Group Therapy and Activities for Grief

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By Tess Thompson

Ask any doctor and he will tell you that in times of grief, if one does not weep, the body will. The suppressed pain is likely to manifest itself in physiological problems and abnormal emotional behaviors.

When we are not able to express or acknowledge grief, the loss remains locked in the conscious mind and continues to haunt us. We need to separate ourselves from the loss and learn to get back to our lives.

Sometimes we prefer to keep quiet about a death due to reasons such as social stigmas. Repressing emotions can be extremely dangerous, since it does not allow for a catharsis.

It is only after we come out of acute grief that normal work can and should resume. However, there are certain responsibilities that cannot be avoided, even during the grieving process. Even with our own emotional distress, we need to care for and provide support to our children so that they can handle the emotional upheavals that they too may be going through. If we do not come to terms with the situation, coaching children to look at the whole event positively can become almost impossible.

The first step is to accept the loss and ensure that you can get back to life with ease. Sometimes if the loss faced is too large, you may need to find ways and means of moving on. Indulging yourself in activities like dancing, sports, art, or charity work can help in positive sublimation. These activities can also help in bringing out the deep feelings that we sometimes repress.

Some people may find it difficult to use such forms of expression. For these people, group therapies can help to a large extent. Listening to other people talk about their experiences can help to slowly open up and consciously concentrate on ones own feelings. Sharing thoughts, emotions, and times experienced with the lost one can actually help you feel better after a while.

Group therapies also make you feel that you are not the only one who has lost a loved one. There are may others like you. You move from a question like 'why me?' to 'it is so with everyone.' Funerals and services are actually a manner in which all the loved ones of the deceased can meet and talk about the person, hopefully providing a calming effect on the family.

In situations where managing emotions becomes impossible and daily functioning is seriously interrupted, professional help must be called upon.

There is an old oriental proverb that says grief touches us all, and while touching, it polishes and binds. You can help your friends and family to complete the grieving process together with you successfully.


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