Grief and Bereavement
The death of a loved one can be the most difficult experience of a lifetime. It is not unusual to feel "waves" of overwhelm or a sense of "going crazy." Grief affects us emotionally, cognitively, socially, spiritually, and physically, in ways we often don't know are attributable to grief. For many individuals, the intensity of grief softens over time with support from friends and family, or even peer support groups. But, for others, especially those who've lost a child, lost a loved one to a death of despair or sudden accidental death, or had a long, difficult caretaking experience of an ill loved one, grief counseling is enormously helpful. I counsel individuals and couples through the experience of grief using the model of companioning, the dual process model, continuing bonds, and other supportive methods. Whether the death of your loved one happened recently or years ago, I can help you.
For individuals and families coping with end-stage illness of a loved one, I help with anticipatory grief and navigating the transition from curative care to end-of-life care.
Professional Grief and Healthcare Workers
Fatigue, irritability, blame, cynicism, anxiety. If you work in a high-loss environment, these feelings and thought patterns can be indicators of professional grief, a term coined by Dr. Elizabeth J. Clark, who was a social worker and leader in palliative care. Professional grief is the (often suppressed) response experienced by healthcare workers and others working in fields in which death is part of the job. Left unaddressed, this type of grief can lead to bereavement overload, post-traumatic stress, and burnout. Demands of the job, organizational hierarchies, and expectations of professional detachment often contribute to the suppression and ignoring of professional grief.
I work one on one and in groups with healthcare professionals, first responders, clergy, and others who experience professional grief, moral distress, burnout and work-related conditions that can impact personal and professional relationships and overall quality of life. From private, highly confidential individual therapy, educational seminars, group debriefs and interventions, and Narrative Medicine workshops, I'm here for you and/or your team.
Writing Through Loss
"We are healed by our stories." ~Terry Tempest Williams
For more than five years, I have worked with groups and individuals to help them shape their grief narratives. Those who've joined me for Writing Through Loss have found the supported process of "ordering the chaos" through writing tremendously helpful, and some have gone on to publish their work. Join me as we look closely at poems and essays that reflect the experience of grief and write together in response to prompts. Or, if you are working individually on shaping your grief story and would like support from me as you do, reach out to me as a trusted reader and editor.
Relationship and Attachment Issues
All lasting intimate partnerships, at some point, face internal and external stressors, disillusionment, and periods of crisis. How we respond to these challenges has much to do with not only our personalities and conflict management styles, but our attachment styles. I work with couples who want to deepen their connection with one another and enjoy the strengths and attributes that brought them together in the first place. Using principles of attachment theory, I help couples understand their own and one another's attachment styles, address long-held beliefs and wounds that manifest in recycled arguments and negative behavior patterns, and move together toward mutual empathy and collaboration in a secure-functioning union.
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth
Most people experience some form of trauma in their lifetimes. Different factors influence how we identify, process and cope with trauma, including personality characteristics, approaches to managing emotions, history of mental health issues, and the nature of the trauma itself. Post-traumatic growth, a theory developed by Tadeschi and Calhoun, can be summarized as the positive changes we experience following periods of crisis and trauma. Using strategies from positive psychology, cognitive behavioral, solution-focused and other therapies, I work with individuals whose functioning is impacted by the presence of acute, chronic/developmental, complex, or vicarious trauma to facilitate post-traumatic growth.
I love to share the work I do with others and am energized by opportunities to engage audiences in new ways of seeing and thinking, especially about emotionally difficult topics. I have spoken about medical ethics at end-of-life, suicide loss, perinatal loss and bereavement, professional grief, and many other topics. From small groups in classrooms to large professional conferences, and in-person weekend retreats to Zoom audiences, I enjoy connecting with and building connections among others. Let's talk about your presentation needs today.