Hospice plans workshops for Healing Hearts Month

February 08, 1994|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Sun Staff Writer

Joan Meekins first tried reiki a year ago, to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy.

Now the Carroll County woman is a certified practitioner of reiki, or touch therapy.

"It helped me a lot with chemotherapy and nausea and other surgical procedures, and it was very helpful in minimizing the physical pain," Ms. Meekins said.

This month, she will demonstrate reiki and describe its healing powers as part of Carroll Hospice's "Healing Hearts Month," three workshops to help those coping with stress related to loss and grief.

"This is something we're doing for the community as a thank you, to let them experience different kinds of therapies and alternative healings," said Peggy Geigan, office manager at Carroll Hospice. "The emphasis is on exploring different ways to take care of yourself and healing spiritually and emotionally."

The private, nonprofit Carroll Hospice provides care for terminally ill patients through its nurses, social workers, home health aides and others. Hospice volunteers also provide emotional support for patients and their families.

"Healing Hearts Month" begins with a daylong workshop Saturday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Eldersburg. Participants will have the opportunity to try massage, reiki and acupressure and to attend discussions on alternative therapies.

On Feb. 24, Dana Cable, a professor of psychology at Hood College, will give a lecture at Wesley-Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg titled "Good Grief," followed by a discussion. Dr. Cable specializes in issues of grief and life-threatening illnesses through his private practice.

Author Susan White-Bowden will conclude "Healing Hearts Month" with a talk Feb. 27 at Carroll Community College on ways to recover emotionally after a trauma or loss.

Julie Flaherty, executive director of Carroll Hospice, said it's no accident that "Healing Hearts Month" is taking place in February.

"This is a particularly difficult month to get through; we've tracked it statistically," she said. "The holidays are over, spring's not here and moods tend to be a little more bleak."

The idea behind "Healing Hearts Month" is to present a variety of nontraditional ways of coping with the stress of a loss. The loss need not be a loved one, but could be health, a job or a relationship.

"Many people use traditional ways to deal with loss -- counseling or talking with a priest or a rabbi, for example," Ms. Flaherty said. "Our goal is to create a month where people could find something else to help in dealing with their loss."

Ms. White-Bowden, of Finksburg, will draw on ideas from her second book, "From a Healing Heart," in her discussion. "Whether it's loss of health or loss of a loved one, we must deal with it," Ms. White-Bowden said. "If we accept it, we've taken the first step in the healing process."

She emphasizes that she is not a psychologist or counselor, and bases her theories on her own experiences.

Astrological counselor and holistic teacher Linda Brady plans to discuss the value of understanding the difference between the personality and the soul's path in life.

Although the therapies addressed during "Healing Hearts Month" may sound foreign to many people, Ms. Flaherty says they represent other choices in dealing with loss.

"People haven't been able to define why they [the therapies] work, but others have found through the use of touch and energy that healing can be achieved," Ms. Flaherty said.

All Healing Hearts workshops are free and open to the community, though seating is limited.

For information and registration, call Carroll Hospice at 857-1838 or 876-8044.

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