Cancer | Grief & Loss | End-of-Life Care | Death & Dying | Aging
Foundational to my therapeutic approach is seeing you, hearing you, and accepting you exactly as you are. I specialize in supporting adults of all ages through issues related to cancer, grief & loss, end-of-life care, death & dying, and aging. These are amongst life's most challenging transitions, and often ignite intense feelings of uncertainty, pain, discomfort, and regret. These transitions also necessitate additional planning, reflection, introspection, and reimagining. Instead of brushing it all aside, I will invite you on that journey. Major transitions – welcome or not – can be a catalyst for big, positive, important changes – they can help catapult you to the next place. With compassion and encouragement, I will help you remember your own power and strength, so that you can live your life with greater integrity, joy and peace.
I also have a deep understanding of highly sensitive people and am an LGBTQ+ friendly counselor.
While cancer’s toll on the body is the primary focus of medical treatment, cancer and all the medical interventions that go into diagnosing, monitoring, and treating it, also impart a heavy toll on our mental and emotional health. At times, you may feel numb, disconnected, hopeless, helpless or resigned. At other times, you may feel enraged, terrified, or defiant. You may also experience intense feelings of loss and grief, a resurfacing of old traumas, or increased conflict with family and loved ones. All of these responses are a normal, natural, and common part of the experience of this disease. Having a counselor supporting your spiritual and emotional well-being during this time can help you feel more empowered, hopeful, connected, stable, and at peace. Working together, we’ll name and address your biggest fears and concerns. We’ll talk about hope, because there’s always hope – even if you need to change what you’re hoping for. We’ll plan out how you can take care of yourself during a procedure or treatment, because you do not need to relinquish all control over your body to medicine. We’ll discuss your family and help you navigate your relationships with your loved ones. And we’ll explore how you’ll know when enough is enough – because this is your body and your diagnosis and at any time you can choose how and what you are willing to have done to it – that is your right. Throughout, I will remind you that right now, you are very much alive. We’ll go through this journey together, helping you feel more supported, empowered and at peace along the way.
GRIEF & LOSS
Grief and loss is one of the deepest, most personal pains we will ever experience. Grief can feel so raw, so intense, but we live in a society where those emotions are often unwelcome. Well-intentioned friends and family may want you to feel better, to go back to being the old you. But you may not feel better, you may never be the same again, and that’s okay. Nothing I can do or say will take away your pain, but I will hold space for it. I will hold your hand through your darkest hours, and I will be honored to do so. Sometimes there is historic grief that gets triggered by a new loss. Maybe the loss was decades ago and you never talked about how terrifying it was. Or maybe the loss is fresh but is not recognized as a loss by ourselves or others. This can sometimes be the case with an amputation, an abortion, or when a child turns out different than expected - be it due to their sexual or gender identity, chronic medical issues, or a mental health diagnosis. You may not even recognize your emotional response as grief, or you may feel like you shouldn’t be grieving. But there are no “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” with grief, and I will support you no matter how recognized, understood, or acknowledged your loss is in our society.
At the end of our lives or our loved one’s lives, there can be a lot of frustration and confusion. At the same time, there can also be so many ways to continue to feel empowered. Yes, this is so hard, and we can find ways to make it more bearable. During end-of-life counseling, I will spend time with the person who is dying, finding out what they most need. I will also spend time with caregivers and family members to help support them and get additional resources in place. Sometimes, families need practical suggestions, like help finding the right elder law attorney, in-home care, or hospice care. And often, caregivers need to know they are not alone, that someone else truly understands that providing care to a dying loved one is the most difficult job in the world. I also support loved ones through anticipatory grief. When we know in advance that a loved one is going to be dying it’s important that we prepare for that. I believe there is so much healing and empowerment that can occur at the end-of-life, and I will support you or your loved one in realizing this potential.
DEATH & DYING
How do you imagine yourself dying? What would you like to have in place before you die? And what would you like to have happen after you die? For so many of us, the end-of-life is a time where we start to lose control over our lives, where others suddenly start making decisions on our behalf. Working together, we will explore other options, putting together a plan that empowers you to feel a greater sense of agency over death & dying and allowing you to write your own ending as much as possible. Perhaps you’ve already been told that you’re dying, but right now you are very much alive. With planning, your life can be lived with quality and dignity up until the very end, and I will help you and your family make sure that happens.
While societal pressures may have us telling ourselves that we should “grow old gracefully” the realities of aging often feel anything but, and can sometimes bring us to the most challenging, lonely, and difficult period of our life. Perhaps your life is not at all how you imagined it would be. Or perhaps you’re experiencing unbearable levels of loss and loneliness. Free from judgement, we’ll talk about what aging is like for you and we’ll explore the fears and concerns you have going forward. We’ll talk about your family and friends – how little or how much they know and understand about what you’re going through. And with curiosity and compassion, we’ll explore how you might live your life in a way that, despite all the loss, changes, and hardships, helps you feel alive again.
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.