We have two FREE friendly bereavement support groups to help those who are coping with bereavement, regardless of how long ago the loss occurred. These will be led by a specialist bereavement counsellor, who will help you understand your grief.  The grief support days are designed to help people learn how to better support themselves whilst grieving and to connect people with others who have experienced a similar loss.  

A forum for understanding common beliefs, the benefits of attending a support group will bring together people from different walks of life to build confidence and friendships within the group.  These will extend to the support they can give families and the community.  You may find companionship and understanding from others who have experienced a similar loss, and share challenges that living with grief brings. It can also be a place for people of all faiths to learn from each other through sharing their grief stories in a non-judgmental way.

Grief support groups are increasingly being recognised as an effective way to promote healing through education and support after the loss of a family member or close friend and are especially effective when all participants share the same type of loss.  

Both eight week groups will be held on Saturdays in our St Albans Centre.

Understanding Your Bereavement for those who have lost a child
Saturday 2 March to 18 May | 10am-12pm – 8 weeks

This course is aimed at parents who have experienced the death of their child, and includes adult children.  The loss of a child through bereavement is often referred to as the ultimate tragedy and is among one of the most difficult deaths to grieve.  Regardless of the age of the ‘child’ the parental emotions experienced can be similar.

What can I expect?

  • Understanding grief and its impact on you, your relationships and your family
  • Strategies for coping with loss, making memories, and dealing with social situations and what to say
  • There will be a maximum of 12 people who share a similar experience to you
  • Learn the many ways that grief affects us physically, mentally and emotionally
  • Each session will include information and time to talk within the group and ask questions

Understanding Your Bereavement for those who have lost someone to suicide
Saturday 8 June to 27 July |  10am-12pm – 8 weeks

Suicide is a loss which is considered the hardest to bear as it leaves family members and friends who are left with feelings of confusion and guilt.  In addition, cultural taboos can make it difficult for the grieving to reach out to the communities.

What can I expect?

  • Understanding the impact of suicide and the difference between grief and bereavement
  • Explore the stages of grief and how they are unique to each person and situation
  • Strategies for coping with loss, making memories, and dealing with social situations and what to say
  • There will be a maximum of 12 people who share a similar experience to you
  • Learn the many ways that grief affects us physically, mentally and emotionally
  • Each session will include information and time to talk within the group and ask questions

The tutor will meet with you before the course to ensure that it will be suitable and helpful for you.

Everything discussed will be confidential unless it is identified that someone is at risk.  If this happens we will endeavor to discuss it with the attendee.

Facilitated by:

Helen Lehrle (MBACP) is a counsellor with extensive experience in running support groups and has worked with Cruse Bereavement and The Hospice of St Francis.

Who can apply?

  • Anyone over 18,
  • From St Albans and district (which includes Harpenden, Sandridge, Park Street, Redbourn and Wheathampstead), and
  • Has suffered a bereavement over six months ago (it doesn’t matter how far into the past or whether your child was an adult at the time).

Please register your interest now by getting in touch or completing the form below – even if you are just thinking about joining us, we would like to support you and ensure you feel comfortable about joining us.

Please email groups@counsellingfoundation.org or phone Judy Mallinson on 01727 868585 Option 7.

The courses – worth up to £275 per attendee – will be free to residents due to funding from the St Albans and District City Council’s Community Grants Fund.