Support Group Frequently Asked Questions
What is your program for children, teens and young adults?
We provide peer support groups for children/teens from 3-18 years of age and their families, as well as young adults 19-30+. We provide no private therapy or counseling. Participants meet others who also have experienced the death of a parent, primary caretaker, brother, sister or teen friend because of illness, accident, suicide or homicide.
Children ages 3-5 are grouped together. During the every-other-week, 75-minute session, these children experience “talking circle” time and can express their feelings and thoughts through play activities in the art room, the play room, the volcano room or in the backyard.
Children ages 6-12 are divided into groups based on who died and how that person died. We have special groups for those who have experienced a suicide, illness, sudden or violent death. Sessions are 90 minutes every other week. Children participate in “talking circle” time plus opportunities to process grief in play activities of their choice in the various program rooms.
Middlers (ages 11-14) and teens( ages 13-18) are placed in groups together. Most teens choose to talk together during the every-other-week, 90-minute sessions. Teens can choose, also, to go to the various rooms and outside for activities of their choice.
Groups for parents and caregivers of participating children and teens meet at the same time as their children.
We also offer two groups for young adults – one for people 18-25 and one for people 26-35ish.
All groups are facilitated by trained volunteers who are in turn coordinated by the professional staff of The Dougy Center.
How much does it cost?
We do not charge a fee for the groups. We invite families to make a tax-deductible monthly pledge that they can afford. The pledge is entirely voluntary. No family is ever denied services because they cannot contribute. Because the Center is a nonprofit organization, we rely on contributions from families and the community to cover the costs for each child/teen. Because we provide support groups and not therapy, insurance policies do not cover our services.
Is there a long waiting list?
We hold informational orientation sessions twice a month. Usually within a few weeks from the initial call and completion of our “Telephone Intake Information Form” a family will be able to attend an orientation. Once a family has completed and returned the application forms, they are offered an every-other-week support group.
What happens at the one-hour orientation?
We explain the program to adults and children/teens in separate groups. Questions are answered. A tour is given. Children and teens see a video of The Dougy Center produced by the TV program 20/20. The adults learn about how to have a child or teen begin participation at the Center and receive all the application forms. Coming to an orientation does not mean the child/teen becomes a participant. We encourage the adults to allow the children and teens to make the final decision for themselves.
There is not an orientation for young adults. If you would like to join the young adult group, call The Dougy Center at 503.775.5683.
How long after the death does a family need to wait before calling?
A family can call and start the process for participation as soon as they are ready. We believe each person and family grieves differently, and the family is the best judge of when they are ready to deal with the death in a support group.
How long is a family expected to attend groups?
We believe in the uniqueness of the intensity and duration of grief for each individual and family. Children/teens choose when to start and when to stop attending. When a family is enrolled in a group, we expect regular attendance. A family is expected to call if they must be absent. Continuity of attendance is important to build the peer group into a supportive environment for the grief work. The average length of attending groups is one year but it varies greatly from few sessions to 2-3 years.
What if a child/teen needs private therapy?
The Dougy Center does not provide therapy or counseling. We have a list of referral therapists who counsel children, teens, and/or adults with grief issues. Upon request we provide information we have about individual therapists. We do not endorse therapists, but provide information by which a family can select a therapist for their particular needs.
How do I get my child/teen started?
The steps for getting into The Dougy Center are:
1. A parent or guardian calls 503-775-5683 and a staff member takes basic information about your family and the person who died. We will schedule your family for an orientation appointment. Your questions about The Dougy Center can be answered. If you need advice about grieving children or teens, a program staff person will talk with you.
2. You and your family come to your informational orientation appointment to tour the Center, to be introduced to the staff and program, to discuss the requirements for participation and to ask questions. You will receive application forms, and we will explain them at this time.
3. After the orientation your family will discuss participating. If interested, you complete and return the application forms.
4. When we receive your completed application forms, we will call you regarding openings. You and your child/teen will be invited to the appropriate group meeting.