Bereavement support group for parents who have experienced the death of an adult child to cancer

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Magnusson Schimnowski, Constance A.
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The focus of this practicum was to provide a safe, supportive place where parents, whose adult children had died of cancer, could share their feelings with other parents who had experienced the same kind of loss. The theoretical approach taken was one of a combined support group and psycho/educational format. The goal of the bereavement support group was to promote the supportive atmosphere of the group while at the same time provide an educational component. The educational component was an important one in the sense that the participants learned that grief was a process which they could share with others. They learned that they were not alone in their journey. Group members met other parents whose child had died of cancer and who were experiencing the same grief reactions. The evaluation of the group's progress included mid-point and final questionnaires completed by members of the group and a structured practitioner log. The bereavement support group experience provided me the opportunity to achieve a number of educational goals which included developing an increased awareness of what parents experience when their adult child dies of cancer, enhancing skills in interviewing about loss, exploring grief and loss issues with parent survivors in a support group setting, building skills in assessment and evaluation, honing my skills as a bereavement support group facilitator and evaluating the support group intervention process, learning how this process contributed to grief resolution