GUIDELINES

  1. Attendance:  This is an open grief support group. Please feel free to come when you are able.  We meet each Tuesday at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, except on holidays.  We will begin @ 6:00 PM with a period for social interaction.  Group starts promptly at 6:30 PM and ends promptly at 8:00 PM.

  2. Support Group:  Our most important resource during these sessions is other group members, and our group is a support group, not an advice-giving group.  Though therapeutic, this group is not for therapy. 

  3. Space for Sharing:  The way we offer support is for each of us to do our own grief work and listen to others.  We welcome your sharing, but ask that you speak only for yourself using “I” statements.  Also, please allow time for others to share without interruption.

  4. Self Care:  We encourage you to practice good self-care in the group.  This means that each group member clearly states his/her needs in the group, says only what feels safe, and passes when uncomfortable.  All emotions are appropriate. Also, for your own well-being, we encourage you not to take others’ grief home with you. Everyone has enough grief of his/her own.

  5. Careful About Physical Comforting:  Each person has a unique experience with touch.  Some people do not like to be touched.  Also, we want to be careful not to short-circuit anyone’s grief experience by a rush to comfort.  So please refrain from touching others during group sessions. This way we allow others to fully experience their thoughts and feelings.

  6. Grief Is Unique:  Grief is a process, and each person's grief is unique. While we may share some commonalities in our experiences of grief, no two of us will experience or express grief exactly the same way or within the same time frame. Consequently, honor and accept both what you have in common with others and what is unique about each of you.  

  7. Tolerance and Respect / No Judgment:  Please do not judge each other, but listen to each other and offer understanding. Recognize that thoughts and feelings are neither right nor wrong. Enter into the thoughts and feelings of other group members without trying to change them. We sometimes find the experiences, expressions, and feelings of others to be completely foreign to our own experience, upbringing, or value system. We learn to lovingly accept everything expressed here as totally legitimate for the person expressing it. However, to keep the group safe, we also ask that you show respect to others in the group when you speak.

  8. Respect Confidentiality:  A key aspect of grief support groups is the safe space offered for mourning and sharing.  We create safety and trust by agreeing to maintain confidentiality regarding what was said and what happened within the group.  This means that outside the group, we share only our own stories and not discuss others’ stories – even when socializing with participants from the group.

  9. Protect Sacred Space:  Please respect the sanctity of this space and turn off all electronic devices during our sessions.  Also, there is no smoking in this facility. 

  10. Honor Guidelines:  Failure to comply with these guidelines, or behavior that disrupts the group or makes it feel unsafe, can result in removal from the group.