eath, divorce, and loss can bring up incredibly painful emotions. It might be hard to leave the house or make it through the day because it all feels empty. Everything is different. You can feel alone and tired and find yourself thinking, why did this happen to me?

On top of worrying about yourself, you’re worrying about your kids. How are they dealing with all this? Are they okay? How can I make sure they’ll be okay? You realize it’s time to work through this.

As a therapist, I understand how hard it is to deal with the reality of your loss. I’m here to help you and your family – to figure out what’s going on so you can all feel better.

Therapy with Me

For me, the most important part of therapy is a strong and positive therapeutic relationship. So, I strive to create a safe and comfortable place for you to feel heard and understood.

Together, we will work through your feelings surrounding your loss and how those feelings impact your day to day life and relationships with others.

I’ll provide you the space you need to express your concerns and feel supported through your loss, while brainstorming different techniques and ideas for how best to re-connect with yourself and those around you.

Experiencing a loss can make the simple tasks of every day life feel overwhelming and, quite honestly, meaningless. But, they’re important. You are still important. Those simple tasks – exercising, sleeping, connecting with friends and family, and going to work – are still part of your existence. We will figure out how to get you doing them again, becoming more active and re-engaged in your life.

You may find that your relationships with others have changed or feel difficult to have. You may not know what to say to them or you may be simply tired of answering the question “how are you doing?” We will figure out the ways you can interact with other people and be connected to them again. Because it is those feelings of connectedness and our relationships with others that help us all live a happier, more fulfilled life.

Together, we can do this.


Grief, Loss and Divorce

Whether you’re the child or the parent, being part of a family can be difficult; and, the experience of grief and loss within a family can be unbearable.

Loss comes in many different forms; some more obvious than others. Divorce, death of a loved one, illness, transitioning to college or moving away are all different types of loss that can cause lots of painful emotions (sadness, anger, helplessness, loneliness and confusion — just to name a few).

These major life events can leave you feeling alone and unable to connect with others. Sometimes, the thought of talking to someone else about what you’re going through doesn’t even cross your mind because it just seems too difficult – and you’re left feeling like they’ll never understand.

Each person in your family will react differently to the experience of loss, but each of you will feel most alone and vulnerable if you do’nt know how to ask for help or know where to go when you need it.

Children and adolescents may become irritable or angry, and they often turn inwards and reject your help. Often, after experiencing a loss, children and adolescents feel as if they are alone and that no one else will understand what they are going through. Even children who have many friends, after experiencing a loss, may distance themselves, becoming socially isolated. This happens because they lose the ability to stay connected to others. Without the added difficulty of loss or parental divorce, adolescence is already a time of transition and change with discovery of new emotions and experiences. A children and adolescents likely needs someone to help them process their grief and understanding of life after experiencing a loss or parental divorce.

As the parent, you may feel depleted, unable to help your kids express themselves because it’s taking everything you have just to get through the day. You may feel alone and unable to help your kids navigate through their life at school and with friends. In some ways you feel you’re failing as a parent, and you and your kids need support. All this is normal. Sometimes we just need a little help to get through these difficult times. As a parent, you need someone to help you navigate this new territory and figure out how to be a single-parent or a co-parent.

That’s where I come in. You’re not alone, and I can help you and your kids.

Kids and Teens

Little kids may find it difficult to express their feelings to you — their parent — behaving in ways you don’t understand. Your child might seem angrier than usual, misbehaving at school (biting, hitting, calling out), resisting school altogether, or refusing to have play dates.

Same goes for your teen. Teens may feel unable to express themselves in effective ways while suffering from depression, social anxiety, academic pressure, bullying, or a major life transition. They may not feel heard by you and feel they are experiencing violations of space. Maybe they lock themselves in their room, are always on their phone, fight with you constantly, or seem totally disconnected from you and the rest of your family.

A part of you may be feeling like you’re failing as a parent and you just don’t know how to help them or what to do anymore. This can be a tough time to navigate, but you don’t have to go through it alone.

In working with your kids, it’s particularly important they feel I am someone they can trust and open up to. Part of building this trust is by being able to have fun together.

When I work with little kiddos, I use play therapy to help them express their feelings and make sense of their experiences. It’s not always so easy for kids to open up about how they’re feeling, especially with their parents. Through play therapy, which might include Sandplay, coloring, sports, or board games, kids can more easily show what their concerns, struggles, and strengths really are. Play therapy allow your kids to explore their internal world and get in touch with their feelings in ways that sitting and talking can’t.

When I work with older kids, it’s still important to have fun together but usually they don’t want to play, they’d rather talk. By having a good sense of humor, I should be able to connect with your teens and help them figure out what’s going on for them.

Together, your child and I will explore different solutions and discover new ways of handling emotions and dealing with difficult situations.

As the parent, you are the expert on your child and the most important person in their life. This means you are also a super important part of the treatment process. When I get the opportunity to work with your kid, it’s important to me that we collaborate and work together to help your child through their struggles.

When I work with your kid or teen, I would hope to meet with you, the parent, bi-weekly or monthly (depending on the need) in a separate session, where we can discuss ways to best help your kid outside of our therapeutic work.

Parents and Families

Parents often feel overwhelmed and worried about their children – struggling to connect with, understand, and effectively set boundaries for their kids – especially after experiencing a loss, divorce, or other major life transitions. You may feel you need help navigating life as a single-parent or a co-parent and want to develop the skills to support your kids through this difficult time.

We will talk about the ways you feel connected to your kids as well as the ways you feel you might have lost your connection to them – like there is a barrier you can’t seem to break through. This may bring up memories from your own childhood, of being a kid and being parented. We can explore the ways this might be impacting your current relationship with your kids.

Together, we will figure out what your own personal stressors and worries are outside of those you have for your kids. We will explore what might be your worries and concerns for your child and what might be their worries and concerns for themselves because your worries and their worries might not be the same. You might be worried about how they’re going to get into college, and they might be worried about what they’re wearing to the dance. Our worries aren’t always their worries, and it’s important to recognize that.

We will explore what might be the situations that get you most worked-up and unable to handle your own emotions. We’ll explore how best to handle those situations without taking it out on your kids — without being snappy, critical, or yelling at them.

As a family, you may feel separate and disconnected – lacking communication with each other – leading to a home that no longer feel like a safe place to talk about the difficult feelings you may be having towards each other. You have things you want to discuss with your kids and you have a sense they want to talk to you as well, but you can’t seem to figure out how. I will work with you and your family to provide a space to talk about all these things in a caring and productive way. Instead of fighting with each other and yelling over one another, I will work with you to have a conversation that feels safe, supported, and contained.

A Little About Me

I have been working with parents and kids experiencing grief and loss since receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Michigan. While at U of M, I was a Research Assistant for Professor Julie Kaplow on her research called the CIRCLE Project (Coping In Response to Childhood Loss Experience) and the FAMILY Project which studied children’s responses to having a mother diagnosed with breast cancer. During that time, I worked at Ele’s Place, a grief support center for children and teens, where I facilitated grief support groups for children in grades 6-8 and play therapy for children ages 3-13.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, I moved to New York City and received my Master’s Degree from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work with a focus on clinical social work. During my time at NYU, I worked with individuals and families in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Langone Hospital providing counseling for patients and their families.

Jerri Werksman bio

Under the Clinical Supervision of Ron N Gad, PhD, LMFT

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