The group includes older members who are suffering from some kind of loss like family, friends, retirement, declining health, death etc. These are the life changing incidents for which the members will be sad and will go through mixed emotions. The main focus of the bereavement group is to make the members understand about the grief process and how to cope up with it which is done by educating them, extending support and motivating them to have a social life.
The main elements that account for the therapeutic value of grief work are as follows:-
• It would be important to share about their loss and how they feel about it.
• Sharing their experience of loss and what are the challenges they face in their day to day life.
• They need to understand the grief process appropriately so that they can accept it and consider it as a part of life.
• Discussing topics that are the parts of their day to day life will give them confidence and strength to cope up with challenging situations.
• Getting more connected with each other by sharing the photograph or memories of their loved ones.
• Discussing the secondary losses that are faced by the members for the loss they have suffered.
• Building confidence by developing new skills or knowledge by the session.
• The feeling of touch to the members who are going through sorrow will give them hope and assurance that this is not the end of life and they can do more to gain strength to fight the situation.
• Focusing on the religious aspect and spirituality.
The advantages of using the group format for dealing with loss with older adults are:-
• Develop anxiety amongst the members to learn more pr participate.
• Make self-disclosure process easy to the members.
• Increase awareness.
• Focus on past experience and present behavior.
• Help the members to express feelings.
• Focus on their concerns or issues.
The change that is required to organize and conduct such type of group is including different activities like role play, skit, and story reading to get connected to other members' problem easily and to understand the approach and show right kind of behavior.
The challenges that can be faced in conducting this kind of group are as follows:-
• Process of screening and selection - It would be important to discuss the benefits of the group and how it can fulfill the needs of the members. Dealing with the older adult is little bit different as they are more experienced and see a bigger picture of things before coming to a conclusion. The older adults with common needs to be selected as the group members.
• Confidentiality - Confidentiality should be considered as the most important aspect for the functioning of the group.
• Impression on group members - It should be kept in mind not to be judgmental or form impression so soon about the older adults. It would be important to know them more before giving them any labels.
• Understanding the value difference - The values, experience and thought process of older member will be different from that of the leader as there will age difference between them. Thus to understand and know more about their social and cultural background will help in understanding their values.
A group treatment program for institutionalized older adults focuses on meeting the special needs of older clients before they can go home or to the community once they get psychiatric treatment. It would be very important to select members for this type of group. Individuals with different mindset or nature should be selected. The main goal of this group is to discuss the common problems the members are facing and how they can interact with each other to discuss their issues.
The specific techniques and exercises that are most useful with this particular group are:-
• Making the members interact with each other to get connected to each other easily.
• Giving importance to listening and act accordingly. In order to get connected with members it would be important for the leaders to listen to them carefully, resolve conflicts if any, understand their problems and give the solutions. Also actively listening to their sorrowful past will help them to trust the leader.
• The use of different types of exercises which help them in brainstorming, improve thinking ability, building broader picture of various aspects of life, increasing self- awareness and gives them a feeling of satisfaction.
• Sentence-completion method is one of the effective technique in generating deep thoughts and feelings which they can express easily.
A women's support group for survivors of incest group focuses on women who faced sexual abuse in childhood by trusted family member which affected their mind badly. These members face problems like lack of confidence, not getting connected to others easily, lack of trust, low self-esteem etc. There are various types of groups such as support groups, psychoeducational groups, time-limited groups, long-term or open ended groups and retreats that focus on treating the survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
The unique therapeutic factors that can promote healing in this type of group are as follows:-
• Combining the group and individual therapy in order to heal the mental condition of the members will be appropriate and effective. Individual therapy process will help the members to express their feelings more deeply and group therapy involves structured discussion process in order to give them clear insight of the issue and how to overcome and fight the situations.
• Expressing or sharing feelings or the issue with other with other members will help them to know more about each other and progress of the session. They share emotion by using art work which is expressive and this gives them clear understanding of their past experience.
• They give more focus on the goal of each member that they want to accomplish. Self-awareness and behavior pattern are important topic of discussion to give the members idea about themselves and others. They will know how about their past behavior, present behavior and what changes they need to do in order to show right kind of behavior.
• The most interesting feature of this group is by using different strategies in order to change their mindset and behavior pattern by making them do different things when they get affected like reading books, maintaining a diary which includes personal feelings, talking to family members, writing letters and not sending it and recording dreams. These are advised to them in order to control their emotions. This strategy will be very much helpful in order to make the individual control their emotions.
• Cognitive behavioral techniques and visual exercises also effective in building positive attitude.
• Reviewing the entire session at termination stage would be very essential as it will give them clear understanding of their past experience, their behavior, what they have learnt from the session and how to implement the learning in day to day process. This is done through role play or filling out the questionnaire.