Monday, October 19, 2009

About Grief Healing Discussion Groups

[This information was last reviewed and modified on September 27, 2020]

Experience teaches us that, when facing life-threatening health concerns or the gut-wrenching grief that accompanies significant loss, we respond well to the information, comfort and support available to us on the Internet, provided that it is valid and reliable. It helps us feel as if we are not alone, exposes us to alternative ways of understanding and managing our responses, and puts us in touch with resources we might not know about otherwise.

Who can use this site?

Our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups site is accessible to anyone using the Internet.  Using a message board format, the site is specifically designed to address the individual needs of those who are anticipating or coping with significant loss.  Members can participate in forums that are separate and distinct from one another, according to their specific kind of loss: the loss of a spouse, partner or significant other; the loss of a child, parent, grandparent, sibling or friend; or the loss of a cherished companion animal.  Also included are forums for behaviors in bereavement; anticipatory grief and mourning; poetry of grief and loss; the latest news; general grief and loss topics; loss of a love relationship; new beginnings; and living with loss.  Members can join in the ongoing discussions in any of our forums, or start a new topic of their own.

How much does it cost?

While visitors are welcome to browse and registered members are free to use all the features of the site, we have added a Donate button to our pages, giving everyone an opportunity to donate toward its ongoing support. Members and visitors can contribute as much (or as little) as they can afford, and as often (or as seldom) as they choose, either all at once or over an extended period of time (that is, a recurring amount automatically deducted from a credit card each month). Donations are accepted via PayPal, credit card or bank account (where available).

How does this site differ from other online grief support groups? 

What distinguishes our  Grief Healing Discussion Groups site is that, unlike other self-help forums for the bereaved, this one is privately administered, closely monitored and professionally moderated to ensure the highest level of quality, safety and security for our participants. Every post is reviewed and read by our moderators, both professional grief counselors who visit the site several times a day.  (Our moderator feels a deep personal and professional responsibility to monitor our site in a way that encourages understanding, growth and healing. Verify her qualifications and professional credentials here.)

What about privacy? 

Membership is free, but will require that you register with a unique user name (not your "real" name) and secret password of your own choosing. Bear in mind that whatever you post on the site will be visible to anyone who visits the site, and may be searchable on public search engines. In order to protect your privacy (and prevent Internet search engines such as Google from finding you there), please do not use your full name as your display name, and do not include your address, telephone number or your e-mail address in any of your posts.
We hope that you will decide to join us!  Simply click on Grief Healing Discussion Groups, then click on the green Create Account button at the top of the page, and follow the instructions there.  (After you register, remember to bookmark the location as one of your favorite places.  Use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.)

Why offer on-line discussion groups?

Studies have shown that the more support and understanding we have around us, the better we'll cope with our grief, and the sooner we'll come to terms with our loss. Recent research indicates that message boards offering online grief support can be very effective, provided that they are professionally monitored and moderated. 

The Grief Healing Discussion Groups offer yet another way for those of us who are bound by the experience of loss to learn more about what is normal in grief, and to communicate directly with one another so that everyone can benefit from the same information. It is our hope that by posting, reading and responding to the messages written there, we'll all come to a greater understanding of each other's grief and loss, and learn to be more caring, accepting and tolerant of one another.

You are cordially invited to use these forums to give words to your grief and express whatever you feel a need to say. You can ask questions to learn more about the normal grieving process, and you can talk with others about the ones you have loved and lost. You can share stories about your loved ones, say what was so special about them, express and work through your feelings, get your concerns and reactions validated, exchange helpful suggestions and ideas for coping with grief, or reflect with one another on the meaning of it all.

If you wish to share helpful or inspirational material written by someone other than yourself (e.g., excerpts, songs, poetry, quotations), please identify and credit your sources.  If you post health or medical information that is not part of your own personal experience, please make certain that such information is correct and true (to the best of your knowledge), and cite your reference (e.g., include a link to the online resource).

Are there any "ground rules"?

Our site is accessible to anyone using the Internet.  Individuals using our site accept and agree to abide by certain basic guidelines: 
  • Bear in mind that whatever material you post on the site is visible to the public, unless or until you choose to remove it.
  • When we share with one another, we recognize that whatever is said to one person is intended to be read by everyone. If we have something to say to one person that cannot or should not be shared with everyone, we must consider carefully whether it should be said at all.
  • We do not share any personal information that we don't want everyone else to know (full names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.)
  • Messages will be monitored for accuracy, honesty and appropriateness, and we reserve the right to remove immediately and without warning any posting deemed to be inaccurate, untruthful, repetitive, inappropriate, objectionable, insulting, disrespectful or intolerant of another's loss or point of view.
  • Duplicate posting (posting the same message more than once, or in several different forums) is not permitted.
  • Disagreements are acceptable, but our visitors are expected to treat one another with all the dignity, respect and caring we all deserve. We are sensitive to the wide variety of cultural practices and spiritual beliefs that make up our entire membership. Since everyone's experience of grief is unique to the individual, and our members may be at different places in their own grief journey, we realize that what is comforting to one person could be experienced as offensive to someone else.
  • Product promotion, solicitation and other forms of advertising are not permitted on the site, and such posts will be removed immediately, without prior warning.
Are these forums designed to be a substitute for grief counseling or grief therapy?

The information offered on this site is not meant in any way to substitute for professional or medical advice. Our Grief Healing Discussion Groups are offered as a supplement to – not as a substitute for – sharing with a trusted other (relative, friend, neighbor, clergy, colleague), participating in an in-person grief support group or meeting with a professional grief counselor or therapist. The site is best used primarily for social and emotional support, and for exchanging information about end-of-life care, loss, grief and transition.

We strongly recommend that our forums be used as a compliment or adjunct to traditional grief therapy or grief counseling. It also needs to be said that some people’s needs may exceed the capacity of an online message board to help. Sometimes grief can be so complicated that people get “stuck” in the process, and they need more help than we can give them in forums such as these. Individuals struggling with complicated grief are encouraged to seek the help of a professional therapist. Persons in danger of hurting themselves or someone else, those whose anger is out of control, or those whose grief does not diminish at all over an extended period of time, will not find what they need on this site, no matter how many messages they post. Therefore we urge such individuals to seek professional assistance at once, so they can get the help they so badly need and deserve. We believe that grief counseling and individual psychotherapy are among the most precious gifts we can choose to give to ourselves, and they can change our lives for the better.

What do those who've used the site have to say about it?

We think the very individuals who’ve found their way to our site are the ones who can describe most eloquently whatever benefits they've discovered there. You can read what several of our members have to say about our individual forums here: Testimonials.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
What if you are in crisis?

The site is not intended for individuals who are in crisis and actively contemplating suicide.  If you're thinking of suicide, read this first.  If you are experiencing serious suicidal thoughts that you cannot control, please stop now and telephone 911 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

What if you need technical assistance?

If you're having difficulty and need help using the features of the site, please contact the site's administrator via e-mail (
If you wish to contact someone about your member account, contact the site's administrator (     

If you think the moderator should be aware of the existence of a post or a topic and you wish to report it, use the Report button that appears at the base of that post.

If you find that the site is down or isn't functioning properly, please contact the site's administrator (  

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.