The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Touched by Cancer - Now What?

Ask the Experts by Krista Bur

Q: Cancer has recently impacted my life. How do I begin to cope with this in a healthy way?

A: The first step to coping is to take a deep breath. The cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process can be overwhelming.

Patients and caregivers are responsible for being knowledgeable about their situation. That means asking your medical team a lot of questions, including what your doctor would do in your shoes. Consider seeking a second opinion, no matter how much ...

Read more: Touched by Cancer - Now What?


A Call for Calm: Mindfulness Strategies for a Happy, Healthy Life

Ask The Experts by Megan Gunnell

Q: I am a busy working mom of 3 children under 10 years of age. I feel like I'm constantly coming and going, running from one thing to the next. When I'm at work, I'm thinking about home. When I'm home, I'm thinking about work. I feel distracted, on edge and forgetful lately. Are there simple strategies I could use to help me feel more relaxed, focused and at peace?

A: It would be easy to feel overwhelmed with so many busy aspects of your life right now. One ...

Read more: A Call for Calm: Mindfulness Strategies for a Happy, Healthy Life


Mindfulness in Schools: The Missing Piece of a Modern Education

Ask The Experts by Kristin Ervin and Hanna Reising

Q. What is mindfulness?

A. Mindfulness is the practice of developing non-judgmental awareness of the present moment and meeting that present moment experience with kindness and curiosity. Student definition: Paying attention, here and now, with kindness and curiosity, so that we can choose our behavior.

Q. Is mindfulness a religious practice?

A. No. Mindfulness is a natural human capacity of being aware (attention training) and doesn't subscribe ...

Read more: Mindfulness in Schools: The Missing Piece of a Modern Education


Mindfulness Can Fit Into Anyone's Lifestyle

Ask the Experts by Lori Warner, PhD

Q: I've heard about mindfulness, but I'm not into meditation. Last time I tried it, I just fell asleep. How can I be a mindful parent?

A: Many people think mindfulness and meditation are the same. Mindfulness is a broad concept that means having nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening around you.

Mindfulness can be an active, energetic process, or a quiet, thoughtful one, depending on what is happening. Some people find meditation is a helpful tool to ...

Read more: Mindfulness Can Fit Into Anyone's Lifestyle


About Mental Health First Aid Training Sessions

Ask the Experts by Jean Pfaendtner

Q: Can you tell me about the Mental Health First Aid training sessions that will be offered through The Family Center this fall  - who should attend and what can we expect if we do?

A: Just like First Aid and CPR training provide lay people with the skills to help someone experiencing a physical health crisis, Mental Health First Aid is a course, designed for lay people, to provide the skills needed to reach out to a person experiencing a mental health ...

Read more: About Mental Health First Aid Training Sessions


How Do We Know if We Need to Go to Probate?

Ask The Experts by Mike Kelly

Q: A loved one recently passed away and we are not sure how to handle the real estate left behind. How do we know if we need to go to probate?

A:  Often-times families are left with property due to a death of a loved one that is only transferrable through a Probate Court proceeding. Sometimes the family can access and use the property without going to probate.

This often occurs where other persons are part owners of the property but there is no right of survivorship ...

Read more: How Do We Know if We Need to Go to Probate?


Reaching In, Reaching Out During Times of Loss and Grief

Ask the Experts by Megan Gunnell, LMSW, MT-BC

As a therapist who specializes in grief and loss and an active member of this community, I felt compelled to contribute to the broken hearts of those impacted by the tragic accident that occurred on Lakeshore on Saturday, August 15, 2015.

Because our community is so uniquely small and closely connected, chances are when tragedy hits, we feel the effect of this deep sadness and pain as it ripples through the lives of friends and family who were touched ...

Read more: Reaching In, Reaching Out During Times of Loss and Grief


Grief and Loss Resources at

Articles by Ask the Experts professionals >

Video: "Understanding Loss, Grief and the Healing Process for Families" >

Association of Professionals members


My Mother's Medications are Overwhelming

Ask The Experts by Ghada Abdallah

Q: "My brother and I are sharing the responsibilities of taking care of our elderly mother. She is on so many meds it's hard for us to keep track of what she's taken and when, especially when neither of us are with her all the time. Is there a fool-proof system we could use to ensure we don't miss something?"

A: Yes! Blister packs or pill boxes would work. By simply compartmentalizing your medications, you will save time/hassle and track doses more effectively....

Read more: My Mother's Medications are Overwhelming


Working with Your School when Your Child has a Congenital Heart Defect

Ask the Experts by Richard Humes, M.D.

Q: My son is entering school and has a congenital heart defect. Any advice on how to prepare him for school?

A: For many families, preparing for the upcoming school year is a very busy time. But for those with congenital heart defects (CHD), back to school issues can mean much more than where to find the coolest notebooks since their heart condition can have an impact on the student's performance both in and out of the classroom.

CHD is the leading cause ...

Read more: Working with Your School when Your Child has a Congenital Heart Defect


Are My Kids Ready to See the Dentist?

Ask the Experts by Eric McCutcheon 

Q: I have two kids, aged three and five, that are getting ready for school. I try my best to keep their teeth clean and look for problems, but I don't know when they should start going to the dentist since mine doesn't see children. When is the best time to take my kids for their first dental checkup?

A:  As a family dentist, I get this question often from parents concerned about their children's dental health but worried their kids will be scared ...

Read more: Are My Kids Ready to See the Dentist?


What would you say if your family member was sucidal?

Watch this compelling TED Talk video by Kevin Briggs - "The Bridge Between Suicide and Life"

For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with ...


Survivors: Let Someone See You Reading this Article

Ask the Experts by Mary Petersen

Q: "I have a friend who has disclosed to me that he had been sexually abused. How can I help diffuse the stigma and offer support so he can talk about it more easily?" 

A: Let it be okay for him to admit and discuss this horrific topic. Statistics are, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men, in their lifetime, will admit being sexually abused. So imagine what isn't reported. 

Survivors often don't even tell their closest family and friends due to the great stigma ...

Read more: Survivors: Let Someone See You Reading this Article


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