With your support, we are bringing young people experiencing bereavement together to share what they're going through in a safe, non-judgemental space. We spoke to Drama Therapist and Group Leader Pippa to find out more.
In May, we launched a new service for young people who've experienced a bereavement, a fortnightly drop-in group here at the Hospice. "In one-to-one therapy, young people were talking about feeling quite isolated by their bereavement" Pippa explains. "Even if their friends are really supportive and caring, no one really knows what it's like to lose a parent or a significant person in their life. So the new drop-in group is our response to that. It's about helping them meet peers who can relate to what they're going through."
Kamila and Pippa, Psychological Therapists
The 90-minute sessions start with the young people designing their own ground rules so that everyone feels safe in the space. "As well as the basics like being respectful when someone's talking, there's an agreement that other people's stories won't be shared by others outside of the group," says Pippa.
A 'creative check in' or ice breaker is a tactic used in the session. The group might be invited to go into the gardens and find natural materials that represent how they are feeling or how their week has gone.
"No one is expected to participate or speak if they prefer not to," says Pippa. "It's a big thing for a young person to come into a new group, particularly when the theme is so emotive."
Creative activities can help participants express things that words cannot quite convey effectively. "It's also a safe way to explore 'big' emotions from the safer distance of an item or an image, rather than talk about yourself directly," says Pippa.
The group is lightly structured so there's plenty of time and space for the young people to talk in smaller groups, eat cake and get support from staff and volunteers as well as each other.
Learning about what is 'normal' in grief and what happens inside the brain and body helps the group members to feel that they're not alone. They discover that, very often, their experiences are shared by their peers.
Pippa is constantly adapting the sessions in response to feedback from the young people so that it feels relevant and useful, and so that it becomes their space. So far, the group members are voting with their feet and choosing to come back each time. It's a welcome space for new members each week too, which means that relationships can grow.
"That's exactly what this group is for," says Pippa. "It's a place for bereaved young people to connect."Back to News