Seasons for Healing
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are often very familiar with grief, and for many it is a complex, multifaceted and often overwhelming experience. Seasons for Healing is a culturally appropriate small group grief and loss education program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults who are managing experiences of change, loss and grief.
The program has been developed by Good Grief in partnership with Aboriginal Family Support Services (SA) with funding provided by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.
Seasons for Healing is a based on the successful Seasons for Growth Adult Program, and has been developed in response to requests for a culturally appropriate program to support Aboriginal adults in responding to their often complex experiences of change and loss.
The Seasons for Healing small group program is facilitated by two trained 'Companions' over 4 x 2.5 hour sessions delivered over two or four days to small groups of 4-7 participants.
Two or three topics are covered in each season with the program, and include:
* Seasons and change (autumn)
* My story and grief reactions (winter)
* Feelings and memories (spring)
* Forgiveness, choices and moving forward (summer)
Trained Companions facillitate the program using a person-centred approach, and people in the group support and learn from each other in a range of activities designed to invite reflection, sharing and conversation. People in the group learn that they are not alone in dealing with the effects of change, loss and grief and have the change to listen and speak, make decisions, solve problems and think about plans for the future.
Where possible an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Companion should be one of the two co-facilitators supporting each group. Companions need adequate time to plan, deliver and debrief together to ensure a safe, culturally appropriate small group experience for participants.
This program does not provide counselling or therapy.
Seasons for Healing Theory
Seasons for Healing draws on the story of the seasons to talk about experiences of change, loss and grief. The differences between seasons, the changes in seasons from year to year and their cyclical nature are all part of the story of the seasons, and this shared story allows people to learn and reflect on their own life experiences in a safe and familiar context.
The four seasons each link to one of J. William Worden's (4th ed, 2009) four tasks of grief:
* Accept the reality of the loss
* Process the pain of grief
* Adjust to a world without the person/place/thing
* Find an enduring connnection with what has been lost in the midst of embarking on a new life
What people say about Seasons for Healing
"It was nothing that I had expected. I was much better. It's positive spin makes you want to participate. I never thought I would be laughing in a grief and loss program. It wasn't what I expected. No one thinks positive when you think of grief and loss."
"The things it made me think of - wow, did that come from my own brain?"
"There were lots of activities to do. The activities helped up to voice it - having it in front of you helped to release it in words."
"Different ages can learn from each other. We learnt from the oldies and the youngies learnt from us. It gives balance