Sheila Segal, MFT
Clinical Coordinator of Peer Counseling,
Center for Healthy Aging
For many people who are experiencing loss, being part of a bereavement group can be comforting and supportive. Bereavement groups provide a confidential environment for open self-expression and facilitate feedback. In these groups, participants can:
Share communal experiences in response to loss;
Develop effective coping skills in facing difficult situations;
Create strategies for dealing with the especially hard days such as anniversaries, birthdays and holidays;
Address the complexities of tasks they are facing;
Begin to adjust to an environment without the deceased loved one;
Consider new avenues for the future.
Loss is with us throughout our lives. In her book Necessary Losses, author Judith Viorst observed that all human beings experience loss from the moment they are born – from the loss of the safety of the womb to the laundry list of disappointments suffered in the process of growing up to the later loss of the ability to perform the physical and mental tasks enjoyed in younger years.
Because we often don’t think of these life changes as losses, they may be ignored or repressed. Sometimes the pain of these losses is redirected inwardly and translates to depression; or the pain might be vented outwardly, resulting in irritable behavior or unexplainable angry outbursts.
Though the passage of time may be deemed to be the great emotional healer by some, the ways in which we respond to these life changes often fit a pattern and can complicate the ability to grieve the recent loss of a loved one. Bereavement groups offer a safe place in which to discuss a full range of emotions.
On Tuesday, September 11, Center for Healthy Aging in Santa Monica will begin a Bereavement Support Group for people 55 and older. This group will provide a confidential setting in which to sort out the overwhelming and sometimes conflicting emotions that often accompany loss.
For information, call Sheila Segal at 310.576.2554, x373. Please note that the group is NOT a drop-in group and requires pre-registration. Fees are based on the ability to pay.