Category Archives: Residents

Did You Know Our Denny Klass is a Paradigm Shifter?

Many at Collington have had a major impact on thinking in their fields.  I had not till now realized the impact that “our” Denny Kass has had on the field of bereavement studies.  As the extract from the forward, written by professor Neil Thompson, at Wrexham Glyndwr University, for a new book Denny has co-authored states:

In the 20 years after Dennis Klass, Phyllis Silverman, and Steven Nickman introduced the concept into bereavement studies in Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief, continuing bonds went from being dismissed and pathologized to being a fully recognized and accepted phenomenon in bereavement scholarship and practice. Indeed, continuing bonds can now be seen not just as a phenomenon in grief but as a way of characterizing and expanding on grief itself.

The concept of continuing bonds allows us to enrich therapeutic techniques that help the bereaved, to expand our ability to understand bereavement in other cultures, to focus the philosophic questions in bereavement studies, to transfer what we learn about bereavement to how we study other significant losses, as well as to begin to include a wider range of academic disciplines in the study of grief.

Contributors in Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice provide a comprehensive overview of developments in the two decades after its inception. Clinically-based contributors show psychological counseling can be more effective when continuing bonds are included. Other chapters report on grief in different cultural settings, open the discussion about the truth and reality of our interactions with the dead, and show how new cultural developments like social media change the ways we relate to those who have died. .  .  .

In sum, in Continuing Bonds in Bereavement, Klass and Steffen offer a sweeping and substantial successor to the pioneering volume that initiated a paradigm shift in the study of grief and its therapeutic implications, consolidating a perspective that is likely to remain ascendant as the field of bereavement matures

While Denny developed these approaches before coming to Collington, the resonace with repect to the values and approach of our cmmunity is obvious.  Here we create bonds in a network, and nurture them when the network suffers a gash.  Smething to think about as we move forward with the relevant elements in our Strategic Plan.

The book is titled Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice, Edited by Dennis Klass and Edith Maria Steffen.  Here is the Amazon link.

A Difficult and Courageous Testament

The personal testament that appears below is probably not of the kind that we would ordinarily publish on our website.  However, given the urgency of the topic’s moment, the courage of those coming forward and the importance of our national exploration, we are sharing it with admiration for the author’s strength.

The piece is authored by Collington resident Jane Engle, for whom making her name public is itself an important statement.

I wish to take advantage of this moment in history to share briefly a few stories of sexual harassment and abuse from my life. I do so because it is healing for me to write these stories and, even more so, to make them public. I do so in the hope that other residents and those who read this website will also find healing in sharing their stories in whatever venue is appropriate for them. I do so in fear that residents or staff, who are now experiencing similar situations, have remained silent because they fear dire consequences. I hope they find support from all the stories that are being told and the strength to tell the authorities who can help them. What follows involve a family member, a professor, a doctor, a minister and a friend.

A member of my family sexually abused me. I “don’t remember” these events. They are “secrets” in the family. I’ve never told anyone about these events.

A professor during my university studies who was the chairman of my honors thesis sexually abused me over a long period of time. I discovered that he had abused many other students before and after me. The administration knew of his actions, but he continued to teach until many years later when he retired as professor emeritus. He was held in high esteem by the many professional societies he belonged to.

A psychiatrist sexually abused me while I was a student at another university. I saw him at the student health clinic where he was the only doctor. He told me he could help me if I was in analysis with him. First he told me lie on a couch. (This was actually the usual practice in analysis.) Then he said we should have back-to-back hourly sessions. Then he said walks would help me feel more open in the sessions. And then he held my hand during these walks. In his office he told me to undress so that he could help me feel good about my body. Then he felt intimate parts of my body. (This last sentence is so painful to remember and, even more so, to write.) It was almost a decade before I was told and believed that this was most certainly not done to help me and that it was  abuse. I then reported these events to the appropriate professional society.  A committee of psychiatrists listened to our disparate stories, decided that I was not telling the truth, and told the psychiatrist to continue his practice.

A minister sexually harassed an intern in a church where I was also an intern. I found out that he had sexually harassed previous interns as well as a seminary student who was in counseling with him. With overwhelming guilt, the reasons for which are hard to understand today, I told the authorities. The minister continued to serve at the same church during the year long bungled investigation. He told others who were in his care that the events were consensual. A person from the church where he previously had served knew of his behavior, but never said anything because “this would ruin his reputation.” Twenty years later I learned that he had just been retired.

A woman, who had been in a religious order and who is one of my best friends, told me in front of her spouse that she had been raped by a man who was and remains in a religious order. Her companion was horrified and said she had never heard about this even though they had been living together for many years. I’ll never forget her exact words, “This was just one of those things. It happens all the time.”

My stories are not unique. I am quite sure many women and men who read this have had experiences that have been more harmful and possibly even violent. Some will inevitably throw stones at those of us who speak about unspeakable things. We have only our integrity on the line. This being said, I continue to struggle with the “secret” in my family.

We appreciate Jane’s courage in writing this piece, and hope the community can find ways to support her, and surely others in tragically similar situations.

Richard Zorza’s Legal Blog Gets ABA Award

The American Bar Association Journal now does a Web 100 list honoring “the best of lawyers and the law on the web.”  For whatever it is worth, they have included my (Richard’s) Access to Justice blog this year on their list. Here is the link to the blog itself.

Quoting the blog, they describe it as follows:

“We define access to justice broadly to include innovations in courts, the bar, legal aid and community that make it easier for people to obtain access to justice institutions, and to just results within those institutions.” Posts cover a broad range of subjects, including access to counsel, foreclosures, self-service, law schools and technology.

Remember, all my blogs are listed here.

To whet your appetites, here is the begining of the list of topics covered.

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I know I am not alone in wanting to hear more about other resident’s milestones.

Starting one Week from Tonight!

Take it from me, you will not be disappointed in this hilarious play performed by our very own Collingtonians.  It is really a hoot, or I should rather say a honk.

Three French veterans of the Great War—Gustave, Philippe, and Henri—sit ensconced on their terrace and bemoan the tedium of life in a home for old soldiers. Where are the glories of past campaigns; where are the women; why put up with Sister Madeleine? And what, pray, is so dangerous about February 12th? Why not flee to Indochina, or least have a picnic? And what are the waving poplars across the hill telling them? Perhaps they should join the flight of the wild geese.

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The play will be produced Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 15, 16, and 17 at 7:00 in the Collington Auditorium.

Collingtonians Join Tibetan Prayers for Worldwide Peace

mandala 3On Sunday morning I did something rather unusual.  I joined 2 other Collingtonians and went to the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda.  I was motivated by the opportunity to participate in a spiritual experience that was offered by the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery.  The Monastery was reestablished in South India by escapee monks after the Chinese invaded Tibet and killed or imprisoned others.

The monks, endorsed by the Dalai Lama, are touring the country to promote world peace and healing.  At Cedar Lane they laid down millions of vibrantly colored grains of sand to create a mandala sand painting. Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.  The monks constructed the mandala between August 23rd and and August 26th.

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The day included an incredibly moving ceremony that included blessings, chanting, a guided meditation, gleanings from ancient and contemporary wisdoms, and a dedication prayer.

 

Perhaps most moving for me was the deconstruction of the mandala. This was done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands were swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half was distributed to the congregation while the remainder was carried to Rock Creek where it was deposited. The waters then carried the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.  I can say that this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and that it was both mystical and transforming.  The grains of sand I received will always be a reminder of the preciousness of each moment of this fleeting life of mine.

Mandala 4

If you would like more information or would like to see their schedule you can visit their website at https://www.mysticalartsoftibet.org