Six Elements You Need in Grief

Six Elements You Need in Grief

"You need all types of support; those who can go deep with you, those that can distract you, and/or listen to you..."

6 Elements You Need In Grief (David Kessler)

1. Surround yourself with community
• You need all types of support; those who can go deep with you, those that can distract you, and/or listen to you
• Grief isolates and community and support is important.

2. Continued Connections with the loved one who has died
• It has been said, “grief is love that has no place to go.” Love doesn’t have to stop
• Do rituals that connect you to your loved one, like things you liked to do together
• Say their names
• Share memories of them with others

3. Grief does not define you
• Remember to honor grief but don’t lose yourself in it; It is not who you are.
• You don’t have to use terms like “widow”
• Remember your loved one with more love than pain but with your own pace

4. Treat yourself as your best friend
• Grief is on the inside; mourning is what you do on the outside
• Don’t rush yourself
• Be kind to yourself. One way is to direct ask. Example: let others know when birthdays or anniversaries are coming up and ask for their support

5. Don’t compare
• Comparison is tough in grief; if you win the comparison, you still lose
• What someone thinks of your grief, is none of your business
• Be gentle and true to yourself; honor your pace

6. Count your wins
• This is where growth happens
• Count all wins even little ones, like waking to take a shower

From David Kessler – The 6 Elements You Need in Grief

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

June 2021 News

June 2021 News

Get the latest news from The Refuge Center...

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Why Group Therapy?

Why Group Therapy?

“We are wounded in isolation; we are healed in community.”

“We are wounded in isolation; we are healed in community.”
As a group therapist, I am all about group therapy, so it’s not hard for me to rattle on for hours about the benefits of it. But, then I was invited to write this blog about group therapy, and I thought, “Yea, easy for me to say it’s awesome because I’m a therapist.” So I thought I’d let group participants speak for themselves about their own experiences in group therapy. After reviewing surveys from recent groups at Refuge, I found some themes that nearly every person touched on, highlighting the overall benefits of group therapy.


Safety: One recent group participant noted it was impactful to have “a safe space to express and learn” and another said they felt “accepted and welcomed.” I bet you can easily think of a time when you’ve shared something difficult or personal and someone responded terribly—either flat-faced no response; freak out fix-it mode; or fill in the blank with any number of awful responses. And I’m willing to bet this didn’t make you feel better and that it didn’t encourage you to open up again. Emotional, psychological, physical, and relational safety are of utmost importance when participating in group therapy. To actually heal, to actually do the work and achieve the goals you have, safety is essential. The great news about group therapy is that you have one or two people (therapists!) whose whole job it is to keep the space safe for everyone. You can sit back and share, trusting that your safety is being attuned to and maintained throughout the process. This creates the opportunity, as one participant says, for “being able to share with people who care.”


Connection: Every single group participant surveyed identified the gift of being able to connect with others in group therapy. Every. Single. One. This “chance to connect and be heard” is, in my opinion, the greatest benefit of group therapy. Our current culture is full of ways to “connect” but how often is that connection authentic, reciprocal, or supportive? Participants noted in a group they “felt seen and heard” and “accepted and welcomed.” And to someone’s surprise, they learned, “It helps to share your feelings.” Not only are you able to connect with “people who share a similar experience,” you can also connect with yourself more sincerely. As one participant put it, “I learned more about myself.”


Learning: Group therapy is a perfect environment for learning new skills and perspectives, gaining insight, and enhancing self-awareness because not only are you sharing and exploring, you are also witnessing and supporting others as they explore and learn. One participant said, “I felt like I could use the group as a training ground for real life.” Think of how much of your life is spent in the context of relationships. With that in mind, what better way to learn and practice new skills or information than in a room full of other humans in relationship with each other! Another participant noted that learning and growing with others was “really impactful and cathartic.”


Empowerment: With the safety, connection, and learning multiplied, group therapy can move you to a place of empowerment. Participants noted the ability to “to navigate my problems the way I need to;” “to identify what I need to work on;” and “to have a new way to deal with my problems.” Some participants even noted increased motivation because of participating in group therapy: “This makes me want to do the work.”


Safety–>Connection–>Learning–>Empowerment


And if you’re still a bit skeptical about showing up in a room with strangers to be vulnerable, you’re in good company. One participant stated, “I did not think a group session would be helpful, and now I look forward to my next experience.” I would encourage you to do an experiment- join a group, check it out, go for 2-3 weeks, and see what happens. Sometimes we have to show ourselves that the world keeps turning even if we do a scary thing.

Blog written by Hannah Owens, LCSW – Director of Groups and Intensives at The Refuge Center

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

May 2021 News

May 2021 News

Get the latest news from The Refuge Center...

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Designated Quiet Time

Designated Quiet Time

Take a minute to think of a time when your mind was calm and the concerns of the world were quiet…

Take a minute to think of a time when your mind was calm and the concerns of the world were quiet…

Isn’t it nice when we’re able to slow down and soak up the present moment? I don’t know about you, but my attempts at “quiet time” seem so easily interrupted. Any number of distractions can rush in and overtake that peaceful moment. Often times, our lives are filled with pressing responsibilities and we don’t schedule time to be still. It is healthy to make time to embrace the calm and relax our minds.

            Picking the most useful type of quiet time is up to you. Some people may like doing yoga, some may enjoy faith-based activities such as reading scripture or praying, and others might choose to soak up the sun and allow their mind to freely wonder. While there are many ways to go about it, I’d like to tell you about something called mindfulness.

            Mindfulness is a meditation where you intensely focus on what you are feeling in the moment. There is an emphasis on refraining from judgement or analysis of your experience until it is over. You may be prompted through guided imagery, attempt certain breathing methods, or use other techniques intended to relax the mind and body. There is an abundant amount of research to show the benefits of mindfulness, including significant stress relief.

            If you’re considering adding mindfulness to your routine, there are several ways to learn more or give it a try. To learn more, Google Scholar has numerous research studies available. If you want to give it a try, there are hundreds of mindfulness videos available online, including YouTube – we also have many Mindfulness Monday exercises saved to our Instagram highlights (@refugecenterforcounseling) under the tab ‘Mindfulness.’ There are also numerous apps available for all types of devices. Additionally, a mental health counselor will likely offer mindfulness and be able give you more information.

            Finding ways to reduce stress and promote tranquility are essential to our well-being. What is preventing us from adding more quiet time to our schedule? I’m confident we will appreciate the benefits if we simply give it a try!

If you need additional support, The Refuge Center is here to help! Feel free to contact us at 615-591-5262.

Blog written by Master’s Level Intern, Connor Anderson

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email