LISA'S BLOG

Tuesday
Oct142014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. Often, parents who are grieving the loss of a pregnancy or an infant are subjected to well meaning, but less than helpful, words of encouragement following their loss. Statements such as "you can always have more children" or "at least you already have two children" often cause feelings of shame for their grief and anger during a time that is immensely painful. Equally as often heard are statements about how the baby was probably sick or "not right" and that the loss was a blessing. Some parents find this sort of statement helpful, many parents find the thought behind this statement helpful after a period of time has passed, and some other parents feel blame and saddened. The pain of this loss combined with a lack of awareness in the public of the helpful, and not so helpful, things that can be said create stigma that prevents many parents from sharing their experience publicly. The reality is that the CDC reports that six out of every one thousand babies die within the first year of life. You are likely to know at least one person who has experienced infant loss. So what do you say to someone when you learn that they have lost a pregnancy or an infant? I always advise people to go with honesty - saying that you don't know what to say, that there are no words, that your heart hurts for them are all appropriate. The most helpful direction from there is, if you are comfortable, to ask about their baby - what was their name or due date, are there pictures that they feel comfortable sharing, or giving them to space to talk freely, without judgement, about their child and their role as a parent. Want to take it a step further? Parents want to know that their child will continue to have meaning in this world, despite their physical absence. Offering to give a blanket to a NICU, giving a holiday gift to a child in need in their child's name, making a donation in their child's memory, or offering to celebrate their child's birthday with them are just a few examples of some wonderful ways you can help keep their child's spirit alive. Above all else, keep learning, keep talking, and keep listening so the stigma surrounding pregnancy and infant loss lessens and parents can better access the support and love they need from their families, friends, and community as they grieve. 

Don't forget to share with your family and friends about Grief TREE's upcoming retreat for mothers who have lost infants - www.grieftree.com

Saturday
Sep202014

New Session of Bereaved Parents of Adult Children Therapy Group

Group dates for the new session of Bereaved Parents of Adult Children are October 7th - December 2nd with a mid point break. This group is a psychoeducational and intensive therapeutic group, not a peer support group. Group will be held on Tuesdays from 12:30 - 2 PM.

The cost for all 8 groups if you register before September 29th is $300, which is $37.50 per hour and a half group. Registration received September 30th or later will be a fee of $350 for the session. 
This session will be especially impactful as it is being conducted during the week of Thanksgiving and leading up to the December holiday season, so if you are wavering about whether to attend at this time, I would strongly encourage it. 
If you would like to register for this group, please click on the "Register" tab above or contact me by e-mail (lisamzucker@gmail.com) or by phone (954-834-3570). 
If you know someone who may benefit from attending this group, please encourage them to contact me to discuss the group in more detail.

 

 

Monday
Feb242014

When one door closes...

Sometimes when we experience a life transition, the negative experience associated with losing what we had can overwhelm our outlook. But it is important to keep in mind that often times we have to make room in our lives for something greater by letting go of things that we find at the time to be important, like a forest fire clearing the underbrush to allow for new growth in the forest. Here's an example - I worked with a gentleman (whose information has been altered to protect confidentiality) who had worked, and continued to work, in the medical field. He chose this work because it hit close to home - he had survived the same conditions he was treating in the field. So when his employers unexpectedly removed him from the schedule, he was understandably devastated as the loss was not only the loss of employment, but it also hurt him personally. We fleetingly talked about finding another job working with the same population in the health field, but ultimately, this loss became a blessing in disguise as he ventured into a new area of employment that was so drastically different from what he was previously doing. This life change was completely outside of his comfort zone and would never have happened without that first door closing. Reflecting back on his journey from his current place of security and contentment with work, he feels that opportunity is greater now then ever before - the opportunity to continue to advance, to find success, and to feel satisfied in his career. It has completely changed his outlook on many aspects of life. When he feels challenged with loss, he is able to feel solace in knowing that his experience is one of a single closed door leading to many new doors wide open to explore. I hope his revelation and positive outlook can inspire you to find the good even when times are challenging.

Monday
Feb172014

Online Therapy

My practice is now expanding to include online therapy (also known as tele-mental health). Ample research has been conducted to show the benefits of utilizing modern technology for therapeutic applications. You may visit http://onlinetherapyinstitute.com/does-online-therapy-work/ for a brief overview of the benefits of online therapy. Online therapy is not for everyone. However, people who are in need of therapeutic services and are unable to travel due to care giving or chronic or terminal illness or patients who have time issues such as those with full time employment may benefit from this expansion. Please be aware that the use of Skype or other video conferencing that is not encrypted does NOT protect your confidentiality. That means someone unknown to you could be monitoring what you say or type. After receiving proper training for tele-mental health services and carefully considering my ethical and legal responsibilities to my patients, I have chosen a service that I pay for that ensures HIPAA compliance through the use of encryption. All communication that takes place using my secure patient area is completely safe and is not viewable by third parties. To see this area of my site, please navigate to the heading "Register" on my web page and follow the directions to the secure patient area. Please continue to check back here on my blog for more information about the uses and benefits of online therapy in the future.

Wednesday
Feb122014

Hope...

I listened to a woman who checked herself out of hospice as she talked about living and extending her life. She said she wasn't ready yet, that she still has more to do, but she is realistic about her illness. While there is no cure for her now, she knows that science progresses everyday - new treatments are discovered and there is always hope. While studying Thanatology, I was taught that hope changes when you enter end of life care. Hope is not necessarily about finding the right drug to make the illness go away completely. Hope transforms to something much bigger and more powerful - I hope I can enjoy living for a while longer, I hope that I am forgiven by people I have wronged, I hope my children are proud of how I have lived my life, I hope that my end is peaceful. This incredible woman expressed that what she seeks is extension - continued life for just a while longer - to live, and not just to be alive, but to really live. We are trapped by our monotony in life sometimes and forget to live beyond just being alive on autopilot and getting through each day passively. When this woman spoke and while I listened, I was really living - I was using my senses and craving contact with my loved ones. She gave me a gift, as many people I am so blessed to work with do every day, to remind me to be truly alive in my life and to give love and hope to those around me. Please take this gift, this reminder, and live mindfully - find joy and peace, do things that make you happy, and be present with those you love.