Saturday, 24 January 2015

A difficult conversation regarding bereavement support.

This week I am going to have to have a difficult conversation.

I attend two different bereavement support group but since late September 2014 they are both being run by the same person. Perhaps unsurprisingly she is running the two groups in very similar ways and the mistakes she is making in one group she is repeating in the other.

The warning signs have been there for all to see. The attendance at both groups has declined rapidly since she took over. At the last meeting of the university based group the numbers attending were only 45% of the number that came along in October. All but one of the lads have stopped coming along and as a result the whole feel of the group has changed. There is far less talking by the young people and far more lecturing, almost preaching, by the group leader.

The problem is that she has made the meeting far too religious. What with a opening prayer and a closing prayer and her quite frequent mentions of "God's Will" the whole affair feels more like a Bible Study class than a support group for young people who have suffered parental or sibling death.

It feels as if the group is being run for her benefit rather than for the benefit of the young people.

So the problem is what should I say to her?  I have been a member of the group for over 3 years now and for almost all of the time it has been a secular group. It hasn't always been perfect but most of the regulars were satisfied enough with what was on offer to keep on attending. But now some of the familiar faces have disappeared and when I see these former members around the campus they all say the same thing. "I don't want to be preached at by that woman". 

So can anybody suggest what needs to be done?


  1. Take her to one side and let her know that not everyone is religious. Maybe suggest prayers after the meeting or just at one of the two meetings.

    Maureen - Grief the Unspoken

  2. Explain to her exactly how You wrote on here...very good wording and You got to the point!