the cost of the program?
There is currently no registration fee.
Is it okay to miss a session?
Although it is ideal to attend every session, it is understandable that life happens. Any handouts you missed that day will be saved and given to you upon your return. Please try to schedule any appointments around the dates and times of our sessions to avoid missing out on something important. Every session is valuable. Of course if you are ill, please stay home and pamper yourself.
Will these groups be depressing?
The death of a significant other is traumatic and already depressing! This group balances the tough stuff with humor, inspiration, and positive tools for learning to thrive post loss. Talking about topics that stir up uncomfortable emotions is never easy, but it is necessary to process what you're going through as a valuable step towards healing. You will be in a safe, compassionate environment with others who understand- ideal for healing trauma. As mentioned before, you are not obligated to share details you are uncomfortable sharing; however, it helps initiate healing and offers validation to others who identify with you which helps them, too. Of course there will be some tears, but there is also laughter and lightheartedness.
Can I participate in the program more than once?
You may register again if it has been at least one year from the last time you participated. Your perspectives with grief will evolve and change over time, so participating at different timelines can offer new insights. However, any sooner than one year from your last participation may feel redundant.
What other types of ARROW grief support programs are offered?
Currently there is only a program for spouse/partner loss; however, more programs and separate workshops will be added in the future (young widowed parents, adolescents grieving a parent/guardian, etc.), and potentially virtual options as well. Please check back occasionally for more offerings.
Should I still see a mental health professional if I participate in the program?
Participating in a support group is extremely valuable, but does not replace the benefits of working one on one with a counselor or therapist. If you are already working with a mental health professional, please let them know if you participate in this group. *Andrea is now accepting individual clients as a supervised counseling intern.*
What if I have other questions or concerns?
Any additional questions can be directed to Andrea at email@example.com.