- I attended grief counseling sessions with Ben Cirlin for 9 months after losing my husband and son within 5 weeks of one another. Through Ben's quiet guidance I was able to begin the task of making sense of a world that had been upended. Ben's talent, wisdom and experience helped me work through feelings of remorse, guilt, loss, and anger. When I first walked into his office I felt alone and though I was good at keeping up good outward appearances I was able to really explore my feelings with Ben's help. He asked just the right questions and gave me just the right feedback to continue to do the very important work that gets done outside of the counseling room. I always looked forward to my sessions with Ben and though I'm leaving the state, I am leaving as a much healthier individual due to Ben's help. He is a treasure.
- I met with Ben Cirlin about seven times for individual therapy. My father died in May 2011 and in January 2012 the sadness surrounding my loss was becoming too much for me to deal with. With ease and a quiet intelligence Ben would ask how I was faring on a day to day level. He addressed my sadness at being unable to talk to my dad and the larger existential questions of my dad no longer existing. Ben effortlessly guided the sessions with questions that had me thinking about all the good things I thought about my father as well as the not so good things. What struck me frequently was his ability to ask a question that was bang on the money - and always at the moment when I thought I had nothing more to say or discuss. His ability to have me probe my own thoughts was indicative of a fabulous listener and an excellent therapist. And by the way, he has a great sense of humor! Thank you Ben for helping me get beyond the heartbreak of my dad’s death.
- I highly recommend this center. I went to a grief group after the death of my father and I found the group extremely helpful and very well run. The exercises that we had to do still stay with me and I was so thankful for this process.
- I attended and completed the "Group for Adult Children Who Have Lost a Parent" at about 10 months after losing my mother unexpectedly to pneumonia. I found the group to be immensely meaningful and helpful with my grief process in so many ways. Mostly, it was great to connect with other people who were going through the same thing and could understand my experience in ways that others in my life couldn't. I also learned a lot about the bereavement process in working with counselor- bits of wisdom and experience that have been helpful in finding my own unique path of grief and renewal. I would recommend this group to anyone looking for support in coping with a loss.
- My father and mother died within the last 8 months, so I began going to a group led by Ben Cirlin at the Center for Loss and Renewal. Ben is a very caring and nurturing therapist who did a wonderful job in attending to each of our needs (there were 4–5 in the group). I learned a lot, but mostly got the opportunity to share and be heard and loved by all in a safe room with people who had experienced the same type of loss as I.
- I lost both of my parents within 18 months of each other - after long illnesses. I was fortunate to find a support group for adult children who have lost a parent. Luckily I found the Center for Loss and Renewal and participated in a group run by Ben Cirlin. Being with people who were undergoing the same type of loss helped me understand that what I was going through was a normal part of the grieving process - especially when dealing with the loss of a parent. I also felt we got tools to help us move forward. Ben gave us homework assignments that were instrumental in drawing out my thoughts and feelings about the death of my parents. Ben is a very good therapist. He knows this subject and has a calm and inclusive style of facilitation. I left feeling more hopeful and energized. I will draw on this as I deal with the inevitable additional losses that will come as time goes by.
- Ben, I am especially thankful to you. Without your help and guidance (and hard homework assignments), I would not have been able to survive the loss of my father and overcome the excruciating pain that I had. You gave me hope that things will indeed get better and I can find the way to live without my dad. The exercises and all the input I received from you (and all the group) will be forever cherished and will constantly be put into practice!!!
- After I lost my dad I needed to be with people who understood what I was going through and to be in a safe space where I could talk about it. Ben Cirlin provided that, and I cannot say enough nice things about him or this program. "Adult Children Coping With The Loss Of A Parent" was such a blessing and I would recommend it to anyone who is grieving the loss of a mother or father. It's been over a year now but the lessons that I learned in this program have stayed with me. Ben Cirlin is kind and gentle, and his weekly homework assignments re- shaped the way that I think about grief. I lost my father in October of my senior year of college and was still able to graduate that May. I would not have been able to do that without the healing that happened at the Center For Loss and Renewal and I really cannot recommend it highly enough.
- Please allow this letter to serve as a strong recommendation for the workshops produced by R. Benyamin Cirlin with the Center for Loss and Renewal. We were fortunate to be able to secure Mr. Cirlin in March of this year at our Springfield, Missouri location. He provided a full day workshop on "In the Shadow of Loss and Death: Exploring the Intersection of Client and Professional Grief," Attendees at our workshops include psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, and psychiatric nurse practitioners — all of whom have considerable talent, expertise and training. All attendees had years of experience in treating grief and loss, and yet were engrossed from the moment he began his workshop. Their engagement only grew throughout the day, as it was clear that this presenter had a wealth of knowledge on the subject and was able to share that information in a very dynamic, absorbing and winning manner.Spending a Friday in a full day workshop can often be difficult, particularly if the weather outside is pleasant, or your desk is piled high with paperwork that you could be processing. Yet every individual attending this workshop viewed this day as one of the best choices of time allocation they had made. While everyone had absolutely delightful and positive comments about his workshop, the words of one participant likely capture the sentiments best:"l attended today's workshop only because I needed more CE credits for my licensure renewal. However, this is likely one of the very best workshops I have attended in my entire career. I am so glad I was able to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from Mr. Cirlin."We look forward to working with Mr. Cirlin on additional workshops. Our staff and area professionals are eager and hopeful of his future return to the Show Me State.
Denise Mills, Director Corporate Services
- The comments of participants, both written and verbal, spoke to your honesty and intimate understanding of Hospice work, and you certainly exceeded all of our expectations for the day. More over, the program served to unify, renew, and recharge all of us as only the truly gifted speakers are able to do. Many of the attendees have already asked for your return.
Judy Conarty, Community Medical Center, Toms River, NJ
- Your sensitivity, energy, and practical approach were well received by our staff and volunteers. The material that you shared enabled us to look within ourselves and figure out what our needs may be in dealing with our personal as well as professional issues regarding death and loss. The memorial service was a very special way to end the day. Your humor was greatly appreciated...When the audience leaves wanting more, you know you've done a great job!
Marlene Hart, Covenant Hospice Care Program, Urbana, IL
- Your gentle approach, interactive style, grand story telling, use of metaphor, and knowledge of the subject, served to make this workshop a most productive one...A new awareness has been generated for my staff in regard to their own grief issues and how they can deal with them more appropriately, and how they can more fully help the patients and families they serve. They definitely want you back for a follow-up workshop! Your program is definitely of the highest quality in content and presentation.
Michael Freytag, Hospice of Jackson, Jackson, MI
- Your material was well organized and relevant, but even more important was the style in which it was presented - calmly, with warmth and gentleness. Many people who heard you felt that you have been of enormous help in their individual lives as well as in their work. We are grateful to you.
Carole Klein, Hospice Care of the Low Country, Hilton Head, SC
Grief in the Workplace
- Benyamin came to our school after we had endured the death of a child in our program. The timing of the death happened to be during our first week back to school where we had planned on doing classroom set up, multiple professional developments, team bonding, and all of the other regular back to school routines. The loss stopped us all in our tracks and our small team were completely overwhelmed with shock, sadness, and grief. We knew it was critical to properly grieve as a community before opening up our arms to all of our children for the new school year.
Many of the teachers had a very strong relationship with the child, and felt great unease to enter into the room where the child once happily played and learned. When Benyamin came to speak to our group, he created a nurturing and warm environment for our staff to voice their sadness, concerns, anxieties and previous trauma that may have been impacting how they were processing this traumatic event. He discussed the definitions of different kinds of grief, and continued to remind us and ease our minds that within our community we are okay and safe. He raised open ended questions that allowed our staff to further elaborate on their thoughts and offered validation and active listening throughout the session. Benyamin also offered and taught breathing exercises that we could use when feeling anxious or when we just need to decompress.
The room felt much lighter by the time we were done with Benyamin and after this devastating heartbreak, that is exactly how we needed to feel. Benyamin truly created a safe space where he could stretch our thinking and he slowed us down when it felt like the world around us was spiraling like a tornado. We appreciate Benyamin for all that he has done in helping our team process and begin to move forward.
Administrator of a NYC Early Childhood Program
Ben came in at the last minute and ran a group for us for employees who had recently lost a colleague due to sudden illness. Ben’s facilitation was thoughtful and employees shared their feelings openly. I think it provided a space for people to share their sadness, their anger and their love of their lost co-worker. I heard from employees afterwards that they were grateful to have the time and space to start to process this loss. It showed that we are a caring employer.
Liz Sharpe, Director of Human Resources, The Public Theater
- Ben spent a day working with staff at our close-knit office after the unexpected and deeply traumatic death of our Executive Director. His assistance was deft and helpful, and we would highly recommend his services to organizations coping with trauma and loss.
Daryl Samuel, Director of HR and Administration, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest."
- Ross Stores experienced a tremendous loss this past year with the passing of one of our Senior Vice Presidents. When we learned of her terminal illness, we immediately reached out to Ben, as we knew that her passing would inevitably affect so many members of her staff. Ben’s expertise, calm demeanor and approach to the situation helped us develop a communication plan that allowed us to support the organization during their time of need. Ben was readily available and showed great care. As we managed this difficult situation, Ben provided a tremendous sense of support and clarity.
Christine Merletto, Senior Director, Associate Relations, Ross Stores, Inc
Staff Support Groups
- Ben Cirlin has been a keynote speaker at our Palliative Care and the Professional Caregiver conference for the past eight years. Using an interactive, conversational approach he guides attendees to a personal as well as general understanding of grief and bereavement and provides them with tools for working with patients, families, and colleagues who are facing change and loss. He provides a warm and safe environment that encourages the sharing of concerns and ideas. Our staff have been moved and energized by both his presentations and his caring nature. He consistently receives highest marks on post-conference evaluations.
Gordon Hutcheon, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center
- I've invited Ben to speak several times at different organizations and his presentations are informative, in-depth, steeped in current theory and research, and comprehensive. He is a warm, engaging presenter who connects well with his audience. I highly recommend him.
Randy Martin, PhD, Director of Clinical Services, Harris Rothberg International
- Your presentation to CCA staff was extremely helpful in dispelling some of the common myths surrounding grief and loss, and empowering counselors to address these issues with more confidence, acceptance, and empathy. The presentation was well thought out, clear, and engaging. I appreciate you taking the time to meet with us!
Jay Sandys, PhD, Vice President of EAP Operations and Clinical Services, Corporate Counseling of America
- Ben Cirlin has provided guidance, support, and comfort to many in his varied roles as a consultant and educator with the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter. It has been my privilege to work with him over these many years. Ben skillfully led a supervision group for clinicians in the chapter. He has presented to family caregivers about the issues of anticipatory grief, and the role of hospice in Alzheimer's care. And as a counselor in private practice he has provided a safe place for those with complicated grief to heal. Whatever his role, or the setting, Ben remains Ben; a genuinely nice guy who is a true professional, and an acknowledged expert in the field. His personal warmth and compassion is evident from the first encounter, as is his genuine interest in and concern for the people he serves.
Jed A. Levine, Executive Director, Programs and Services, Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter