Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about us and what we do.

Do you provide counselling or therapy?


The Centre for Grief and Healing utilizes a peer support model. Our groups and one-to-ones are facilitated by adults who guide, listen and support each person while they express their thoughts, feelings and fears to help provide a new sense of normal and understanding. None of the services provided by the Centre for Grief and Healing are counseling or therapy sessions, however, we can provide referrals for those in need of these services.




What is a "Peer Support" model?


Peer support is the help and support that is given to you by someone like you - we are the bereaved helping the bereaved. Our staff and volunteers are all trained grief facilitators with different educational backgrounds. We are not counsellors or therapists; we are people like you who have experienced a death in our family/friend circle and have undergone a similar journey of learning to cope and live with our grief. We are survivors of our grief - we can provide you with experiential knowledge, educational information and support that was and is gained through our lived experience of being similarly bereaved.




How much do you charge for your services?


The Centre for Grief and Healing is a not-for-profit organization. All services provided and programs attended are free of charge. All donations (monetary and in-kind) are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible ($20.00 minimum for receipt). We operate thanks to the generous donations of corporations, community groups, academic institutes, funders and donors like you!




What steps do I need to take before joining a group/receiving individual support?


Every person is required to complete a brief intake prior to utilizing our services. The intake process takes a minimum of 5 minutes to complete. During an intake, we will ask you for basic information such as your: Name, Date of Birth, Address, Phone Number, and Email. Afterward, we will ask you about the loved one you have lost. We will ask you for their: Name, Date of Birth and Death, Relationship with You, and How They Passed Away. These same questions can be found on our Online Intake Form and can be completed and received more quickly. After completing the intake (whether it be completed by phone or online), we will book your initial one-to-one appointment or send tentative dates and times for your initial one-to-one session with you to meet with a Peer Support Worker during our operating hours. All incoming participants must have a one-to-one prior to attending a group (see below for more information). After your initial one-to-one, you are welcome to register for group/s (unlimited use), or, you may continue having one-to-one sessions (up to 8 sessions total). Someone will contact you within 3 business days to complete the intake process.




Do I have to have a one-to-one? What is it and how many are available?


Yes. As a part of our policy, all incoming participants must have a one-to-one/individual support session with a Peer Support Worker. A one-to-one is a way for you to share your story, thoughts, feelings and fears for up to 50 minutes at your own pace should you be interested in this service or both this service and our support groups. In these one-to-ones, we will share coping strategies, experiential knowledge, and provide support while we navigate through your grief journey. If you are interested in attending support groups only, your initial one-to-one session will act as an information session whilst getting to briefly know you for up to 15 minutes. There is a limit of 8 one-to-one sessions total for those 18+. For those ages 6-17, an unlimited number of sessions is made available as we do not currently have support groups for these ages. We do not provide support for those below the age of 6.




Do I have to register for a support group if I want to attend?


Yes. We require all participants and members (who have had an initial individual peer support session) to email us the Monday of the week the group runs in order to register and attend any group (you may email any other day during the same week; however, spots are limited and fill fast). We are open from 9:00am-5:00pm Monday to Friday to check our email.




What can I expect in a group?


All open and closed groups are run by trained group facilitators that have also experienced the loss of a loved one and/or have closely supported a bereaved person. Our facilitators provide individuals with the opportunity to learn, share, and engage in conversation that will help reflect upon and work through their grief. **Due to COVID-19 and increased service demands, all our groups are being run through Zoom. Upon arrival, participants are welcomed into a calm and relaxing space (check-in required) and may be seated in the meeting circle (in-person groups). During virtual groups, we encourage you to find a safe, quiet space where you feel you can freely share and be your authentic self. Prior to beginning the session, we do a modifed seated yoga position and/or a light breathing exercise to calm the mind and body*. Following, we will do a brief check-in to see how everyone has been doing leading up to the session while introducing ourselves. Depending on the week's topic, our facilitators will pose a discussion question/topic to the group around Coping Strategies, Holidays/Events, Grief Timelines, Other Life Changes and more. This leads to an opportunity to connect with others that have experienced similar challenges and feel empowered knowing that they are not alone. *Each participant is not required to participate and may pass if they wish to do so.




Do you have age restrictions for group/individual support?


You must be 18+ to attend our: Child Loss, Guardian Loss, Partner Loss, and Mixed Loss groups. Our Youth and Young Adult Art Expression group is offered for those 14-29 years of age (currently on hold). We provide individual support (one-to-ones) for ages 6 and up.




Does my loss need to be recent to receive support?


We all grieve differently. We recognize that grief can hit us at different stages in our lives no matter the amount of time that has passed since the loss. Please join us when you are ready, whether it's soon after your loss, months later, or years later.




I'm running late! Can I still come to group?


We ask for all registered participants to arrive on time. This is to be respectful and mindful of the other participants who may be sharing/disclosing difficult information with the other group members. If you are aware that there is a chance you may be late, please email us at info@bereavedfamilies.ca. It is important to note that after group has started, the main office door will be locked 20 minutes from the group's start time (in-person). For virtual groups, you will not be admitted into the group if you arrive 20+ minutes late.




Someone in our school/workplace died. Do you provide support for this?


We provide support groups and/or educational workshops onsite for students and staff members coping with a loss and for those who are unsure of how to better support themselves and those around them. Please see our Workshop tab under 'SUPPORT' for more information.




Do you provide support for a Pet Loss?


Unfortunately, we do not provide support solely for those who have lost a pet. If you are in need of a Pet Loss support group, you may contact "Ontario Pet Loss Support Group" at: 905-272-4040 (Mississauga), 905-842-2252 (Oakville) and/or 416-782-1197 (Toronto).




Do you limit the amount of participants in group?


Yes. We cap all of our groups at 10 participants. We limit the amount of participants in group to be mindful of the amount of time available for each individual to share and be heard. We want to ensure that everyone who wants to share has the opportunity to do so.




I am unable to make it to a group I registered for. What to I do?


If you are aware you cannot attend a group you registered for, please call or e-mail us at: 905-848-4337 or info@bereavedfamilies.ca as soon as possible. This is so we have an understanding of how many participants there will be in group and/or we may provide your spot to another participant wanting to attend group.