Adults

The Road to Healing—During and After Divorce

by Tami Sollo LCSW, Coordinator of the Divorce Specialty Center

I encounter many couples experiencing the early phases of divorce. Marked by the tearing down of comfortable routines, fear of the future and its unknowns, and sadness over the loss of a familiar way of life—no matter how unhappy it may have been—the early stages of divorce are chaotic and emotionally overwhelming. Like any time of grief or great loss, recovering from divorce is a process. How quickly couples move towards healing depends upon several factors:  how well spouses work together to co-parent or make decisions for their separate futures; the level of conflict between the couple; the couple’s financial situation; how well developed the couple’s psychological coping skills are; and the external support systems of the soon-to-be ex-spouses.  

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Raising Mental Health Awareness

Fifteen year-old Anna lounged on the sofa in Robin Stein’s office, sinking into the cushions with her legs folded beneath her. Though her features remained stoic, the cell phone she cradled shook in the palms of her hand as she rapidly swiped at its surface with her thumbs. “Here,” Anna said, and held the phone out to Stein, a licensed clinical social worker at JCFS Chicago. The screen displayed a somewhat pixelated selfie of a very young girl with a gun pointed at her temple. “She talked about dying all the time.” Anna was in grief therapy with Stein; the girl holding the gun was Anna’s younger sister, Sarah, who had taken her life the year before, ultimately overdosing on a relative’s sleeping pills. Sarah was only 10.

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Our Stories Have Power

by Beth Fishman, PhD and Nina J. Henry, LCPC, CADC

Many individuals in addiction recovery struggle with an important question:  Should they tell people that they are in recovery?  The traditional response would be reflected in a quote from the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous:  “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program.” Guarding anonymity in a world full of stigma against people who struggle with alcohol, drugs and mental disorders was a realistic response.  Individuals in recovery had reason to worry about their vulnerability and often only shared their status as a person in recovery with people they trusted to not judge them.

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The Divorce Specialty Center at JCFS and The Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois Introduce Low Cost Divorce Program

by Tami Sollo, LCSW, Divorce Center Specialist, Mediator and Collaborative Divorce Coach

As the Coordinator of the Divorce Specialty Center at JCFS Chicago, one of my first tasks was to research affordable ways for low-income families to divorce.  I discovered that the services are limited, and to qualify a family has to have a history of domestic violence and/or be very close to poverty.  For those families that make too much money to qualify, but not enough to pay for a divorce, there was nothing available.  Many times couples stay married, often leaving the family in very difficult circumstances.  

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Become a Foster Parent and Help a Child with Special Needs

JCFS Chicago works to find caring, qualified foster parents for Chicago-area children with special needs, supporting the families who welcome, love and guide these children…whether toward reunification with their families or adoption by new families.

Right now, the need for foster parents is greater than ever with nearly 400,000 children and youth who need stability, mentoring, love and care. There is no ideal profile of a foster parent--the demographics are broad and include single adults or coupled partners—and while the challenges are very real, the experience is also rewarding for both child and foster parent. But what exactly are "special needs" and what should a prospective foster parent know? The following are some frequently asked questions about parenting a child with special needs:

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Yoga for a Healthy Night's Sleep

by Sara Zryl, M.A. Pre-Doctoral Psychology Intern

Let her sleep-For when she wakes- She will move mountains-― Napoléon Bonaparte

Feeling overtired? You can improve sleep patterns just by adding some Zen into your life. It is not uncommon, every so often, to feel run down, overtired, less motivated or fatigued. If this occurs on a day to day basis, you may experience difficulty sleeping throughout the night. Sleep health is a relatively new field of study that examines how we sleep and what factors impact sleep. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention  provides sleep guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2013). The amount of sleep recommended changes as we age; however, individual sleep needs vary.

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Infertility: a Scriptural Perspective

By Rabbi Joseph S. Ozarowski, Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain, JCFS Chicago

I have been part of a work group that is planning a conference called “The Journey of Infertility .” Some think this conference “path-breaking” or “revolutionary,” but this issue is not new. The challenges of infertility go back to the Torah itself.

In Judaism children are seen as a blessing, as a means of continuing our faith and people. When this proves difficult, the burden can be heavy. 

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Graduation: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

By Julia Wall, MSW, LCSW, Clinician at Response

Graduating from high school is a momentous occasion for both teens and parents.  I would like to first address the parents who are reading this blog.  I want you to give yourself a pat on the back and breathe a sigh of relief!  You have successfully gotten your teen to the age of 18 and graduating with a high school degree!  While your teen may brush this off and say you didn’t help with much, you and I both know that you played a large role in where your teen is today!  Someday down the road, probably when they’re 30, they will thank you for all your hard work!

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Clinical Value In Spiritual Practices: Judaism, Health & Healing

The adage goes that in life, you never know what’s just around the bend. As an organization committed to healing, helping, and supporting over 26,000 children, adults, and families, JCFS Chicago  understands that some of those surprises just over the horizon are hard to prepare for, and can leave unexpected craters in their aftermath. These events—illness, the death of a loved one, addiction, etc—can leave an individual feeling defeated or alone, and that’s precisely when they need support the most.

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