Ackerman Launches New COVID-19 Grief Group Space

This group is for people of color who have lost a loved one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by an Ackerman Institute therapist, the group will focus on cultural traditions for the healing of grief and pain. Online meetings begin Monday, September 14th.

This virtual group will provide a safe space for participants to (1) talk about and process their grief and loss, anger and resentment associated with the death of loved ones, (2) examine cultural implications of the loss of community support, (3) explore stages of grief and loss and the benefit of mourning, (4) address treatment disparities in the healthcare system, (5) understand the importance of self-care practices, (6) learn stress management relaxation techniques, (7) and engage in traditional rituals that promote healing.

This new offering from the Ackerman Institute founded by Aquilla Frederick, is specifically intended for families, couples, and individuals of color who lack access to mental health services due to limited financial resources.

About the Group:

COVID-19 Grief Group Space – Promoting Cultural Healing Rituals and Practices

Pain can be incredibly destructive if kept submerged… unacknowledged pain destroys many people’s lives. —bell hooks

There are some practices and rituals that are unique to the African American’s grieving process in which they rely on each other for emotional support during times of loss. These traditional support systems were developed due to the brutality of African enslavement, racial oppression, and poverty to survive. By expanding kinship networks that included extended family members, fictive kin, and the community, bonds were created that were healthy and supportive. Some African Americans are less likely to seek professional help after the death of a loved one, and this reluctance to utilize healthcare or mental health services is also related to cultural biases against services that are perceived to be discriminatory. When there is a death, friends, family, and community gather to support the bereaved, where they receive comfort and strength from the presence of people around them. Religious traditions and one’s spiritual faith are also healthy approaches to death and dying that Black people use to cope with grief/loss. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these essential cultural and spiritual practices have been disrupted and are preventing these communities from engaging in grieving practices that promote healing.

According to a research study African Americans who suffer from grief in silence or isolation experience more symptoms such as anger and resentment when a loved one dies, which suggests that there is value in fostering safe grieving spaces to share loss within families and communities (Rosenblatt and Wallace, 2005).

Dates: 8 Monday sessions:
September 14, 2020, September 21, 2020, September 28, 2020, October 5, 2020, October 12, 2020, October 19, 2020, October 26, 2020, November 2, 2020.
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Therapist: Aquilla Frederick, MBA, LCSW
Location: Online

Learning Objectives:

Participants will focus on learning how to:

  • Identify cultural rituals to promote healing of grief/loss
  • Incorporate traditional practices for healthy grieving
  • Accept and express grief as an essential aspect of healing
  • Find supportive spaces in your life to acknowledge and express your pain

How to Participate:

Call the Ackerman Intake Department and mention “COVID-19 Grief Group.” No email inquires please. Phone: (212) 879-4900, ext. 122

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