Grief and Loss
Support Group Facilitator's Manual

by Susan Hansen, M.S.

Looking for a Ready-to-Use
Facilitator's Manual for Your
Grief and Loss Support Group?

Many students today have experienced significant losses, from the death of a loved one to their parents' divorce, major life changes, friendship and relationship losses, illness or injury, and the list goes on.  Most people are not taught directly how to deal with loss or what the stages of grief or steps in the grieving process actually involve. Facilitating a grief and loss support group helps students cope with what's happening now, and it also offers them tools they can use to cope with future losses.

The Grief and Loss Support Group Facilitator's Manual contains everything a group leader needs to facilitate a 10-week grief and loss support group for students or clients ages 12 to adult.  The manual includes step-by-step activities, detailed lesson plans, handouts, support group guidelines, tips for effective group facilitation, a sample group flyer and parent permission slip, and ASCA standards for those who are facilitating a school-based support group.

The group sessions include a discussion of different types of losses, a loss checklist, the five stages of grief, five steps to take in addressing a loss, unsent letter templates, grab bag questions, and suggestions for creating a collage or other artwork to facilitate the healing process. For those who already own my earlier resource book, Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox, this manual includes updated lesson plans, standards, handouts, and an easier-to-read font for all materials.

What's in the Book?

Below is the table of contents for this manual, including the outline of each week's activities and two appendices with additional resources for this specific group and for school support groups in general.


Overall Group Objectives    

Summary of Activities  

ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors Specific to this Group  

Guidelines for Support Groups  

Tips for Effective Group Facilitation  

Grief and Loss Support Group Lesson Plans and Activities  

Session 1:  Introduction to Group / Dealing with Loss        

  • Dealing with Loss Worksheet (Guidelines for Facilitators)  
  • Dealing with Loss Worksheet  
  • I Statements and Loss (Handout)  

Session 2:  Loss Checklist           

  • Loss Checklist (Handout)  
  • Supportive Feedback and Loss (Handout)  

Session 3:  Stages of Grief             

  • Stages of Grief (Handout)  
  • Stages of Grief Worksheet  

Session 4:  Loss Survey / Introduction to Loss Packet          

  • Loss Survey  
  • Loss Packet  

Session 5:  Loss Packet, Step 1:  Tell the Story    

Session 6:  Loss Packet, Step 2:  Explore the Meanings of the Loss    

Session 7:  Loss Packet, Step 3:  Identify What Feels Unfinished       

  • Loss Letter      
  • Anger Letter  

Session 8:  Loss Packet, Step 4:  Honor What Was, and Take Steps Toward Closure    

Session 9:  Loss Packet, Step 5:  Celebrate What You Get to Keep/Create Collages  

Session 10:  Share Collages/Group Closure  

Grief and Loss Support Group Survey (Students)

Grief and Loss Support Group Survey (Parents/Guardians)

Appendix A:  Additional Resources for Grief and Loss Support Groups

Additional Unsent Letter Templates

  • Letter to an Absent Parent
  • Amends Letter
  • Loss Letter From a Loved One
  • Loss Letter After an Abortion
  • Loss Letter After a Miscarriage
  • Self-Forgiveness Letter

Suggestions for an Ongoing Grief and Loss Support Group

Grab Bag Questions (Overview)

Grab Bag Questions About Grief and Loss  

Appendix B:  More Support Group Resources

Twenty Steps to Setting Up an Effective School Support Group

Sample Support Group Flyer

Sample Parent Permission Slip

Five Stages of Group Development

Full List of ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors

Additional Resources and Susan Hansen’s Contact Information 

Choose E-Book or Paperback Book

1. E-Book: Grief and Loss Support Group Facilitator's Manual, Downloadable e-book (PDF File) – 135 pages -- $22.95 (US)

I really like the e-book option. You get it immediately, and you can always have clean copies to use with your students or clients. The e-book is in Adobe PDF file format. If your computer doesn't have the Adobe Reader software, you can easily install it for free. Your e-book purchase is 100% safe and secure.

Note: Please click the "buy now" button if you want the e-book version. To order the paperback version, click the blue link below.

Buy Now


2. Paperback Book: Grief and Loss Support Group Facilitator's Manual, 148 pages – $24.95 (US) plus shipping, from

In the continental U.S., you'll receive your printed book from Amazon in one to two weeks. It takes longer this way, but some people prefer printed and bound copy, and I understand that. You can have it in whichever form you prefer.

Click here to buy the paperback version now.


Return to the "Susan's Books" page.

Return to the School Counseling Zone's Home Page.


You can click on any book cover below to see more information about that specific book, or click the "Susan's Books" tab on the left side of the page to see overviews of all the available books on one page.  Enjoy!