Therapist’s Experience is Used to Help Others

By Brandon HENSLEY

Dr. Gloria Lee knows about trauma. When she was a child she was involved in a car accident with her father, mother and brother. She was the only survivor and ended up being adopted – illegally by today’s standard according to her – by her father’s friend and his family.

Lee was greatly affected for a long time.

“I woke up in the middle of the night screaming,” she said.

She wasn’t allowed to see her aunt until 55 years later when they reunited and she told Lee about how she was adopted wrongfully. Her adoptive parents and aunt are now gone. She said she loved her adopted family and appreciated them, but did not respect them.

It is those experiences that Lee, a licensed marriage and family therapist,  carries with her today and helps others. In September, she will be helping those at St. Bede’s the Venerable Roman Catholic Church.

Beginning Sept. 15 and running to Oct. 20, St. Bede’s will host a six-week program, “Good Grief,” for those who have lost a loved one. Each session is from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Lee, a member of the parish, will counsel on how to get through the grieving process and will allow people to break up into small groups and share their experiences. Topics will include “Good Grief vs. Bad Grief,” and “Reemerging into Life with Hope and Purpose.”

Lee’s experience has taught her well, she said.

“It’s one of the reasons why I do well as a therapist. I have a lot of intuition … I can pick up on what’s going on, and I think that’s because I have wounds.”

Lee added, it is good for someone to keep on telling their story of loss because the more they tell it the more the brain stores it as a narrative and moves it from the part of the brain that had placed it as a painful memory.

Lee said she doesn’t know how many people will show up on Sept. 15. One time she did a session with only three people, but that was okay.

“I look at it as those three are the ones that needed to be there,” she said.

St. Bede’s also has a monthly support group, which meets on the third Wednesday of every month in the Parish Center from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For more information on Lee’s “Good Grief” program, call (818) 949-4300. Participants are asked to bring a small photo of their loved one to the first session.

St. Bede’s Parish Center is located at  215 Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada.