A Conversation with Dr. Arielle Schwartz – GSN Presenter

Arielle Schwartz - 2Dr. Arielle Schwartz, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist in Boulder, Colorado who specializes in helping her clients navigate the challenges of their lives. Her practice focuses on the whole person and provides resilience-informed treatment building upon client’s existing strengths. Her mindful approach combines the intuitive art of therapy with the knowledge of effective techniques and interventions. Dr. Schwartz is a strength-based and body-centered trauma treatment specialist, is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Dr. Schwartz provides intellectually stimulating and heart-centered talks for the general public and for the therapeutic community throughout Colorado on topics of Healing from Trauma, Resilience, and Post Traumatic Growth. You can learn more about her work from her website at www.drarielleschwartz.com.

Tell us more about your upcoming presentation for GSN’s Moving Through Grief… Together meeting:

For this presentation, I’ll be focusing on resilience psychology. More specifically, we will explore the topic of resiliency through heart-centered discussion, storytelling, and personal sharing in a manner that aims to increase a sense of community and connection. 

Why is this topic important for healing?

When facing the grief of losing a loved one we can feel disoriented, uprooted, and isolated. Sometimes, the loss doesn’t feel real, we feel lost in the dark, or we feel as though the grief will never end. 

Resilience psychology is about a mindset that allows you to adapt and even grow in response to loss and painful or traumatic life events. Research on resilience shows us the behaviors and beliefs that are associated with greatest adaptation and provides a road-map that guides and assists with the process. 

Share an experience or story about grief and transformation:

My husband and I were married less than a year. We had plans. I was applying for my doctorate in clinical psychology and we were talking about the timing of our first child. Then tragic loss changed everything.  The call came in the middle of the night. A helicopter had gone down during a routine mission and my husband’s brother Curt (a military pilot) was aboard. There were no immediate answers for several days. Waiting involved packing and coordinating a flight in the early morning, shock that ran cold through my body, and an exhausting day gathering with family members trying to make sense of all that happened. Then the news…all ten men died in the crash on February 22nd, 2002 at 2:03 in the morning. No survivors. As if in a dream I went through the memorial with my husband who lost his brother, my mother-in-law who lost her son, my in-laws.  The last time I had seen all of these people we were celebrating at our wedding only nine-months earlier.

…Three months later I was pregnant. Pregnancy and grief is a strange combination and my disorientation continued when we were told that my first child’s due date was the anniversary of Curt’s death. I reeled in overwhelm, fear, and excitement. Read more about Arielle’s experience of grief on her blog.

Share one way that YOU practice personal self-care:

When I was working through the grief process, I painted and wrote. I got bodywork and found someone who would float me in the water and cried in her arms. Overtime life started to make sense again. Moreover, I found new strength and an awakened sense of my own presence and purpose.  I decided to proceed with my plans to get my doctoral degree. I took life day by day. 

Provide a few focus questions for our community to meditate on and discuss in our group sharing after your presentation:

As you walk this path, consider the following as stepping stones that you can take each day…

  • How can I connect with others in a meaningful way?
  • Can I express my grief by talking, writing, painting, or movement?
  • What are my dreams saying? What is my myth?
  • What must I surrender to or let go of?
  • In what ways am I being called to be strong and courageous?