A clinical social worker from Ontario, Canada, Cara Grosset found time to connect with Dr. Gloria Horsley during the 2015 Association on Death Education and Counseling conference to discuss bereaved families. She has been a member of the Bereaved Families of Ontario for over 25 years, has a private practice and is a staff member at Wilfrid Laurier University. Grosset specializes in working with children, teens and young adults. She’s a strong believer that this age group has a strong need to talk to each other. They need to be shown they’re not alone, and their loved ones need the education and resources to know how to support them.
In order to get teens and kids the support they need, Grosset has collaborated with school social work teams to bolster access. She works with the schools, offering one-day workshops for grieving teens and children during school hours. Many teens join the second “booster group” later in the year, and there’s even the option to become Teen Facilitators, where teens can help fellow teens navigate the grieving process.
There are some tough dynamics in school, with a grieving teens’ friends wanting them to “get over it” in a few weeks. Simultaneously, the grieving teens both want to be accommodated in some ways but at the same time don’t want to be different. These are all normal reactions, says Grosset, that need exploring. Parents also need education on how to be present for their teens, because they may want to talk at sudden and inopportune times.
The groups prioritize physical activity, art work and getting to know the teens in the group—as well as getting to know the people who passed. Working with teens is never easy, but it’s Grosset’s passion and she’s eager to share the strategies she’s learned with others.