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Grief counseling support group opens this semester

The Psychological Counseling Center and the Interfaith Chaplaincy are now co-sponsoring Living with Grief and Loss, a grief counseling group.

The idea for this new group began last November when Brandeis chaplains met with the staff of the Psychological Counseling Center (PCC) to reflect on ways to support and help each other due to the often overlapping nature of their work. Amy Engel, a clinical social worker from the PCC, and Matthew Carriker, the Protestant chaplain from the Interfaith Chaplaincy on campus decided to co-run the grief counseling group.

“There is no funding. Amy and I are devoting our staff time to this because we see there is a felt need for it and want to be a support to students who are experiencing grief and loss,” Carriker said.

The availability of a group such as Living with Grief and Loss is of great importance. “Amy encounters people who experience grief in her role at the PCC, and I do too in my role as a chaplain. In both of our experiences, healing after grief and loss is easier when there is a community to stand by you and support you, a place where you can be real with your feelings and the loss you’re experiencing,” Carriker explained.

“Surviving loss can be inherently lonely and too often isolating. We want to provide a welcoming supportive space for students who may have lost someone close to them recently or in childhood,” Engels said, agreeing with Carriker that healing is a process best done with others.

The support group will be a safe environment for anyone to come and talk, and learn how handle their loss. There will be discussions from suggested topics as well as coping strategies. It will run for eight weeks with the possibility of extension depending on participation.

Living with Grief and Loss will meet in the Peace Room in Usdan on Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. All interested undergraduate or graduate students who have lost someone are encouraged to contact Amy Engel at aengel1@brandeis.edu, but drop-ins are also welcome.

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