Q: What makes the HOPE spousal loss groups different than other grief groups?
A: There are several things that make our spousal loss groups different and effective in helping individuals through their grief.
1. All of our groups are facilitated by licensed therapists who are trained and skilled in grief and group process.
2. The HOPE Connection groups are the oldest bereavement groups in Los Angeles. The main spousal loss groups are arranged by months of grieving. We can have as many as six groups being run on the same evening. Group 1 will include people who are only at one-four months since their loss. At five months, that individual will move to Group 2 and be with people who are at five-eight months since their loss. As you go through our groups, you also walk through two years of your grief. These are open groups — individuals are welcome to join at any time.
The other groups, the Specific Focus Groups (i.e. Loss of a Parent) run in eight-week ongoing series. These are closed groups. New people will generally not be added after the third group.
Q: How do I join?
A: We understand you are grieving and we know it’s not easy to come that first time to a new group. We often say, “This is a club no one wants to join,” but everyone in these rooms understands. It’s a safe place to grieve and heal. When you first call, a licensed therapist will return your call, answer your questions and set up an appointment for an orientation. At the orientation, you will first be met by a Mentor, an alumni who volunteers his/her time to greet you and welcome you into the program. The orientation therapists will educate you about our groups, answer any questions and help you to complete the intake forms. After the orientation you will be introduced to the group member community and welcomed. You will be joining with the group that fits with your months of mourning, and be with others who have taken that same first step. We believe that “We’re not here to see through one another, we’re here to see one another through.”
Q: I am not a person who likes to talk about my problems and I don’t want to be dragged down by other people’s problems. How would I fit into the HOPE Groups?
A: The HOPE groups are a place where you can come to share your experiences and feelings in a safe place with others who are experiencing many of the same feelings and experiences that you are going through. Group members are encouraged and guided to listen without judgments and to have tolerance for the differences in each other’s unique and individual journey of grief.
Listening to each other’s stories, without judgment creates a safe place and a healing community for everyone. You will learn to be patient and have empathy and that will help you to have patience with your own healing process. When you hear the stories and problems of others you will often hear yourself saying, “me too,” and when you share that “me too,” it is healing to others in the group.
Q: What is the difference between the HOPE Support group and a Therapy Group?
A: The HOPE support group provides a safe, non-judgmental place to mourn your loss. It is a group that connects you to your grief — to other people who are going through many of the same experiences and feelings — and to hope. In this setting you have a licensed therapist as a facilitator whose main function is to create a safe place, keep you on the path of grieving/healing and to educate you about the grieving process.
In a therapy group, the therapist is more focused on how you interact on an interpersonal level with members of the group. The issues discussed are personal and related to dysfunction and childhood experiences that penetrate adult life. There can be conflict and confrontation in the group as interpersonal relations and projections are explored on a psychodynamic level. The therapist’s role is to moderate conflict, to explore and address issues from childhood that might represent threads that run through dysfunctional behaviors in adult life.