Over the years our charity has been supporting people who lose a loved one to cancer, with our main provision being peer support groups. It is at these very support groups that our team have become very familiar with the difficulties people are experiencing as part of their grief, which are often things they are struggling to get support with from others around them, be that professional or personal support.
Bereavement counselling can be an extremely useful source of support for people when they are grieving. It can provide a space to talk about the loss, all that happened prior to it, and offers an opportunity for people to process all they are thinking and feeling. However, it does not always provide a platform to deal with some specific difficulties that people might be experiencing as part of their grief, for example, anxiety, difficult memories or flashbacks, or troubled sleep.
Given that cancer loss is considered a traumatic bereavement, experiencing difficult and graphic memories intrusively entering our minds is a really common ‘symptom’ of cancer loss. Yet it can be really hard to get support for that symptom in the typical bereavement support arena.
Our team of clinical psychologists designed a six-week therapy group programme to tackle these very things that people were telling us they were struggling with and for which they were not getting support. We ran the trial groups in 2016 and recently published our findings.
We were really interested to see that our short-term support reduced peoples’ levels of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, and grief intensity. Of course, our aim was not to take peoples’ feelings of grief away, but to help them cope with all that arises and accompanies grief.
Hence, we have been re-running our therapy groups over the last few months, and will be delighted to offer them again later in 2019. The more we can learn about our support, the more we can expand it to help others grieving the loss of someone they love to cancer.
You can read our published paper on the therapy groups by clicking here.
And you can register your interest in future therapy groups on our Therapy page.
Very best wishes,
Founder of The Loss Foundation