Archive for January 2017


Two inspiring poems on looking at the end of life.  Mary Oliver writes:

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world

The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac

Why should I have been surprised?
Hunters walk the forest
without a sound.
The hunter, strapped to his rifle,
the fox on his feet of silk,
the serpent on his empire of muscles—
all move in a stillness,
hungry, careful, intent.
Just as the cancer
entered the forest of my body,
without a sound.

The question is,
what will it be like
after the last day?
Will I float
into the sky
or will I fray
within the earth or a river—
remembering nothing?
How desperate I would be
if I couldn't remember
the sun rising, if I couldn't
remember trees, rivers; if I couldn't
even remember, beloved,
your beloved name.

I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you're in it all the same.

so why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it's happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat,
all the fragile blue flowers in bloom
in the shrubs in the yard next door had
tumbled from the shrubs and lay
wrinkled and fading in the grass. But
this morning the shrubs were full of
the blue flowers again. There wasn't
a single one on the grass. How, I
wondered, did they roll back up to
the branches, that fiercely wanting,
as we all do, just a little more of

Community Partners

Elevated Insights Assessment provides psychological evaluation services in Denver, Colorado. They offer insight into your child’s ability to function across settings, highlighting attributes to promote while identifying areas of concern that may require intervention.  They provide Cognitive/IQ, Academic/Achievement, ADHD, Memory/Learning, Autism Spectrum, Social Emotional/Behavioral, and Child Welfare Testing.  Learn more by calling 303-756-1197 or visiting

Sasha Mizrahi, Psy.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Denver, CO. She specializes in treating individuals and couples struggling with depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. Learn more at

Alex McDermott, Psy.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Denver, CO.  She specializes in psychological testing for children and teenagers for learning disabilities, ADHD, personality, and IQ testing.  She also provides individual psychotherapy.  Learn more by calling 720-485-4194 or visiting

Grief Counseling Effectiveness Depends On Your Interest

A quick Google search might indicate that grief counseling is not very effective. This well publicized idea, though, is incomplete and harmful.

The caution against grief counseling is a benevolent one.  It is based in the well-established finding that many people don’t need professional help to effectively work through their grief.  However, this warning stigmatizes the minority (which, mind you, is still a large number of people!) who do in fact need help.  Let me explain:


  •  10-20% of people who experience a death loss develop what’s called complicated grief. All of the same research that cautions against grief counseling explicitly recommends grief counseling for people with complicated grief.  I would go one step further and recommend grief counseling to a person at risk for complicated grief.  You can read more about complicated grief here.
  • Most studies actively recruit their participants. This method distorts findings because research includes many people who never would have sought grief counseling on their own. This contrasts with my experience: nearly every client I work with has sought me out. It turns out this is a key difference! A less well publicized review found that grief counseling is effective for people who self-select to receive treatment (Effectiveness of Grief Therapy: A Meta-Analaysis, Allumbaugh & Hoyt, 1999).  So if you’re considering grief counseling, your mere interest will improve its ability to help you.

I could say much more about research on the effectiveness of grief counseling, but to be brief I will stop here.  Grief is ultimately an individual process, and a difficult one (like most psychological phenomena) to understand. If you’d like to talk through whether grief counseling would help you, give me a call at 720-515-9427.