Concerns about group sessions

For those who wish to share how your faith has helped you deal with the suicide of another perons -- if you can do so in a non-preachy way.

Concerns about group sessions

Postby LostFox » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:49 am

I talked briefly to a grief counselor two days ago. He's going to set me up with a counselor who specializes in loss by suicide. He also said that a suicide support group should be forming soon. I was very excited about this... still am. It will be nice to have people to talk to, face-to-face.

But now I'm starting to worry a bit, about the spiritual aspects since religious/spiritual beliefs are often so intertwined with grief. Strictly speaking, I'm an atheist. I also identify as a Natural Pantheist (if you can imagine Modern Paganism/ Ecclectic Wicca without the gods and magic, you'll be pretty close). And while I am in one of the more liberal pockets of Georgia, I am still very much in the Bible Belt of the United States.

I have been attending the Celtic Mass at a local Episcopal church for the past few months. Most of my friends in this city go there, and I enjoy the ritual. It kind of reminds me of my Pagan days. I can stand religiosity, to a point. The people I'm close to at that church know I don't believe, and generally it isn't an issue. I guess my main concern is that it might be an issue in the grief group. I don't want to be comforted with ideas of Heaven, or God. I don't want people to try to convert me. I want the group to be a good experience, not a theological nightmare.

Earlier this year, I was involved in a paranormal investigation group. It wasn't run very well anyway... But at the last meeting I attended, the lady who led it became very preachy and started waving around her book on spiritual warfare and saying the group's purpose was to "glorify God." I was able to contain myself and leave the room for a few minutes, but... I was very angry. Because while she didn't know my specific beliefs, she did know that there were a variety of beliefs present in that group. I don't want to experience that again, especially in a group that I know I need. And I don't want to be rejected because I might not be like everyone else. But I want to be honest.

Does anyone have suggestions or advice? Is anyone else in a similar situation?

-- Zach
LostFox
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Re: Concerns about group sessions

Postby Crystl » Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:06 pm

Hi lostfox..i too am like you and not deeply religious..but I am spiritual
I am in 2 groups..one is Survivors Of Suicide and the other Compassionate Friends.(parents who've lost children)
neither of these groups allow religious preaching and as yet we havent' encountered anyone trying to force this onto us..
can you talk to the group leader before you start and ask about the 'rules'?
we are also able to get up and leave if we feel at all upset about anything at anytime...

I hope it works for you when it gets started...Good Luck!
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Re: Concerns about group sessions

Postby LostFox » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:43 pm

Thanks. This gives me some hope and comfort. The group I'll be in hasn't even formed yet. But being able to discuss rules sounds like a good idea. Being able to leave when upset sounds like a good rule too. I really hate being upset and feeling like I have to be glued to my seat.

Thanks.
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