A new grief counseling support group is available to the ACU community, inviting those who are grieving death to take one step further in the healing process.
The sessions take place from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Alumni Conference Room on the second floor of the Hunter Welcome Center. The six-week group first met on Oct. 12 and will conclude on Nov. 30 with a Service of Remembrance, a ceremony encouraging participants to share memories, stories and photos of those who have passed on.
Steve Rowlands, director of the University Counseling Center, believes this group is an important opportunity for students and faculty alike.
“You are surrounded by others who are dealing with a similar situation,” Rowlands said. “Their experience may be different than yours, but what’s helpful to them can be helpful to you.”
These free sessions are offered to anyone grieving the death of someone they love, or knows someone who is grieving. During the sessions, participants will learn to understand what grief might look like, how different it is for each person, and that there is no “right” or “normal” way to grieve. The group is a place where confusion, anger, chaos, tears, stories, pain and out-right sorrow are welcome, according to the group’s website.
“If you’re struggling with grief but uncertain that the group is for you, it’s worthwhile to attend one of the sessions to get a better idea,” Rowlands said.
Cherisse Flanagan, director of the ACU Psychology Clinic and instructor of psychology, also believes in this healthy way for people to manage grief.
“Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we have to bear,” Flanagan said. “Counselors and groups will not take away your grief, but allow you to experience it more fully, with the support of others who care.”
Steve Eller, university counselor and facilitator of the group, also recognizes the benefit of group support. Eller emphasized the safe and respectable environment he hopes the group will embody.
“It’s a place where you can go and devote time to that loved one instead of feeling isolated and alone,” Eller said. “We aim to plant seeds, thoughts and techniques to support people. When they’re ready to work towards it, they’ll know which direction to go.”
For more information on the group or to schedule an individual appointment, contact Steve Rowlands or Steve Eller in the Counseling Center at 325-674-2626, or visit the Counseling Center.