[Being helped by helping others: experiences of relatives with bereavement support groups--an exploratory study].

Tijdschrift voor gerontologie en geriatrie

PubMedID: 2042236

de Boer OF, van der Wal J. [Being helped by helping others: experiences of relatives with bereavement support groups--an exploratory study]. Tijdschr Gerontol Geriatr. 1991;22(2):61-7.
The experiences of 33 bereaved persons who participated in bereavement support groups were surveyed by means of a semi-structured questionnaire. Inquiries were made into experienced social support, expectations of--and experiences in--the group, group management, and satisfaction with the group and group leadership. Groups had on average ten participants, two group leaders--one being a professional worker--and met for twelve sessions. The majority of respondents were very satisfied with the experience of participating in a bereavement support group as well as with group leadership. Important factors for participants were the experience of not being the only one with feelings of bereavement, the opportunity to express those feelings, and of being accepted with their feelings of loss and to be in a position to help others. The role of group leaders appears to be mainly a facilitating one. No definite recommendations can be made on the basis of this research, and further research into this type of psychological help and its effectiveness is therefore recommended.