Updated: Jan 30, 2022
Because sometimes that's all you can say.
As therapists we're trained to limit our facial expressions, body language, our emotionality as well as the extent to which we disclose personal information. We are essentially intended to be a "tabula rasa" which is Latin for a "blank slate". And in many ways it has it's benefits--we create an emotionally safe environment by allowing our clients to express themselves without judgement, provide genuine empathy, and motivating empowerment for personal reflection and growth. However, there are occasions when personal disclosure can assist in the therapeutic process, not to make clients feel responsible for the therapist's emotions but to build a stronger therapeutic alliance and deeper rapport. With that said, I would like to share my recent personal experience with grief.
These last few years have been challenging for so many of us all and I have not been immune to the impact of it as well. I have been dealing with my mom's health declining for over a year which has been a big challenge for me and my family- and then recently in September 2021 I lost my brother in law and mom-in law unexpectantly, in the same month. It was so devastating to my family--everything was turned upside down, nothing made sense. And to share a *big moment of transparency*- I was so overwhelmed that I considered closing my private practice for good. I was so far outside of my window of stress tolerance that I did not feel that I could be effective to my clients. I was completely out of sorts. During this time I may have been slow to respond to emails, texts, calls because truthfully--I just couldn't. (So, my apologies if I didn't get back to you or got back to you way after the fact).
Truthfully, prior to these events, I had studied grief and I know the popularized 5 stages of grief-Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I could help clients process their feelings of grief-no problem. However, after my own experience I TRULY understood as I absolutely FELT the DEPTHS of grief and I realize that like all healing-the stages of grief is not linear. One day you're moving forward, next day you're sideways, and the next you're upside down. So, as opposed to closing up shop permanently, I stopped taking new referrals, closed down for a few weeks, and limited my availability. In addition to a decreased schedule, I also sought out an EMDR therapist of my own as well as an acupuncturist- Megan owner of Holistic Care Medicine in Bala Cynwyd, PA- she is amazing-tell her I sent you! (No seriously, tell her! lol). I also did a reset on my gut health with probiotics, fish oil, and a multivitamin as the gut has been called our 'second brain' due to links found between our digestive system, mood, health, and the way we think. These two services along with my focus on my gut health truly helped me to return to my baseline of functioning over the months following my family's significant loss. Truth be told, I am still grieving but I have moved further along in my process of acceptance and understanding. Grief and loss is a universal experience and I wanted to provide a safe space for those to process their experience in a group setting- I wanted to turn my grief into something good. Thus I have created "Good Grief" -a virtual grief processing group that will be meeting weekly for 5 weeks. If you are interested in learning more please fill out the assessment form here and you can sign up here.
Grief comes in many forms and I also started a group entitled Healing From Narcissistic Abuse meeting virtually on a weekly basis for 5 weeks as well. You can fill out the Narcissistic group assessment form here and sign up Here. Both of these (grief as a form of loss and as a form of abuse) can be very isolating experiences and I wanted people to have a place where they can share, relate, feel heard, seen, and most importantly-heal. So cheers to us all for going through life with all of it's beauty and challenges and healing through difficulty times while being reminded that we are not alone in this. I look forward to walking with you on your journey-thank you for taking a glimpse into mine. Love, light, and blessings to you all!
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