The Good Grief Group

meets once a month:

*Second Thursday*  

7 to 9PM

Center for Integrative Health and Healing of Seal Beach

Donations gratefully received

No-one turned away for lack of funds

Preregistration is required; space is limited

Contact me to sign up 

So much loss in a human life and grief is the elephant in the room. From break-ups and divorce, job loss and retirement, moving house, empty nest, growing old, ill health and, of course, death - where is it safe in our culture to talk about these things that break our hearts, let alone honor them?

The Good Grief Group is not a support group, nor is it group therapy. We gather in a circle, loosely based on Native American Councils, and after a time to center body and mind, we pass around a Talking Stick and either talk (or not talk) about whatever is weighing us down. What makes our group different from therapy is that when holding the Stick, you speak to the center of the circle and you can hear yourself think out loud. It is speech without reaction from others - even passing a tissue is frowned upon because it is intrusive, it breaks a person’s concentration. It is extraordinary how much we use our words and guide our speech according to who is listening. 

So here the lights are dim, the speaker can talk freely, the others are silent witnesses. Whatever is said is held in confidence; no-one will offer unsolicited advice or commiseration. It can be intensely moving, to share raw experience with others who need only listen without judgment or comment. The listeners understand that we are being offered a rare look at how life is for another human being underneath the polished social mask.  

After the Talking Circle comes into silence, usually of its own accord, usually after about an hour, we settle into a comfortable posture for a guided meditation, and finish the evening with a simple ritual involving small semi-precious stones. Refreshments are available throughout the evening, and sometimes we linger afterwards to talk freely. 

My qualifications for leading such a group, since I am not a licensed therapist, are a long-standing interest in death. This one certain thing that we all have to face, why are we so shocked when it happens? Twenty years ago, my mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm and I became a hospice volunteer to see what it's like when death happens slowly over time. Ten years later, my father died in my arms. Relatives, dear cousins, friends, my husband's parents and his three brothers - all dead now. The masses of books I have read, the workshops and courses  I have attended (led by Stephen Jenkinson, Mirabai Starr),  the course I taught on preparing for death using Kathleen Dowling Singh's wise and challenging book The Grace in Aging, plus my own yoga and meditation practices help me fill a role I’ve heard described as 'compassionate helper.’ My job is to hold the space, to be the time-keeper, to bring things to a suitable close.

I guide us in a compassionate exploration of how to grieve our sorrows together. From telling our stories in a sacred circle through to the final guided meditation and closing ritual, we leave feeling comforted, supported and heard.

Contact me if you would like more information, to be added to the Good Grief Group email list, or to let me know you'd like to attend a meeting.  

"Listening creates a holy silence. When you listen generously to people, they can hear truth in themselves, often for the first time. And in the silence of listening, you can know yourself in everyone. Eventually you may be able to hear, in everyone and beyond everyone, the Unseen singing softly to itself and you.​"

~Rachel Naomi Remen



Center for Integrative Health and Healing, 



Second Thursday of the Month: 7 -9 PM



 From Long Beach: It's a straight shot up Seventh Street, get on the 22 Freeway, and take the first exit to Seal Beach Blvd. Keep in the right lane on the exit ramp. You have a choice of turning right towards Rossmoor or going straight ahead. You want straight ahead. 13001 is the big brick building immediately across the street. Take the first left into the parking lot. There is ample parking, covered and otherwise. The building is wheelchair accessible. Enter through the front door and take the elevator up to the third floor. Turn right, follow the hallway to the end.