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Students of AMF Support Group Questions

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www.studentsofamf.org
National Students of AMF (supporting one another and Actively Moving Forward) is a nonprofit organization that connects and empowers college students grieving the illness or death of a loved one to support one another. The organization accomplishes its mission by creating Students of AMF Campus Chapters on college campuses nationwide, raising awareness about the needs of grieving college students, including through the annual National College Student Grief Awareness Week, and hosting national grief support programs, such as the “We Get It” Supportive Blog, and events, such as the National Conference on College Student Grief.

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Students of AMF Support Group Questions

  1. 1. Support Group Topic ExamplesWhile each chapter is unique, many support groups will inevitably broach many of the same subjects. Thefollowing are examples of topics you may wish to introduce to your support group to initiate conversation.This is, by no means, an exhaustive list and chapter members should feel free to introduce other topics asthey see fit.Pose these questions:What makes dealing with grief so difficult when you are at college (specifically)? How have many of usovercome many of these challenges?How do we cope with having a sick loved one or losing a loved one while at college?What are some of the challenges that we all face?How have family members really stepped up or not (disappointed us)?How have college friends really stepped up or not (disappointed us)?What are holidays, special occasions, anniversaries like?What do you do when you feel like “Help…I can’t concentrate on my schoolwork!”?How do you tell friends, but not close friends, when they ask you how youre doing or about your parents?What do we hope to accomplish from this bi-monthly meeting?"Alone, helpless, and guilty" are the three feelings National Students of AMF hears the most fromstudents. How can you relate to those three feelings?How do all of your other college commitments (school work, extracurricular, job, etc.) impact yourexperience of grief? And how does your grief impact school?Who you can turn to when you are in need of support? Who makes you feel better? What do they do?What makes you feel worse? What do they do?Do you ever feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed?What generates stress and what reduces it?Can you ever “get over” grief? Or do we merely learn to reconcile ourselves to it?How has your grief changed you?What makes you happy?Have your friendships with others changed since the loss?Do you feel alone? Do you avoid talking about your feelings?Do you ever ask the “why?” question? How do you respond to it?Have you ever wondered “am I going crazy?” (which is a common question for mourners to ask)?4 April 2011 version 1.0 Page | 1
  2. 2. Support Group Topic ExamplesAsk group members to:Tell their story: Allot 5-10 minutes at each meeting for a different student to "share their story" in anyway they prefer (e.g. bringing in a photo of loved one) and share whatever they would like about thatperson, their experiences, college, etc.Discuss their reactions from other people/friends using the “rule of thirds” which says that one-third of thepeople will be supportive, one-third will be neutral, and one-third will be toxic to grief. What has beenyour experience? Is it better or worse when it comes to college students?Explore their feelings of loss, which may include shock, disorganization, anxiety, anger, guilt and regret,fear, sadness and depression, relief and release.Discuss a surviving parent’s new relationships (re-marriage, dating).Offer tips for nurturing/helping yourself physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially, and spiritually.Discuss how they can honor their lost loved one with their actions.Discuss their feelings on becoming the “adult” in the family and growing up too fast.React to this statement: I’m tired of “being strong” or everyone admiring me for being strong.Discuss how the loss or illness of their loved ones affects their current relationships with friends, romanticpartners, and other family members.Discuss the loss of their gender role model/adult role model/parental role model.Share dreams about a deceased loved one.Discuss having faith and still mourning, what the role of their faith is in their grief.Share their thoughts about the six most common experiences of grief. These are in no particular order, asit is normal to move between all of these experiences and one need not travel through each experience.Does one of these experiences feel more prominent now? Accept the reality of the death Let yourself feel the pain of the loss Remember the person who has died Develop a new self identity Search for meaning in the loss Let others help you, now and alwaysTalk about other support resources on campus.Make care packages and just share stories for an entire meeting at least once a year.Share how they communicate effectively with loved ones.Discuss their experience in dealing with and/or overcoming depression.The support group facilitator should always feel comfortable sharing with the group other supportresources that are available on campus.4 April 2011 version 1.0 Page | 2

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