Self-Help and Peer Support Virtual Group Guidelines
Group members will:
1. Practice confidentiality.
- What’s said here in each session stays here, who you hear here in each session stays here and please don’t use names of ‘outside’ people when sharing within the group.
- Ensure you are in a private environment during this group. If you are not in a private environment, use earbuds/headphones and turn off your incoming video, to ensure anonymity and confidentiality for all.
2. Practice virtual group etiquette.
- Muting your microphone when you’re not speaking.
- Turning your camera off if you want to smoke, vape, or eat.
Please use the hands up function when you’d like to be heard, remembering to put your hand down afterwards.
3. Create space for all to share.
Which includes holding back to make space for quieter people to participate.
4. Practice respect for all.
Including respecting differences of opinions and approaches to recovery, all forms of diversity and the rights of all people within the group to feel respected.
5. Use person-first language and speak from your own experience.
When talking about your experiences, avoid going into specific details that may trigger other group members.
6. Be mindful not to reinforce stigma in your language, for example, when talking about your own or someone else’s body size or shape, or about someone’s mental health status.
7. Be responsible for your own self-care.
You do not have to share if you do not want to and always feel free to pass if you’d like. If you need to step away from the group and practice self care, please do so. If you do need urgent support after the group, please let the facilitators know.
Peer Support Meeting Dates 2023
Each meeting is on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
This is a free open group.
January 17 – February 21 – March 21 – April 18 – May 16 – June 20 – July 18 – August 15 – September 19 – October 17 – November 21 – December 19
Recommended Reading and Videos:
- The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic: Boss, Pauline: 9781324016816: Books – Amazon.ca
Coping with Ambiguous Loss: The Myth of Closure: a YouTube podcast with Pauline Boss
Dealing with Grief and Loss: David Kessler’s website
Tips from a mother: Sally Fowler’s Advice to hikers
Maureen Trask - Facilitator
Maureen has been a long-time resident of Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada until May 2017 when she made Puslinch her home. She has a BA in Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and is retired from a 40 year career in Information Technology. On Nov. 3, 2011 she was confronted with the most challenging situation of her life when her youngest son, Daniel, went missing. This set her on a journey of searching, not only for Daniel, but also for information and resources.
During the early years, Maureen was shocked to discover the lack of support services for families like hers, and little community understanding of what families needed. This put her on a path to helping families of the missing by facilitating peer support groups to share our lived experiences and to acknowledge our loved ones in a safe and caring space.
She remains an advocate for families by raising awareness and providing training for those who can help support families. She is also actively engaged in collaborating with families, Police, Victim Services, community agencies and the media to introduce legislation and policy that will help the families and the missing on their journey of uncertainty, living with Ambiguous Loss (Dr. Pauline Boss).”
Laura Gray - Facilitator
Laura is a mother to three, including Jacob who went missing in 2017 – a grandmother to 7 (two of which are foster adopted.) She was a long-time resident of Santa Cruz, CA before moving to the Pacific NW in 2020.
She has a MS in Accounting, and a BS in Business Management with a minor in Psychology. She is a financial and management consultant providing accounting services to clients in the Portland Metro area. She was privileged to stay-at-home with her children, while building a 30-year career as an entrepreneur in construction design, real estate development, music, manufacturing, and business consulting.
Jacob’s missing story began in April of 2017 with his bike sited on the side of the Sol Duc River in the Olympic National Park, WA. Authorities quicky decided Jacob slipped in the river chose to wait on the search. The bulk of the search fell on family who began a determined search effort to find him. Her journey required intense social media presence (FB Group Find Jacob Gray), dealing with multiple jurisdictions and agencies, working with local community, and media outlets. After sixteen months of searching, his remains were found by volunteer marmot biologists at the top of Hoh Lake in August of 2018.
Life has presented many difficulties and changes: the biggest being the search for her child, but also a child with addiction and abuse issues, foster adopting her grandchildren, divorce, the death of a parent, family dysfunctions, abandonment, and financial loss. Experience brings a boatload of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. It is Laura’s heart to use these lessons and help other families navigate the process of searching for their loved ones, and support them through the pains of life that exist in concert with their search.