• Steph Stephens, SJC Community Worker

SJC to offer grief and loss program

Last week I finalised my training which allows me to facilitate the Seasons for Growth Grief and Loss for adults program. The training is run by an organisation called Good Grief who are part of MacKillop Family Services in Sydney.

The key beliefs that underpin Seasons for Growth are that loss and grief are a normal and valuable part of life. The passing of a loved one is the loss that most of us can identify with, but loss can present in many different forms ranging from illness and disability to redundancy and retirement.

When we experience loss, the cycle of grief kicks in and affects us all differently. The dimensions of grief are physical, social emotional and spiritual.

The Seasons for Growth program aims to explore the elements of grief and loss and build resilience, peace and hope. It explores the seasons of grief and loss through the four Seasons: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer.

The program is a wonderful way to process grief and hopefully gain skills and attitudes to understand and manage that grief.

When I returned to work after the training, one of the volunteers asked me to speak to a lady who had recently experienced a complicated separation. Jasmine (not her real name) told me that her ex-husband had been very abusive and made sure that he ruled the household. He also restricted the amount of money she had access to and as she gave up work to look after their 3 children, she became financially dependent on him.

Jasmine is currently living with her youngest child at a friend’s house, so I supported her to apply for public housing and referred her to Canberra Community Law.Jasmine told me that her main problem is that she is struggling with grief and loss. She said that she finds herself crying at odd times and cannot sleep which is also affecting her appetite.

I spoke to Jasmine about mindfulness and we sat and went through some grounding techniques which could help her with her anxiety. The volunteer who referred Jasmine to me brought her a meal and a cup of tea that she really appreciated.

I explained to Jasmine about the cycle of grief and asked her if she would be interested in my grief and loss program when it is up and running. Jasmine said she was very keen to attend and as she is 6 months on from her initial separation, I knew that she was an ideal candidate.

I already have a few names on the list for the group which should be available for clients in late September. I will be advertising the group within the Community Sector and expect to receive a lot of referrals.

Kind regards

Steph Stephens

Community Worker

Items required: olive oil 500ml, tinned fruit, Vegemite and peanut butter.

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