Brien offers individual and family counselling both in home and in office. However, one of the best enabling processes is through groups. Groups generally become their own form of “social networking” where participants unite with people of different career backgrounds, different ages and different philosophies in walking through the many undulations of grief.
The Bereavement Group model used is, for now, a series of three evening discussions held one per week for three consecutive weeks. Participants who attend are charged a nominal fee for their involvement. This fee serves to pay expenses but, more significantly, it provides incentive for full participation. Each evening brings with it “exercises” (homework) which will serve as a continuum of the current discussions.
It is stressed that all emotions expressed are confidential and the meetings are held in a secure location which offers privacy and safety. In addition to these guidelines, participants are requested NOT to judge others and, most importantly, not to offer solutions or suggestions unless asked. Often experience has taught me that people may comment in what may be considered as a harmless or friendly manner, but the ramifications may be quite the opposite depending upon the interpretations of others in a group. We also spend considerable time discussing the role of children of all maturation levels and how they can and should be made a part of the loss cycles.
There has recently been a new course added. For those who have an animal friend that has been diagnosed with an incurable disease or when “quantity” of life has replaced “quality of life”, a one evening course has been created. This is also offered as an individual or family experience as well. The many issues surrounding pre-mortem grief, often referred to as “Anticipatory Grief” are, in my experience and in the opinion of many, extremely significant in the overall processes of bereavement.