Literature Review On Group Grief Counseling

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Grief counseling can be performed in a group. Group grief counseling is very effective way to provide emotional support but not really recommended over individual counseling. The group has to be structured. Members in the group enter and leave the group at the same time in a limited time frame in close ended groups and in open ended group, they can enter and leave the group at any time as one fulfills their individual needs. Group is created to offer emotional support to help the survivors of deceased one to fully experience the pain of bereavement and aids in reinvesting their energy to a new folds of life.

A group must consist of at least two member with similar losses to let the members feel they are not alone experiencing such loss. Loss which has happened too recent and multiple losses will overwhelm and make people numb which makes it difficult to participate in groups. Nevertheless loss due to suicide and AIDS may make people in the group anxious. Therefore those are an important factors that needs to be taken into account during prescreening of participants. Group counseling is preferred to a client with normal grief to help in better adaptation to loss.

The leaders need to clearly state the expectations of a group in the very beginning to curb members getting demoralize if their expectations are not being made. Ground rules need to be formed and make sure the members understand it to provide safe environment for all members. The group can be led by mental health professional, bereaved individuals or lay person with professional persons help. Certain behaviors in group are disruptive for the progress of group. For example prioritizing ones loss over others. It creates less safe environment for the members to share their experience of loss. Therefore the leader needs to be competent in handling such disruptive behaviors in the group.

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A theme related to grief, the process, and potential resolutions are addressed. Nonetheless individual’s needs are also being addressed as the process proceeds. The session commence with introducing each other and acknowledging their effort. It helps them to get acquaint with the logistics and understanding its goals. They begin to experience the universality of grief process. Members are given an opportunity to give feedbacks and comments on others grief experience. They learn multiple perspectives of grief, its nature and process of grieving. They were also asked to bring the pictures, items and share their memories (positive and negative) in a group. They experience universality of grief experience and foster trust within a group.

There is no specific interventions used like other therapy but leader mostly focus in helping those identifying feelings and sharing through verbally, writing letters or given homework to reflect their own repressed feelings. In a group they discuss those experiences and get feedbacks within the groups. They also discuss about changes in roles due to loss. New identities are being created over time through the feedbacks from other members on their roles, strength and weaknesses. The leader initiates activities such as paper plate exercise to help them form new roles. They share emotions impacted by different roles and counselor brings out the topic of stress and impart information about stress because loss brings stress. Breathing and relaxations exercise are incorporated to cope with stress. Other strategies of coping with concurrent events are discussed in a group.

Discuss about the need of supporting system and helps in identifying the support system. Assess and determine the effectiveness of support system. Help them know that helping others is also an important process of healing. It is important to let them know when the session will ends before it really ends. Give them homework to reflect about the changes and growth brought in self. End the session with the words of appreciation to each member for their great effort in sharing their pain. Let them to fill the evaluation form and if any have unanswered questions, let them tell. If any issues, assess whether it needs to be addressed in group or individual counseling.


  1. Humphrey, G. M., & Zimpfer, D. G. (2008). Group counseling. Counseling for grief and bereavement ( pp. 80-106 ). Retrieved from
  2. Leick, N., & Davidsen-Nielsen, M. (2005). Crisis intervention and grief therapy in group setting.
  3. Healing pain: Attachment, loss and grief therapy (4thed.). ( pp. 76-114) New York, NY: Springer publishing company:
  4. Worden, J. W. (2009). Grief counseling: facilitating uncomplicated grief. Grief counseling and grief therapy: a handbook for mental health Practitioner ( pp. 109-119). New York, NY: Routledge publication.

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Literature Review On Group Grief Counseling. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from
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