For scheduled Winter/Spring 2020 talks, classes and book signing events, please go to my Events/News page here.
Ideal for support groups, conferences, in-services, gatherings.
Breaking Out of Isolation and Building Support
Val presents on the growing epidemic of social isolation and its impact on our health as individuals as well as communities. Alongside findings in social science research, she shares four inspirational profiles of isolated people who later resourcefully found ways to break free and build new communities.
The Art of Comforting
Listening with warmth and acceptance is one the greatest gifts we can give someone. We will explore what it means to be a comforting presence with current research on grief, empathy and social support, and discuss helpful ways to reach out to those in distress. This program will increase our understanding of how to use words of comforting (what to say and what not to say), as well as how to create acts of kindness.
CLASSES/WORKSHOPS (2 hours)
Ideal for community education venues, continuing education programs, in-services for training, and lifelong learning centers.
Brave New Friendships: Building Community and a Sense of Belonging
It takes courage and initiative to break out of a period of isolation and rebuild our support networks. After a serious illness, a period of grieving, or relocating to a new area, we may find it difficult to “get out there,” to be socially confident, outgoing, and open to new relationships. Simply going to a meetup might not feel right, as we may prefer volunteering, a support group, or a class. This program offers guidance for how to explore and tap our wider communities to build friendships, fellowships, and a deeper sense of belonging.
Individual Sessions: Brave New Friendships Tutorials
Val provides personalized sessions for learning how to build community networks and friendships. Many of her clients have recently relocated and are interested in finding new groups and nurturing a sense of belonging. Other clients are expanding their support networks after major life transitions such as divorce, illness, job change or loss of a loved one. One-hour sessions are available by phone or in person.
Comforting Others: What to Say and Do
This workshop is ideal for caregivers and professionals supporting people through grief, as well as for those coping with chronic illness, disability or aging. When called to comfort others, we may feel empathy and care deeply, but sometimes what to say or do can elude us. We will explore how to put compassion into action with practical examples of comforting at work and at home. We will review recent research on empathy, grief, and social support, and examine best practices for how to be helpful. We will discuss realistic ways to make commitments with others in need, and how to honestly set boundaries with our availability to help. Finally, we will share our stories of comforting others, or being comforted by others, and learn from each other’s experiences.