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Internet Connections Help People Deal with Grief

People in bereavement are finding understanding and support online through internet grieving communities.

People dealing with grief often need to tell their storey, often repeatedly – and so traditional counseling (talk therapy) is an effective treatment that can help people better accept the loss of a loved one; but while talking with a counselor remains an effective strategy, people are increasingly turning to the internet to find grieving support, and in doing so are getting many of the same benefits.

At sites like Wouldhavesaid.com, Webhealing.com and Gratefulness.org, people in grief meet online to share stories of bereavement and to find an audience that really understand the feelings of loss.

Keren Humphrey, of the American Counseling Association says that the internet is "potentially a really good resource for grieving people. It's a tremendous source of understanding and support, a place where people can share their feelings." She says that through the retelling of the grieving storey, whether online or in person, a person in bereavement comes to terms with the reality of the loss.

The internet also allows the bereaved to find others in very similar situations. Clinical social worker, Tom Golden started Webhealing.com to offer a safe community where for sharing stories of grief. He recounts how a number of moms who had lost one of their twin children were able to meet up online and find some very unique support in doing so, he says,  "These women would have never found each other if it wasn't for the Internet. It has helped people connect and find other people who have similar stories. There's something healing about that."

Experts say that bonding with a person while processing grief can help a great deal, and that the internet offers a good opportunity for such supportive social relationships. They also say that people do need to stay somewhat caution on forums where, sadly, predators sometimes lurk to exploit the newly bereaved for financial or other gain. They recommend limiting the amount of personal and identifiable information that is disclosed.

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