Unfinished Conversation Group Curriculum
Guided Journey for Healing from Suicide and Loss Group
10-Week Group Curriculum
* Consider offering the group online *
Losing someone to suicide is one of the most devastating losses we can experience. The grief is complex and deeply heartbreaking. Sadly, the traces of the traumatic loss can become trapped in the mind and body, easily triggered by everyday reminders. Without the right tools, the trauma and grief can remain hidden and unresolved for years, even a lifetime. There is a great need to respond to the complex bereavement of those who have lost someone close to suicide. Sharing the experience with those who truly understand is an important part of coming to terms with the loss and healing. Creating supportive connection that is safe, consistent, and caring can help to heal the pain and separation following great loss. The “Guided Journey for Healing from Suicide and Loss Group” is a supportive process that can help those grieving to honor their loved one and gently turn toward the unresolved traces that are carried forward to begin to bring more healing, perspective, and meaning.
Based on the book Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss, this weekly program helps group members to relate with their loss in order to facilitate a transformative healing process. Different from a general support group, this comprehensive guided healing process explores a different topic each week and is paced through four phases:
(1) Stabilization: Creating Support and Honoring
(2) Processing: Coming to Terms with Memories
(3) Transformation: Finding Perspective and Meaning
(4) Integration: Deepening Healing and Wellbeing.
Each group meeting draws on many portals of transformation including directed mindfulness, self-inquiry, reflective journaling, compassionate connection, somatic awareness, music, poetry, and contemplative practices, to help move from deep despair toward greater resolution and freedom.
Consider offering this 10-week group in your community or organization or, during this pandemic, offer the group online. The curriculum was designed for the use of professionals and organizations who serve those touched by suicide loss including hospice and grief services, suicide loss support groups, high schools, colleges, social service and mental health programs, suicide prevention services, therapists and clergy, and other healing professionals.
The curriculum was developed by co-authors Marilynne Chöphel MFT and Robert Lesoine MA, Ed.
The curriculum is a comprehensive package that provides everything you need to offer a 10-week guided healing journey. The curriculum can be used as-is, or can be adapted for the needs of your group. The package includes Weekly Lesson Plans, a Welcome Packet for Participants, and Instructional Materials for the Group Leaders.
The 10-week guided healing process is paced through four phases, with a different topic each week:
Stabilization: Creating Support and Honoring
1. The Journey Ahead and Setting Intention
Guided Practice: Creating Intention
2. Creating Support and Honoring Your Loved One
Guided Practice: The RAIN of Self-Compassion
Processing: Coming to Terms with Memories
3. The Journey Begins – Shock and Disbelief
Guided Practice: Self-Compassion Break
4. Beginning the Conversation
Guided Practice: Mindfulness Meditation
5. Deepening the Conversation
Guided Practice: Tonglen Meditation
6. Journey through Grief
Guided Practice: Compassion Meditation
7. Remorse & Regret
Guided Practice: Forgiveness Meditation
Transformation: Finding Perspective and Meaning
8. Emerging Perspective and Meaning
Guided Practice: Kindness Meditation
Integration: Deepening Healing and Wellbeing
9. Continuing the Conversation
Guided Practice: Equanimity Meditation
10. Honoring and Closure
Guided Practice: Mindfulness Meditation
Welcome Packet for Participants
Includes a flyer and welcome letter to adapt for your own needs:
- Sample Group Flyer
- Welcome Letter to Group Members
- Weekly Topics & Practices
- “The Journey Ahead” Group Member Agreements
- Support through Loss and Grief Resources
- Book Flyer
Instructional Materials for the Group Leaders
The curriculum materials offer a healing process with full guidelines, instruction, and exercises that can be used as-is, or adapted for your own use to respond to the unique needs of your group. Also included are guidelines and resources for the Group Leaders.
- Welcome Packet for Group Leaders
- Tips for Creating Your Group
- Instructions for Opening Circle, Guided Meditations, Group Share, and Closing Circle
- 10 Lesson Plans: A healing process is offered for each weekly topic with full guidelines, instruction, and exercises.
- Guided Interactive Exercises for self-reflection, dyads, and small groups
- 12 Guided Contemplative Practices
- 10 “Returning to the Present Moment” guided practices
- 10 Inspirational Poems and Quotes
Farewell Packet for Participants
- Farewell Letter to Group Members
- Continuing Reflections
- 2 Inspirational Handouts
- Resources for Continuing the Journey
- Group Evaluation Form
Because of the complicated bereavement and unique needs of those healing from suicide and traumatic loss, we recommend that your group be run by Co-Leaders:
- Group Leader who is a licensed professional (therapist, social worker, counselor, medical provider, teacher, clergy, etc.) or an experienced facilitator of a suicide loss support group; and,
- Co-Leader who is a survivor of suicide loss, with at least one year following their loss.
The “Guided Journey for Healing Group” is not an alternative to therapy. We recommend that your group members participate in their own therapy with a licensed mental health professional during the course of the group to be supported at a deeper and more personal level than the group setting. The curriculum and materials we provide are offered as a suggested format, do not constitute specific advice, and we are not responsible for the group members’ experience. If you have any questions or concerns about a participant’s adjustment or mental health, please consult with a local licensed mental health professional.
“Guided Journey for Healing from Suicide and Loss Group”
Curriculum Package – $75 (cost of printing and shipping)
Send an email to:
Subject Line: “UC Curriculum Order”
Please include your name, organization or group, shipping address, email address, and phone number.
Payment: An invoice will be sent to you for payment by PayPal.
Once your payment is received, an email will be sent with an attachment of the “Welcome Packet” documents to adapt for your own use, and the Curriculum Package binder of materials will be mailed to you. If you are not fully satisfied, please return within 30 days for refund, less a $15 processing fee.
Please note that a sliding scale is available for those with financial hardship, as we want this healing program to reach all who can benefit.
For more information contact:
Marilynne Chöphel MFT, Co-Author
[email protected] • (925) 962-1042
“The Unfinished Conversation group curriculum is quite unlike anything I’ve seen in its category, and I would say it is substantial, comprehensive, rich, and well thought out. You have done a masterful job developing this support group model, and I hope you have great success implementing it widely.”
~ Review by Franklin Cook MA, CPC, a peer grief support helper, trainer, and advocate since 1999, specializing in grief after suicide and other kinds of sudden death. He has also served as a consultant to TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) since 2012, helping deliver peer grief support to families who have lost a loved one in the military from any cause. Currently, he is working with the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services to develop peer grief support services in Massachusetts for people bereaved by a death from substance use. He owns the private consultancy Unified Community Solutions (unifiedcommunities.com) and delivers video peer support to bereaved people through his Personal Grief Coaching service (personalgriefcoach.com).
For more reviews of the book Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss, go to Book Reviews.
Thank you for helping to bring support and healing to the hearts and lives of those touched by great loss.