Video interview: Grief related to 9/11 attacks

Check out this clip fom my interview on Bay Area KTVU Ch. 2 news on Sept. 8.

Includes clip with Christine!

Eric & Danielle

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My new services: Elder Care Resource Planning

I have a great new service to announce:  Elder Care and Illness Resource Planning!

I am responding to the distress I have witnessed over the years of folks who are “planning” for their elder care or illness management needs while in crisis, in the emergency room or coming out of a hospital with “discharge planning” that happens very suddenly.  I contend that “planning” does not have to be an emergency!  If there are individuals or families willing to think ahead about what MIGHT be needed in the coming months and years, I can help them avoid the crisis and ease into accessing resources as they are needed.

I had the chance to launch this service with some willing folks on the Peninsula.  This is a couple who, in their very active 60s and 70s, are interested in pre-planning for future needs as they “age in place.”  I offered my research and planning services to them and here’s what we came up with:  a very detailed portfolio of local resources specific to this couple’s likely needs.  This portfolio is intended to be a road-map of resources to access as they may be needed as well as a detailed guide of definitions of different types of care and services available in their specific community.

The portfolios I create are different from a generic and limited hand-out one might obtain from a community senior-center as they are intended to be tailored to the individual client and to be more comprehensive for the client’s specific use.  While I am not currently adding on “care management” to my palate of services, I am available for on-going consultations with my Resource Planning clients.  This is appropriate for individuals and families who may have current needs as well as for those who are anticipating future needs.  I am happy to travel throughout the Bay Area for such location-specific research and consultations.

Contact me if you are interested in planning for yourself or a beloved family member  (510) 522-2663

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Volunteer Training at Sutter Hospice

Last night I had the opportunity to assist with the excellent volunteer training at Sutter Hospice in Emeryville. Merry Steagall, the amazing volunteer coordinator there asked me the speak to volunteers about Setting Healthy Boundaries. I have given this talk in years past, and was happy to do it again. We touched on the importance of maintaining one’s own boundaries as well as respecting those of patients/clients in regard to personal space, respect for time and physical limitations. We covered professional/volunteer role specifications/limitations as well as legal liability issues. Finally, we has some time with the idea of self-care (important for volunteers, professionals and family caregivers alike!). The volunteer group had a lively discussion and I was so glad for the participation and wisdom of Sutter’s new Bereavement Coordinator, Neave. I suspect Merry and the hospice folks may lure me back for more great stuff with the volunteer team. As you may have gathered, I have a big mushy place in my heart for hospice and am so glad to be able to help in this way. More to come ….

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New website

Please visit my new website …

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My listing on

CAMFT (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists) is now changing its therapist listing service. It was previously (this is operational until January 2011). In January, it will be searchable as Check out my profile there!

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Rainy Day for Altar workshop 2010

 The Dia de los Muertos Altar-Making workshop was sparsely attended this year, possibly due to the rain and wind. Despite the storm, the day of art and remembrance was lovely. Check out the photos. I hope to provide this workshop again in the future. Oh, and I found some amazing resources for Day of the Dead supplies (Corazon del Pueblo in Oakland and Global Exchange in Berkeley, along with the gift shop at the Oakland Museum — the large altar installations this year are amazing!). Hasta otro tiempo ….

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Art and science reflections for Lifelong Learners at the SF Exploratorium

Oct., Nov. and Dec. 2010 I will be assisting with the Lifelong Learning Program at the San Francisco Exploratorium. This new series of classes for adults include hand-on science experiences and facilitator-led art projects in response to participants’ reflections. Oct. theme is Plankton Properties, Nov. theme is Illuminating Time and the Dec. theme is Marbling with Physics. I am honored to assist with the art and personal reflections of the groups. Check out for more information. Yesterday (Sun. Oct. 17th) we got a great biologist-led discussion on the Living Waters/plankton exhibit before the Exploratorium opened to the general public and then had an amazing time using recycled plastic materials to create our own interpretation of plankton (using both literal interpretation and free-association). Great fun — playfulness is not just for kids!

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How to find the office

Counseling office:

3215 Encinal Ave., Suite K
Alameda, CA 94501

(at the corner of Encinal Ave. and High St.   Upstairs in the Encinal Marketplace)

Office Phone (510) 522-2663

Directions: From 880 No. or So., take the High St. exit.
If coming from the So., turn left at High St. If coming from the No., turn right at High St. Follow High St. over the High St. Bridge into the city of Alameda. Travel several blocks and come to the Encinal Marketplace on your left at the corner of High St. and Encinal Ave. The street address is NOT on the building. Turn into the parking lot either from High St. before the corner, OR turn left onto Encinal Ave. and make a U-turn so that you can enter the parking lot from Encinal Ave. There is parking among the shops or continue through the main parking area to a larger second parking lot adjacent to the first. The office is upstairs (Suite K). You can enter the building from the stairs through the glass door at the far parking lot OR use the stairs or elevator next to Mona’s Table restaurant. The office is at the end of the corridor, corner office, facing the far parking lot.

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New low-cost Caregiver Support Group Wednesdays 11:30-12:30

Announcing the formation of a new low-cost support group:

Caring for Caregivers
On-going group support for those caring for a chronically/critically ill or elder relative.

Come get a break from the intensity of caring for your loved-ones. Find camaraderie and shared ideas for coping with this challenging role.

We will meet weekly on (note: no session on wed. nov. 24)

Wednesdays 11:30am-12:30pm in Alameda, California

If there is ample interest, will add a second meeting time.

$20 per session

Pre-registration is required prior to attending

Call for more information and directions (510) 522-2663

Facilitated by Christine S. Kovach, LCSW. I am in private practice in Alameda with a 16 year background in hospice and home care social work.

Caregivers are “my people”!

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Day of the Dead Workshop Oct. 24th, 2010

I have for many years held a fascination and reverence for Dia de los Muertos celebrations held in honor of lost loved-ones. I am in awe of the “normalcy” of acknowledging Death as part of Life and the playfulness in which the Trickster Death is depicted in decorated sugar skulls and tongue-in-cheek skeleton portrayals. In particular, I am attracted to the altars dedicated to both those recently lost and to ancestors, keeping all of those spirits close. For years, I have imagined facilitating a workshop that would meld my love of these traditions with art-making and the “therapy” of rituals and story-telling in honor of those who have died.

So here it is ….

Day of the Dead
Altar-making workshop
In honor of lost loved-ones
(a day of creative expression, imagery and reflection)
Please, adult participants only
Date: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Time: 9:30am-2:00pm
Location: Rhythmix Cultural Works
2513 Blanding Ave., Alameda, CA 94501
Cost: $65 per person
(includes art materials and refreshments)

Please contact Christine Kovach, LCSW to pre-register and obtain more information
(510) 522-2663

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