rief is not a one-size-fits-all experience. But, those who are grieving can receive support and help through the Fort Bragg Employee Assistance Program’s Grief Journey Support Group.
Lisa Lofton-Berry, EAP manager said the group is unlike typical support groups in that it is structured and educational in nature.
EAP is designed to be solution and intervention focused, said Lofton-Berry.
“In that model, we try to find out what is happening in someone’s life that is disrupting their quality of life. If they want to move their life in a certain direction, the best way for us to do that is first to find out what is going on and then provide prevention and education resources,” she said.
With that purpose in mind, EAP teamed up with Lisa DeCandia, a community bereavement coordinator, to offer a psycho-educational, peer-support group.
“We are not doing grief therapy we are doing grief peer support,” Lofton-Berry said.
The support group uses “Walking Through Grief,” a nine-disc DVD series as an educational tool. One disc is shown each session followed by a group discussion. Sessions are held the second and fourth Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m., at the Watters Family Life Center, Building 1-3358 at Knox and Randolph streets.
DeCandia explained that grief is an emotional response following a death or a life loss.
“Grief is a hole in a person’s heart. Something a person loved is no longer there and there is no possibility of it coming back,” DeCandia said.
The loss can be the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even the total loss of a home.
Grief is a holistic experience; it impacts productivity and relationships and often, people withdraw and don’t maintain their social contacts.
“Grief can really alter an individual’s life especially if they are unprepared because they don’t have an understanding of how grief is holistic,” DeCandia said.
“Walking through Grief” uses a psycho-education approach, as well as personal experiences from people who have experienced loss.
Topics include how grief is experienced, what grief feels like, charting a course for healing, how to return from grief, how to develop a new normal, complications of grief and the five H’s.
DeCandia said the five h’s is probably the most powerful section. People who are successful with moving through the grieving process know how to follow the five H’s:
1. Hurt — Don’t pretend it is not there
2. Hope — Learn how and where to find it
3. Help — Ask for and receive help as well as help others
4. Honor — Find a way to honor and still carry them in their heart
5. Healing — The process of hurt, hope, help and honor.
In addition to the education, DeCandia said the peer-support portion of the support group is very important to the healing process because connecting with other people is vital.
She said that when people work in a group dynamic it connects them as human beings and it reminds them that they are not alone.
A peer support group helps with avoiding isolation by making an individual’s world bigger but not unmanageable.
The primary target audience for EAP services is Department of Defense civilians, Family members, retirees and reserve-component Soldiers not serving on active duty, however, education resources provided by EAP, including the grief support group, is open to the total Army community.
The program is based on a 10-day rotation with DVD one played on the first day and a group session with the Resiliency through Art program on the last day. The program is designed to allow people to join and leave at any point of the program.
To register or for more information about the Grief Journey Support Group, call Lofton-Berry at 396-5784 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.