The Montefiore Healing Arts Program and Human Resources Team to Offer “Healing Loss”
Whether personally or professionally, we all experience loss of some kind at one time or another. Whether losing one’s abilities to an accident or aging, going through a difficult break up or divorce, or mourning the death of a loved one, loss is an intrinsic part of life. “Learning how to deal with loss and being able to grieve is important, yet as a society, we don’t tend to have good examples for grieving loss effectively and work through the loss,” said Dr. Peter Selwyn, professor and chair of family and social medicine at Einstein and Montefiore, and director of Montefiore’s Healing Arts Program.
Since 2013, the program has teamed with Montefiore’s human resources department to offer Montefiore associates—caregivers and other staff members, including those at Einstein—a special three-day workshop called Healing Loss. “The idea is that we need to take care of our caregivers, whether they are healthcare professionals at our hospitals, students learning their professional craft, or individuals working at Montefiore or Einstein who may be involved in the care of a loved one,” said Dr. Selwyn. “The workshop is conducted in a safe, supportive, and confidential setting, and aims to help participants to develop tools they can use to heal. We’re happy to be able to offer these free, residential workshops to faculty, staff, and students at Einstein.”
This year, there will be three offerings of the workshop, from March 11 to 13, June 17 to 19, and October 14 to 16, each held at the Stony Point Conference Center, in Rockland County. All meals and accommodations will be provided at the center, with participants staying over on Wednesday and Thursday nights. With a few spaces still available for the March workshop, Dr. Selwyn noted, “We’re hoping more members of the Einstein community will take advantage of this opportunity.” (Spaces also are available for June or October. To register, please complete the form.)
“It’s a powerful experience because you get to process loss in a way that’s different from other approaches, whether the loss is related to death, disappointment, or trauma,” said Dr. Ellen Tattleman, assistant professor of family and social medicine and director of the department’s division of education. “You come away better able to integrate losses in life and work.”
Dr. Tattelman offers Einstein’s medical students a four-session course called the Healer’s Art, with the aim of helping students stay connected to their heart and humanity as they go through their clinical training. “My experience in the Healing Loss Workshop has informed some of what we teach the students,” she said. “It definitely has deepened what we convey to them, particularly about connecting to your whole self.”
The program’s success led Drs. Selwyn, Tattelman, and colleagues to write a paper, published this past July in the American Journal of Nursing, titled “Helping Health Care Providers and Staff Process Grief Through a Hospital-Based Program.” The paper described the workshop and findings from participant feedback, which support providing such a workshop initiative as both feasible and transformative.
The authors noted, “As the workshop proceeded, participants reported discovering that it was a ‘safe haven,’ which one person described as a ‘nonjudgmental space, where everyone was allowed to share as much or as little [as desired], at [one’s] own pace.’”
Another participant shared, “To experience a sudden loss and you are hurting, but the rest of the world just marches on like nothing happened, you feel alone. This workshop showed that so many people are hurting and feeling similar, and it was wonderful to help one another.”
“Our experienced facilitators offer ways for participants to release some of the emotional ‘baggage’ and ‘unfinished business’ that can get in the way of our being truly present for ourselves and others,” said Dr. Selwyn. “And we find that participants leave the workshop equipped with new tools for self-care and healing, which help build resilience for when they face stress in the future.”
Space is limited to 24 participants per session, and professional caregivers who take part may earn continuing education credits. For additional information, email Terysia Browne at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Dr. Selwyn at 718-920-8434 or email@example.com. Those interested in applying to take part can complete this form.
Posted on: Thursday, February 27, 2020