The family is a complex system of (largely unconscious) patterns and agreements that baffle most of us - therapists included. I see family work as a rare opportunity to focus on the interconnectivity of individuals as the medium for collective healing and growth.
Illness and the dying process:
Sickness almost always takes us by surprise, and the ways in which it changes our lives are profound. At a time when clear and heart-felt communication is so much needed, many people experience great difficulty in reaching out to loved ones and saying what it is they need to say. Working for many years within the cancer and AIDS communities, I have facilitated numerous family meetings which support the honest expression of emotion and personal truth. Such meetings can mitigate the sense of "unfinished business" that so often accompanies and complicates the dying and grieving process.
Most phases of life are universal and inevitable, but many of us feel that when we enter into one we are navigating the territory without road maps. As we begin the process of parenting our parents - and particularly when we are faced with their need for relocation and assistance - it can be overwhelming. By collaborating with other individuals and service professionals, I assist families in walking through the myriad decisions required with humor, compassion and presence.