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Having Meaningful Conversations

By Caitlin Rife, LMSW

What does it mean to be a part of a meaningful conversation? When I think of conversations that I now look back on as meaningful, I think of a time when I felt truly heard and seen by the people I was speaking with, and reciprocally, those people felt heard and seen by me.

Whether we have just met someone, or we have known them our entire lives, connecting with others through conversation is a major part of the human experience and we all benefit from that connection.

The phrase, meaningful conversations, is also an exciting way that Jewish Community Services has decided to reimagine our existing support groups to be accessible and welcoming for all. We want anyone interested in participating to know that these are opportunities for people to come together to share experiences, resources, and questions in a non-judgmental and understanding space. Just as importantly, these conversations provide participants with the opportunity to build relationships and community with others who may be able to relate to their circumstances, whether it be grieving after the loss of a loved one, being a caregiver, or living with a chronic disease.

As a mental health professional, I understand the stigma associated with talking about the challenges we face. Our hope is that these conversations will help break down some of those barriers by allowing participants to be in control of setting the goals of each conversation, week-by-week or month-by-month, with JCS simply providing a safe and consistent space to achieve them.

Currently, JCS is offering the following conversations:

Living with Parkinson’s Disease
2nd Tuesday each month; 2:00 – 3:00 pm
jcsbalt.org/parkinsons

Living with Low Vision
2nd and 4th Thursdays each month; 1:30 – 2:30 pm
jcsbalt.org/low-vision

When Your Loved One has Dementia
1st and 3rd Mondays each month; 10:00 – 11:30 am
jcsbalt.org/dementia-support

When Your Loved One has Parkinson’s Disease
3rd Tuesday each month; 10:00 – 11:00 am
jcsbalt.org/care-partner-parkinsons

Caring for an Aging Loved one
3rd Wednesday each month; 3:00 – 4:00 pm
jcsbalt.org/aging-care

Good Company
1st and 3rd Wednesdays each month; 12:00 – 1:00 pm
jcsbalt.org/good-company

Grieving Together: Moving Forward After a Loved One’s Death
Dates and times vary
jcsbalt.org/grief

Grieving Together: Suicide Loss Survivors
2nd Thursdays each month; 7:00 – 8:30 pm
jcsbalt.org/suicide-loss/ 

Let’s start talking!

Caitlin Rife, LMSW is a Community Based Clinician at Jewish Community Services

JCS provides individuals and families throughout Central Maryland with a broad array of services and resources for emotional and behavioral health, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, financial stability, and living with disabilities. To learn how JCS can help you live your best life, please visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.

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JCS is closed Thursday, September 16 for Yom Kippur.
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