The loss of a loved one can be a devastating experience, and in many instances can result in a normal time of grieving. Yet for some, that time of mourning may be prolonged and difficult to move past. Assistance in working through these feelings to a sense of normalcy is available through the CPN Health Services Behavioral Health Clinic.

The Hownikan spoke with Dr. Kenneth Bond about a new support group offering treatment for those suffering
from grief.

Tell us a little bit about grief support in terms of the differences between it and something like depression?

“A treatment approach for depression typically attempts to focus on unhealthy or distorted thinking processes that people engage in that contribute to depression. A therapist tries to identify how the person’s thinking is flawed and correct those flaws to alleviate depression.

“In grief, the depression is not the result of distorted thinking but is instead the natural response to significant loss. A grief support group offers the individual a means to address their hurt and pain in a supportive and encouraging environment.”

What is this new grief support group’s purpose in terms of what it will do and address?

“Grieving the loss of a loved one is an incredibly painful experience. It is natural for people to isolate for a time and withdraw from pain and hurt. Sometimes when people experience loss, they can get stuck in unhealthy coping responses such as isolating or shutting down emotionally.

“The most powerful function of a grief support group is that it offers us a place where we can not only feel safe and supported to acknowledge and deal openly with hurt, but also to re-connect to others in emotionally fulfilling ways. A grief support group also should provide individuals with information that explains the difficult stages of the grieving process. This helps people to understand not only where they are in the process, but can give them hope that things will get better.”

What are some of the signs that individuals should look for in themselves or loved ones who might benefit from joining this grief support group?

“Depression is actually a normal and even necessary response to loss. There is no fixed time limit to how long grief is ‘supposed’ to last. A good rule of thumb for considering reaching out for any kind of therapeutic support is  whether or not emotional issues are so severe or persistent that they are interfering with the person continuing with their regular daily activities. Are anger, guilt, sleep, or socializing problems continuing to limit your ability to
move back out into the world?”

Who is eligible or who might be best served by attending this group?

“The Grief Support Group is available for all Tribal members eligible for health services or spouses of Tribal members. It meets every Monday at 4 p.m. at the Behavioral Health Clinic at 26 Father Joe Murphy Drive, Shawnee, OK 74801. If people would like to learn more, please call CPN Behavioral Health Services at 405-214-5101.”