Grief Therapy Group

By Emily Dziak and Heather Gil

Death is a natural part of life.

That fact doesn’t make it any less painful or any more bearable. Death brings pain, suffering, heartache, and grief.

“My whole family is still grieving, we’re all still affected in different ways,” Ashley Young said.

Ashley Young, a former student of NCC and editor-in-chief of The Laconic, lost her grandfather 3 years ago in May and she’s not alone. 

According to HealGrief.org, “35-48% of college students have lost a family member or close friend within the last 2 years.” 

Here at NCC counselors are available- to listen, talk, and give any advice. 

They’re even here to be a shoulder to cry on.

But for those who feel counselors can’t help. Or won’t understand-Group Grief Therapy is there.  

“Group Grief Therapy has been a student-led circle which engaged students who have been through this sort of pain and helped each other know they are not alone,” Matthew Bartholomew said.

Staff members work as facilitators so that students can speak more freely. It takes 8-12 students for group therapy to happen. It has been attempted before. But sadly, there aren’t always enough students to make it happen.

“Grief can contribute to anxiety, stress, everyone is different. We try to meet students where they are at. It might be anxiety, stress, exhaustion. We give them techniques to work through them,” Matthew Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew is an Assistant Professor Counselor. He has been a staff member of NCC for 15 years, 8 of them as a counselor. 

According to Bartholomew, it is common for students to grieve. Whether the death occurred recently or years ago. “Everyone grieves differently.” He adds that students don’t always come into counseling knowing that what they are going through is grief. 

“We could all use a few tips and tricks to get through the rough times. Listening is essential in helping to grieve,” said Young. She continues, “Hearing they’re in a better place doesn’t help…Talking about them [the students] and their life, helps.”

If interested in this or other forms of grief counseling, Matthew Bartholomew can be reached at mbartholomew@nullnorthampton.edu.