Support Groups

Coping With Sudden Loss

Not a day goes by when we are not inundated with stories of shootings, accidents, senseless acts of violence or natural disasters. When these events happen, we might feel shock or sadness, yet we strive to protect ourselves by keeping the tragedies at arm’s length. But how do we handle an unexpected or sudden loss in our own lives? 

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Getting Through the Holidays During Divorce or Separation

by Tami Sollo LCSW, Divorce Specialist

When a family is going through a divorce, everything changes, including the comfortable tradition of how they spend the holidays. Thanksgiving may have been celebrated with one side of the family, and Hanukkah or Christmas with the other, or a blending of the two families. That very first holiday season is the most difficult. Often the divorce does not just affect the immediate family, but may include extended family and friends as well. If there are children, it is very important to find a way to establish a new sense of normalcy. This can be complicated by the loss of one side of the family, or the children having to spend different holidays with a different parent.

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Coming Out: How to Support Your LGBTQ Teen

In honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11), we celebrate those who bravely choose to live openly as LGBTQ. Coming out is always emotionally charged—not only for the person doing it, but for those they’re telling. For LGBTQ teens, who are often reliant on the adults around them for support and protection, the decision to come out can be extra-emotional and filled with uncertainty. They may be deeply scared of suffering rejection (or worse) at the hands of loved ones.

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Grief and the Family: Finding Balance After Loss

BY ELIZABETH COHEN, LCSW, FT, MANAGER, ILLNESS, LOSS AND SPIRITUAL SUPPORT AT JCFS CHICAGO, BEREAVEMENT SPECIALIST

Few things impact a family more than the death of one of its members. For many families, the loss of a loved one can lead to a heightening of old conflicts creating stress and strife. At a time of deep pain, family members often feel they cannot turn to each other for solace. But, it is also possible for families to grow together through the experience of loss.

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Dealing with Grief & Loss

BY ROSALIE GREENBERGER, LCSW JCFS CHICAGO

When a loved one dies, the effects of loss are as varied as our loved ones. Our feelings of grief are influenced by our relationship with the deceased, the circumstances of death and the timing of the death. At times, grief is manageable. We may be sorry that our loved one has died and feel sadness, but overall, the death will not have a large impact on our lives going forward.

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Grief and the Family: Finding Balance after Loss

by Elizabeth Cohen, LCSW, FT, Manager, Illness, Loss and Spiritual Support at JCFS Chicago
Bereavement Specialist

Few things impact a family more than the death of one of its members. For many families, the loss of a loved one can lead to a heightening of old conflicts creating stress and strife.  At a time of deep pain, family members often feel they cannot turn to each other for solace. But, it is also possible for families to grow together through the experience of loss.

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Sibling Relationships

by Erica Aten, M.A., Pre-Doctoral Clinical Psychology Intern, Psychological Services

Although parents are typically a child's first source of human connection, sibling relationships are also an important factor in development. As of 2010, 82.22% of youth lived with at least one sibling(1). Sibling bonds are unique in that they often last a lifetime and are typically people’s longest relationships in life(2). Sibling relationships are influential in many ways.

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An Empty Chair at the Seder

by Rabbi Joe Ozarowski, D.Min., BCC
Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain, JCFS Chicago

The Hebrew word “Seder” means order. The Seder evening and Hagada have a framework—a time for talking, a time for ritual foods, a time for dinner, a time for praising God, a time for singing, a time for engaging children, a time for questions and a time to think about possible answers. But the order of the Seder also refers to the non-ritual aspects of the evening. We often have a routine of who comes, who we might invite, where we sit, how we arrange the table, and more. These things can change from year to year, yet they are always present in some form. But what happens when the order is upended? What challenges the sense of order when a loved one who has been a part of our sacred evening is no longer with us. Where is the “seder”—the order—when the Seder has been changed, the order ripped away from us?

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