Grief Counseling Group Proposal

Lindsay Lupiani & Andrew Lambiase

St. John Fisher College: Mental Health Counseling

Grief Group Counseling Proposal

Group Type and Rationale
A group focused on students who are grieving the loss of someone he or she valued in their life.
Loss can negatively impact a late adolescence (18-20 years old, first/second year college students) mental health, physical, behavioral and developmental well being.
The unique structure of group counseling will allow for students to draw upon peer support and reduce anxious feelings in isolation or around family members.
Work with students who have experienced a loss of a loved one (family member, friend, or significant other) between 1-2 years after losing that loved one. It is important to follow this time frame because anything before a year, grief counseling in a group may be too much for a student to handle and may cause a significant impairment in a group setting. Anything outside of two years may be too long to experience significant grief and counseling may trigger a reaction back to the grief they had already gotten over.

Teach and learn essential skills for life. Learning how to react and be considerate of others who have lost or are struggling with loss of a loved one (Morgan & Roberts, 2010).
Provide the proper services to students that should be available on a college campus (educational, academic, career, personal and social needs of students) (Mauk, 2011).
It provides a type of community and support for members of the group (Hutchinson, 2005).
To achieve a high level of group cohesion and trust (Corey, Corey, Corey, 2018).
To provide coping skills for members emotional needs, for dispelling myths and misconceptions of loss responses and for creating new abilities to develop new relationships outside of the group setting (Corey et al., 2016).
Helping adolescents accomplish the task of grief resolution at an early age can prevent them from being at risk of pathology later in life (Punamaki, 2001).

B. Group Goals and Objectives
Goals:
Goal #1: Alleviate the distress of the bereaved through mutual support (Samide & Stockton, 2002).
Goal #2: Facilitate healing so that students can function more effectively in school setting, and at home (Samide & Stockson, 2002).
Objectives:
Gain a better understanding of one’s grief
Be able to effectively express one’s grief
Obtain appropriate grief coping strategies
Normalize grieving and the grieving process among common individuals
Gain a sense of hope for the future
(Morgan & Roberts, 2010)

C. Group Leadership
Preparation:
Each time the group meets the group leaders (co-facilitators) will have an agenda for the group that day; it may be followed but sometimes will deviate. Each session will have a topic that we will want to follow for that day. We intend for discussion to be around those topics but also want students to feel comfortable sharing and discussing other things relating to their grief. Group norms and rules will be established beforehand to make sure their are clear goals for each meeting. The co-facilitators will discuss previous meetings to help achieve better or the same participation for future meetings. The co-facilitators will come prepared with topics/questions for students. In preparation for the meeting, students are expected to show up on time and respect the group norms. Although participation is not required, it is encouraged.

Credentials
For co-facilitators, it is important to be educated on the current topics being discussed in the group. Although facilitators may not have official training on grief counseling, it is imperative that the group is run in a professional, yet inviting way. Characteristics such as openness, trustworthiness, caring, authentic, motivating and uplifting would be beneficial for co-facilitators to show towards group members. It is extremely important that facilitators show no bias towards students or show expressions that may discredit their role as a facilitators due to the severity of the topic in the group.

Roles
The two group leaders will be co-facilitators in the group therapy process. They will both share roles and many duties will overlap. It is important that facilitators use judgment when it comes to speaking in turn and following the proper guidelines as well as being professional with clients.
Both facilitators will lead group discussions, observe and provoke question asking.

D. Group Composition
Demographics:
The group will be co-ed and open to only college students
who are 18-20 years old.
Number of Participants:
The group will consist of 2 group leaders and 5 group members.
Attracting, Screening and selecting members:
First, the group leaders will announce the group by putting flyers up around campus to attract students.
Next, group leaders will send an email to all students on campus regarding group details. The email will provide instructions telling students to email group leaders if they are interested in participating.
Then, the group leaders will contact the Health and Wellness center
at St. John Fisher to see if they have any student recommendations who would benefit from a grief group.
Group leaders will also set up a recruitment table outside of cafe to speak to students who may be interested or have questions regarding the grief group process.
Once group has been announced and members are recruited, we will be arranging a screening process.The screening process will involve a survey and interview that will need to be completed by each candidate.
The survey will help leaders to understand candidates personal goals for the group and to find out whether they have lost a family member, friend or significant other. It will also provide information on how long ago they have lost someone to determine if they would be suitable for the group.
Group leaders will then select members who meet the group criteria.
The last step will be the interview process. The group leaders will interview the remaining candidates who are interested. The interview will determine if grief group counseling would be suitable for their specific loss and personal goals and whether they will benefit from a grief group counseling process.
The interview screening process and survey will also help the group leaders understand if a candidate is experiencing additional psychological, emotional, and interpersonal challenges. If they are, it is likely they can impede on group process and would not be beneficial candidates for a grief group.

E. Practical Considerations
Open Vs. Closed
This grief counseling group will be closed. A closed group will help
members feel more comfortable with one another, so they are able to share and
express their feelings and emotions.
Frequency and duration of meetings
The group will meet once a week for one hour.
Length of Group
The group will meet for 10 weeks.
Setting/Location
This group will take place in the St. John Fisher Health and
Wellness Center. To achieve a peaceful setting, the lights will be dim and there will be soft low background music. There also will be chairs with cushions. It is important for the members to be comfortable to achieve cohesion and trust.
Topics to be Explored and Who Determines?
Some of the topics that will be explored are: guilt, changing identity, loneliness, fear of letting go of deceased, interdepence, how to address memories of lost loved ones, emotional intensity, grief education, saying goodbye, and coping skills. It is important as a group leader to touch upon each of these topics, but it is also just as important to let the members choose the topics they want to explore. Group leaders are willing to be receptive to group members suggestions.
Cultural Considerations
Different cultures handle death and grief differently. It is important
for group members to keep in mind that views of death vary depending on ethnicity. Also, since the group is co-ed, it is important to acknowledge people handle grief differently depending on their gender and individual culture. To acknowledge these differences, group leaders need to consider and learn about each group members individual beliefs and not to assume or generalize about an individual’s culture.
Ethical considerations
Group leaders must tell members that confidentiality is not guaranteed. Group leaders need to have awareness and be competent in topics dealing with grief and death. It is also important to take precaution to protect members from harm during the group experience.
Limitations
This group runs for only 10 weeks and if a member would like
to continue with grief group counseling after the 10 weeks are complete, they
would need to find another group. This group is time-limited, so group leaders and members will only meet for an hour each week. There may be very sensitive feelings that are needed to be shared but if time runs out, members will have to wait until next session to express those feelings. The group is a closed group, so members will not be
able to interact with variety of people.
Risk members may face and how will we safeguard members from unnecessary risks.
A risk members may face is breach of confidentiality. In order to safeguard members from this, group leaders will explain potential risks of confidentiality to the group during the initial stage. If a breach of confidentiality happens the group leader will consult with the member who broke confidentiality to determine further status within the group. Another risk a member may face is potential life changes, or interpersonal feelings that may grow because of the grief counseling group process. The group leader will safeguard members from potential personal harm by advising members of the advantages and disadvantages of a grief counseling group to ensure that members are able to deal with the personal problems that may grow out of a grief group experience.

F. Overall Group Evaluation Method
The group will be evaluated with a pre-test, post-test survey/questionnaire that will measure thoughts, feelings and topics related to death and coping skills.
Students and group members will also be asked to fill out an online summary form that will be accessed through the schools email to discuss whether they found the group helpful, not helpful, what they learned, and what they still need in terms of skills or coping methods.