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Welcome back to Therapy Chat! This week, host Laura Reagan, LCSW-C brings back a replay of a past interview with a former hospice social worker and grief counselor who is living with a terminal illness. 

Last week’s episode was the first in a multi-part series on grief which began with that conversation with Linda Thai, LMSW. Laura and Linda were unable to record the second conversation to be released this week as intended, so instead we’ll hear this replay of a conversation from 2019 with Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, LCSW, MPH. 

In this conversation you’ll hear how grief can illuminate trauma which was there waiting to be discovered; learn about some of the wisdom Isabel has gained through her experiences of grief and loss; and develop an understanding of how grief therapy, support groups, and writing can help with healing. While preparing this episode for replay, Laura learned that Isabel is currently living with cancer. You won’t want to miss listening to this conversation with someone who has found meaning and purpose in her life despite being born with an illness that forced her to confront her own mortality as a young child. Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, LCSW, MPH shares her unique perspective on grief as someone who has survived a lifetime of living with a terminal chronic illness, and the loss of many important people in her life. This episode raises thought-provoking questions about acceptance, our cultural view of death in the West, and how we handle unpleasant emotions. 

Isabel is a licensed clinical social worker and bereavement counselor at Mission Hospice & Home Care, where she counsels children, teens and adults who have lost a loved one. She also leads writing through loss groups for those who are grieving, among other support groups. Isabel has experienced significant losses of her own and has lived with serious illness all of her life.  

As an author, documentarian, patient advocate and public speaker, Isabel has lectured around the country on topics such as living well with illness, grief and loss, end-of-life issues and organ donation, including a TEDx Stanford talk in 2014. 

Find us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you get your podcasts!

Isabel’s website: http://www.thepoweroftwomovie.com/home/ 

Mission Hospice website: http://missionhospice.org 650-554-1000

Watch Isabel’s TEDx talk, “The Art of Saying Goodbye” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkffpibi-Dc  

Dr. Katherine Shear’s Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University: https://complicatedgrief.columbia.edu/about-us/our-team/ 

Podcast produced by Pete Bailey – https://petebailey.net/audio

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Original Date

May 11, 2023

About the Host

Laura Reagan, LCSW-C

Laura Reagan, LCSW-C is an integrative trauma therapist and owner of a group practice, the Baltimore Annapolis Center for Integrative Healing. She is also the host of Therapy Chat and Trauma Chat podcasts and the founder of the Trauma Therapist Network, a website for learning information about trauma and finding resources and help for trauma.

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