‘Engine – Er’ by Lester Goldman, 2003 (used with permission from the Estate of Lester Goldman)

What is the first session like?
If this is your first time receiving help, you may wonder what it is like to participate in a counseling session. The first time we connect is a 30-45 minute online or phone consultation, whatever is most comfortable for you. (There is no charge for this.) This conversation is an opportunity to learn a little about each other. There is a body of research that suggests the most significant factor in a successful counseling outcome is the relationship with the counselor. Also known as “chemistry,” this matters even more than the counselor’s training, the type of counseling they do, or what kind of challenges the person brings. You need to feel completely comfortable in your own skin, with no judgment or pressure, subtle or otherwise, to perform. You want to feel held, understood, and accepted for the sacred person that you are.

This first session also allows me to determine whether the two of us working together is a good fit. I want to feel assured that I can help you, and if not, I want to be able to refer you to someone who can. (Contact me here.)

What hours are you open?
I hold sessions with clients from 9am to 8pm, Mondays through Thursdays; 9am to 5pm, Fridays; and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. (Hours are Eastern Standard Time.)

How do I contact you?
Either call/text 610.742.6419 or write to me at griefandpoetry@gmail.com.

How long are sessions?
Sessions are one full hour.

How many sessions will I need?
It varies considerably and the support plan is tailored to the individual. Some wish to be connected for many months, others for less. Please know that it is critically important for me to help you transition to your life without my support, when the time comes.

How often would I typically see you?
Once a week or once every two weeks is most common. However, there are clients who prefer, especially early on in the work, to be seen a few times a week. There are a variety of options available and scheduling is flexible.

What is your fee?
I charge $125 for a full one-hour session. (Please note that a small percentage of my clients are paying less than $125/session based on their personal circumstances.) I accept digital mobile (cash) payment through Venmo, Paypal or Zelle, and can also process credit card payments.

Do you take insurance?
No, I am not able to take insurance. I am happy to provide receipts, if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?
If a session is canceled without 24-hours notice, $125 is charged. This is a standard practice in the profession.

What age range and gender do you see?
I work with people 18 to 108 years of age and with any gender.

Do you offer online, phone, and in-person sessions?
Yes, all of these options are offered. I resumed in-person sessions in June, 2021. Clients choose what option best meets their needs.

Do you work with individuals experiencing loss or sorrow that is unrelated to a death?
Emphatically yes! Loss and sorrow may meet all of us in some form or another when experiencing significant change or transition—encountering a life-altering illness, on the tailwinds of divorce or separation, or loss of job or status to name a few. Support work is the beginning of a process of reclamation and redemption, an opening towards reshaping loss, and finding consolation, hope, and resourcefulness.

How do you work with individuals?
I provide radical listening and reverent attentiveness, helping clients reflect, shape and reshape their loss in a safe, sacred and peaceful space. I meet individuals where they are and focus on helping them increase their ability to cope with the landscape of loss. It may include assisting individuals to connect or reconnect to ideas, practices, people, and principles that matter most to them. I may use poetry to provide additional comfort, deepen the space between us, and encourage reflection and opening.

I help individuals begin to understand, cope with, and endure a world that has been turned upside down and made strange by loss. Compassion for self, ways to understand and process loss, and strategies for reparation and redemption may be part of the process.

My job is to help you find effective ways to become a nonjudgmental observer of yourself, in all your glory and untidiness, and for you to use this information to inform and guide your path forward.

Do I have to enjoy poetry to able to benefit from working with you?
While I am passionate about poetry, the answer is emphatically no. Poetry is used judiciously and only when an individual finds comfort and meaning in it.

What theories or body of knowledge do you use in your support work?
My focus is on the person and their narrative, and the work is based on humanistic, experiential, and contemplative principles. Translated into more simple language, this means that much of the focus is on the here and now, helping you notice and attend with patience and compassion, to your emotions, thoughts, beliefs, and memories.

I have been influenced by the work of theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, psychologists Francis Weller and Murray Bowen, and Buddhist teacher and Founding Director of the Zen Hospice Project, Frank Ostaseski.

How does your being an interfaith chaplain influence how you work with individuals?
You may be surprised to learn that chaplaincy training focuses on presence, reverent attentiveness, deep listening, loss, sorrow, forgiveness, and grace. It is about creating a sanctuary space for witnessing and holding whatever emerges. If a client desires conversation about God, theology, religion, or prayer, these topics can and will be broached.

Will I be given “homework”?
I may ask you to be particularly attentive and mindful toward a situation or relationship dynamic. Or, I may encourage some exploratory writing or drawing focused on something we talked about, an experience you have had, or a poignant dream. At times, I have asked individuals to jot down some ideas on paper related to future intentions.

What is your education background?
I have a M.Ed. in School Counseling and a BA in Psychology. I am also a board certified (BCC) chaplain.

There are some griefs so loud/They could bring down the sky/And there are griefs so still/None knows how deep they lie…” — May Sarton

It takes outrageous courage to face outrageous loss.” — Francis Weller

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