This will also take the focus away from individual grief by sharing and understanding the concerns of others.
IV. Group structure
Recruitment will occur by means of advertisement in a variety of media. The notice boards of medical facilities and pharmacies will be used as a primary advertisement site. Pamphlets will also be available at waiting rooms and at counters of medical venues and hospitals. The local newspaper will furthermore be used for advertising the group, as well as the Internet. The latter will be used on a smaller scale, focusing on local site with relevant content and advertising facilities.
The screening process will entail the criteria mentioned above. Advertisements will suggest the criteria, while each woman will be interviewed for a further screening process. In addition to the already determined criteria, all women need to be fairly mentally stable apart from the grieving process. Suicidal, homicidal or psychotic persons will neither benefit from nor bring any benefit to a group setting (Ford-Martin, 1999). If any of the danger signs are encountered during an interview, the person will be referred to an appropriate professional for further help and counseling.
In terms of social skills, the screening process will be fairly tolerant. Women do not need to function particularly well in a group situation to benefit from the therapy (Tuck, 2005). Heterogeneity in this determinant will help less socially apt persons to improve their social skills. The Internet group setting will also be geared towards this.
A hospice volunteer can work with a psychiatric professional to lead the group. The hospice volunteer can then use the experience gained in this way to further benefit the patients she is working with. Gross (2004) identifies a need for death education among hospice volunteers. A support group situation will be ideal in terms of practical education and application.
The length of each session will be between 1 and 2 hours. The meetings will be held once per week and supplemented by the Internet website.
The weekly meetings will be held mostly at the hospice venue. Once per month, a volunteer from the group can elect to have a meeting at her house. Special occasions and holidays will occur in venues outside of these locations, including restaurants and parks.
The group will consist of no more than 10 to 15 persons.
V. Role of the leader
The group leader will play the role of facilitator rather than leader. She will provide the group with emotional support, provide questions to start the discussion, and be ready with additions and prompts when the existing discussion runs dry. She will also moderate the discussion. This means that she will, when necessary, maintain control of the order and stability in the group. The leader's role will also be to conduct sessions in such a way that the group establishes a collective and wholesome identity. The co-leader will take administrative duties such as the analysis of questionnaires, and website maintenance, along with her duties of support at the group meetings.
The style of the group leader will be very informal. She will fit the profile of the rest of the group members in nearly all respects. If possible, this will be a psychology professional who lost her mother, although not necessarily recently. Her role will be to act as facilitator rather than leader.
VI. Rules and Norms
The most important responsibility of group members is to act in a way that is most beneficial to themselves as individuals, as well as to the group as a whole. This entails that all group members need to come to sessions on a regular basis. During sessions, respect for the group leader and other members, honesty and empathy are prerequisites for the success of group therapy. Other norms include confidentiality and no social contact with other group members outside of the sessions or Internet interactions (Ford-Martin, 1999).
The group dynamic should be maintained by the interaction of the group leader and members. All group members should be aware of the rules and norms, and respect these at all times.
VII. Group activities
Group meetings will take various forms. Initial leading questions will be focused on a theme for that week. This will also be reflected on the website. Any directions suggested by the conversations will be encouraged and supported by the rest of the group. The structure of themes is very flexible and dynamic.
The group discussion will be usually be followed by light refreshments. Some group sessions will include educational materials, such as publications, videos, or experts in certain areas of grief and loss to address the group.
For special holidays such as Christmas, the group could arrange outings to parks or other settings that may be of interest. Group members could share their cultural interests and holidays, also giving the participants an opportunity for learning and relief from the focus on their pain.
VIII. Evaluation process
The evaluation process will occur on various levels: both the group leader and group members will be involved in the evaluation. Firstly, the co-leader will evaluate the group dynamics and any problems occurring within the group. Any deficiencies will then be addressed and remedied with the help of the group leader.
Members themselves will have an opportunity to evaluate the group by means of anonymous questionnaires. These will be distributed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Group members will not be required to add their names to the questionnaire, unless they prefer to do so. This will contribute to the feeling of safety that the group seeks to cultivate (Ford-Martin, 1999).
Group therapy can be extremely useful for persons suffering a particular loss. A group focusing on daughters who lost their mothers can therefore be of great help during the grieving process. Care should be exercised to maintain and handle the group dynamics correctly.
Carson, Tracy (2005). Emotions Associated with Grief. Rochester Funeral Homes. http://www.rochesterfuneralhomes.com/Resource_Guides/grief_counseling.html
Egbert, Nichole (2003, Spring). Empathy and social support for the terminally ill: Implications for recruiting and retaining hospice and hospital volunteers. Central States Speech Association, Communication Studies.
Ford-Martin, Paula Anne. (1999). Group Therapy. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Database: FindArticles.com
Gross, Donalyn. (2004, Sept.). Missing: death education for nursing facilities; Staff need to be trained in comforting dying residents, their families, and themselves. Nursing Homes, Medquest Communications. Database: FindArticles.com