You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘therapy’ tag.

When I was going through my “tsunami of loss,” during which time I lost my mother, stepfather, uncle, three dogs, two cats, cockatiel, 15-year marriage, etc. over a pretty short period of time, I experienced some of what the woman, Pam, in the story that follows, went through (from HappyClaws.com by Steve B. Reed). In particular, I related to the author’s story of the monkeys and the jars.

I used my own metaphor for our tendency to cling to fear when I said it was like we (i.e. people facing awesome life change and being terrified to move as a result) were hanging from the precipice of a cliff by our fingertips. We rant and rave and scream that we’re going to fall and be destroyed if we let go. But in reality, if we simply trusted and released our stronghold on our negative emotions, we’d likely find we were dangling just inches above a very sturdy ledge that was ready to catch and hold us. For some, that means trusting in their religious beliefs or a power beyond themselves to be there for them. For others, it’s simply acknowledging that our fears are often magnified out of all proportion by us, and letting go and facing the reality of the situation can release a lot of the torment we put ourselves through.

The author of this article presents an unusual method for treating grief/fear—the REMAP process. It may warrant looking into further if you’re feeling you’re clinging to your own precipice and are open to alternative healing methods. (I have not personally experienced and therefore am not endorsing the efficacy of this treatment. I am simply presenting it as an option for people to investigate for themselves.) I’d be interested to hear from anyone out there who has undergone REMAP therapy though.

—Sid

THE NORMAL PATH OF GRIEF

Grief is the natural emotional response to a significant loss. The loss of a loved one, an important relationship, a pet, a career, a belief, some aspect of one’s health, an opportunity, or even a prized possession can trigger a normal grief response. When we go through grief, we can experience a range of related emotions. People may feel shock, regret, anger, sadness, and eventually acceptance in route to resolving grief. We usually work our way through these stages in a period that is proportionate to the loss suffered. In most cases, we eventually move through the process to arrive at a place of acceptance and a readiness to look forward in life.

STUCK IN PAINFUL EMOTIONS

For Pam, this healing pattern was not happening. Instead, she found herself stuck, unable to let go, always looking back at what was lost. She had a history of being stuck in grief. After her divorce, she grieved for 6 years. This time she was stuck grieving the loss of her 2-year relationship with a boyfriend. It had been going on for a year and a half with no end in sight. She felt hopelessness, depression and fear.

CAUGHT IN A TRAP

Pam’s plight reminds me of a story about catching monkeys. In some parts of the world, people employ an ingenious method to catch monkeys. They use a large heavy jar, with an opening just big enough for the monkey to squeeze a hand through. In the bottom of the jar, they place a banana as bait. The monkey slips its hand into the bottle and grabs the banana. Then, holding tightly to the banana, it is unable to remove its hand from the jar. It never occurs to the monkey to let go of the banana, so it remains in the trap. Pam was clinging tightly to the memory of a lost love. Unable to let go, trapped.

WANTING OUT

Pam did not want to suffer the way she was. She had been in therapy for years. By now, she was nearly an expert at behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy and the analysis of her problems. She understood her dilemma intellectually, but was helpless to feel better. She was on antidepressant medication, talked to her friends and spent time attending a grief support group. Still her pain persisted. She had come to me with the hope that one of the new forms of treatment that I work with might help light her way out of the darkness of her grief.

TRYING SOMETHING NEW

The first time I saw Pam, she was in the wake of a painful rejection. She would frequently call her old boyfriend, try to get him back but he would coldly reject her effort. She sat in my office emotionally bleeding as though the scab had been freshly knocked off her wound. The only thing I could offer to help ease her suffering was an experimental new treatment. Pam was in such pain she was open to any option. Therefore, I briefly told her about a new type of treatment that is more similar to Chinese Acupuncture than to Freud. It is the REMAP process and it involved her gently tapping a series of acupuncture meridians while she thought about the problem that bothered her. It’s a simple yet profound process designed to adjust the body’s natural energy system and to produce blood flow changes in the deep regions of the brain as a way of effecting thoughts and emotions. This alternative approach uses an entirely different pathway to heal emotional pain than talk therapy alone. Since Pam had tried all other treatment paths, she was open to the experiment. She began working with the protocol and to her great surprise her level of disturbance dropped 60% in 30 minutes. She left smiling and saying that she could cope with that level of pain.

BEYOND GRIEF

Next week, she reported another call to her ex-boyfriend and another cruel rejection. However, she also reported something new, a decision never to call him again. She also reported no further obsessive thoughts about him and a dramatic improvement in how she felt, virtually no grief.

Such changes are more common than not. By using leading-edge therapies, people are able to free themselves from painful emotions even when they are stuck. The best part is that the changes last. Three months after Pam’s treatment, she still reports feeling good.

Advertisement

The following is an article written about a remarkable woman, Micky Golden Moore, founder of Beyond the Paw Print, whose story is a prime example of how facing one’s grief can prove not only healing for one’s self, but also can lead to major positive life changes. Her efforts bring comfort to those who struggle with “disenfranchised grief.”—Sid

May 14 • 2009 A25

It’s Not Therapy

Aspiring grief counselor helps people come together to also grieve for pets.

BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL—entrepreneur
| by Judith Doner Berner
| Special to the Jewish News

detroitjewishnews

Micky Golden Moore: “Pet loss grief is not intended to be compared to the loss of a person. Many times, even close friends and family can be dismissive. Sometimes, the purest love is from an animal. Human relationships are fraught with complications.” Staff photo by Angie Baan

Everyone loses a loved one at some time in their lives. But few take the steps that Micky Golden Moore has to understand their grief.

After the death of her parents, the Metro Detroiter, who graduated from West Bloomfield High School and holds a Ph.D. in speech communication from Wayne State University in Detroit, entered a master’s program in hospice and palliative studies at Madonna University in Livonia. The switch from a career of communications consulting and teaching was
partly a result of the care and comfort she saw her dad, steel executive and Jewish philanthropist Louis H. Golden, receive from West Bloomfield-based Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network (JHCN) when he died in 2003 from a recurrence of cancer.

It was further driven by the depression that Moore suffered when her mom, Sylvia Golden, a lifelong Hadassah member, died three years later. “She was my best friend. I knew that I had to understand what this was,” Moore says. “I’ve always turned to academia to find my answers.”

Moore, a Farmington Hills resident, graduated May 3 from what Madonna heralds as “the only university-based hospice program of its kind in the nation.” She plans a career in grief counseling.

“This program has changed my life,” she says. “I feel very passionate about the opportunity to help others journey through their grief, loss and reconciliation. “Everyone’s grief experience is unique and depends on who died, the nature of the relationship with the deceased and how the individual died. I don’t want anyone that I help to feel isolation. You walk alongside them. You bear witness as they work through the grieving process. There is no magic dust.”

Shifting Sands
Part way through her studies, Moore was prompted by the death of her two cats to begin a support group for others who had lost pets.  “Pet loss grief is not intended to be compared to the loss of a person,” she says. But when she wrote a research paper, her findings showed that pet loss is one of the forms of “disenfranchised grief.” Many times, even close friends and family can be dismissive.

“Sometimes, the purest love is from an animal,” Moore says. “Human relationships are fraught with complications.” She formed Beyond the Paw Print LLC and put together a website: www.beyondthepawprint.com. The name is based on the clay paw print that many veterinarians give clients as a remembrance of their pet.

Her bereavement group meets 7-9 p.m. the second Monday of each month at Orchard United Methodist Church, 30450 Farmington Road in Farmington Hills.

“This is not a therapy group,” Moore says. “The goal is to acknowledge and validate the unique nature of each loss.” The page-long Code of Conduct includes asking participants to avoid giving advice or comparing their loss to that of another participant. No pets are allowed. The first meeting in March drew a dozen participants. Ten people came to the second meeting, she says.

Positive Response
Kiirsti Sharp, practice manager of the Hilldale Veterinary Hospital in Southfield, attended as an observer. She saw that those who came “needed Micky’s support and the support of each other. People were hugging each other. They felt understood.”

That was true for Mikki Stein of Farmington Hills who says the sessions have helped her come to terms with the
death of a dog “whose time was not up.”

“People who aren’t animal lovers just don’t want to listen,” Stein says. So when she saw a piece about the support group in a local newspaper, “I felt it was bashert [fate, destiny].”

As Stein shared her story with those who attended, “It was the first time that I felt anybody heard me. It was so uplifting. I felt such a sense of relief.” She’ll continue to attend whenever she can, Stein says. “It’s important to listen to other people the way they listened to you.”

“It was very helpful,” seconds Joely Moss, a Farmington Hills mother of two young children. She went online to find Moore’s support group at the death of the dog that she and her husband had owned since before they had children. “It really feels good to be around people who totally get it,” she says.

The support group is free. Moore’s website also promotes two related businesses — a video pet tribute service and a training program on pet loss for veterinary clinicians.

Dr. David Whitten, DVM, who heads the Hilldale clinic, says Moore conducted a workshop for his staff and developed a grief packet, which they hand out. “We thought we already were doing a good job. She made us even a little smarter.”

On-Task Learning
Moore has earned the confidence of two who are her teachers and mentors.Paul Nguyen, Ph.D., of Karmanos Cancer Institute Hospice in Southfield guides the internship required for her degree and was at her side at the initial pet support group meetings.

“As a facilitator, Micky is very helpful,” Nguyen says. “People enjoy being there because it’s a safe place to deal
with their grief when their family members don’t understand.”

“I’m an advocate for pet loss support,” says Kelly Rhoades, Ph.D., professor and chair of Madonna’s Hospice, Palliative Care and Bereavement Studies program. “It’s relevant to end-of-life care.

“It’s not a loss that’s always validated. To some people, pets are their children. We have to meet people where they are. Micky has taken this to the program level.”

When Moore began her degree, Rhoades says, “She wanted to give back to the hospice program. One of the things I most admire about her is that when she commits to something, she goes far beyond. She wants to learn everything.

“She has a lot of compassion and understanding — and now she has the skills.”

Moore won the Karmanos Cancer Institute Crystal Award as Volunteer of the Year in April 2006 for developing a required workshop for volunteers in the institute’s speakers’ bureau. Her volunteer efforts, she says, “acknowledge and honor my parents’ memory” and “their legacy of giving.”

She credits husband Bud Moore, a financial executive at Ford Motor Company, for “supporting me through each and every single endeavor. Without him, none of this would be possible.” ■

Share this blog

Bookmark and Share

Archived Blogs