New Hope Grief Support Community provides the Greater Long Beach community and surrounding cities with grief support services, education, resources and hope. Our programs serve children, teens, young adults and adults. New Hope provides essential grief support for a universal experience that is still misunderstood and taboo in our society.
Each support group runs for 9 weeks and meets once a week for 1.5 hours, typically in the evening. Each group will consist of 10-12 people. Each group member will be provided with the materials they will need for each group meeting. The is a fee for the 9 week group to cover your registration, materials costs and the facility. Although we charge a small fee, New Hope will never turn anyone away because they cannot afford to pay.
Here at New Hope, we believe that:
- Grief is a natural reaction after a death.
- Grieving people deserve the opportunity to experience the healing process in a safe, warm and nurturing environment.
- The healing process is enhanced through the friendships and connections that are developed in support groups.
- Grief education programs offer professionals the essential training they need to better serve members of our community.
People who are grieving the death of a loved one often feel alone, like no one understands what they are going through. They often find themselves dealing with a flood of emotions and life changes. New Hope offers Grief Support Groups, so those grieving a death do not have to grieve alone. They can have a safe, supportive, caring environment to share without judgment. We believe supportive grief groups can help people on their journey of grief to discover they are not alone and gain the tools, education, and support they need to carry on.
There is a growing realization among those who care for the bereaved that support groups are an appropriate and effective way to help bereaved people heal. Because they offer a safe place for people to do the work of mourning, support groups encourage members to reconcile their losses and go on to find continued meaning in life and living. Attending a support group facilitated by our skilled leaders often brings comfort and understanding beyond many peoples’ expectations.
Support groups help bereaved people by:
- Countering the sense of isolation that many experience in our shame-based, mourning-avoiding culture.
- Providing emotional, physical, and spiritual support in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
- Allowing them to explore their many thoughts and feelings about grief in a way that helps them to be compassionate with themselves.
- Encouraging members to not only receive support and understanding for themselves but also to provide the same to others.
- Offering opportunities to learn new ways of approaching problems (e.g. the friend or in-law who lacks an understanding of the need to mourn and pushes you to “return to normal”).
- Helping them trust their fellow human beings again in what for many in grief feels like an unsafe, uncaring world.
- Providing a supportive environment that can reawaken their zest for life.
In short, as group members give and receive help, they feel less helpless and are able to discover continued meaning in life. Feeling understood by others brings down barriers between the bereaved person and the world outside. This process of being understood is central to being compassionate with oneself as a bereaved person. The more people are compassionate to the bereaved from the outside in, the more the bereaved are capable of being self-compassionate from the inside out.
Our mourning-avoiding culture often forces bereaved people to withdraw from insensitive friends and family or to adopt ways of avoiding the painful, but necessary work of mourning; support groups, which instead foster the experience of trusting and being trusted, can do wonders in meeting the needs of bereaved people. In our bereavement support groups, members can achieve a balance between giving and receiving, between independence and an appropriate, self-sustaining dependence. The group provides a safe harbor where hurting people can pull in, anchor while the wind still blows them around, and search for safe ground on which to go on living.
Growth means encountering pain
The death of someone loved naturally brings about emotional, physical, and spiritual pain for us as human beings. Forums such as support groups provide us with a safe place where we can embrace our pain in “doses.” Encountering the pain of the loss all at once would overwhelm us and leave us defenseless. Sometimes bereaved people need to distract themselves from the pain of the loss, while at other times they need a “safe harbor” to pull into and embrace the depth of the loss.
Growth means change
Experience has taught us that we as human beings are forever changed by the death of someone in our lives. To “resolve” you’re own or someone else’s grief often denotes a return to a homeostasis (inner balance) that was present prior to the death. We believe this model of care is inadequate and often damaging to bereaved people of all ages.
Growth means a new inner balance with no end points
While the bereaved person may do the work of mourning to recapture in part some sense of inner balance, it is a new inner balance. Our hope is that the term growth reflects the active, ongoing process of mourning.
Growth means exploring our assumptions about life
The encounter with grief reawakens us to the importance of utilizing our potential. The concept of potential in this context could be defined as our capacity to mourn our losses openly and without shame, to be interpersonally effective in our relationships with others, and to continue to discover fulfillment in life, living and loving. Loss often serves as a catalyst to becoming more of what we can be instead of staying exactly what and where we are. Loss seems to educate the potential within. Then, it becomes up to us as human beings to embrace and creatively express this potential. Growth is about not settling for homeostasis, but looking for and seeking out how we are changed by this death. Growth means discovering our gifts, our potentials, and using them to bring meaning to the lives of others.
New Hope helps grieving people find hope and healing. Our approach is holistic and focuses on the whole person—physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and socially. We believe that each grieving person deserves a pathway to hope & healing, ultimately leading them to their new normal.