Women, Sexuality and the Church by Liz Calabrese, MA

Results are in!

Lately the topic of sexuality, specifically among females in the church has sparked my interest. The thoughts cross my mind because I am a female, and I am also a part of the church. These thoughts are directly related to me, and many of those whom I love. I love the church, and this is where I was raised. I also see that the church (like everything else in this world) has room to grow. Several weeks ago I conducted an online survey. I obtained results from identifying females who grew up in the church. These women were primarily raised in the Evangelical church. The 5 questions were as followed;

1. Did you feel safe asking questions about sex with others at church? Out of 316 responses, 74% of them answered “no” they did not feel safe asking such questions.

2. How was masturbation talked about at church? Out of 316 responses, 43% stated “Always sinful” and even more, 54% stated that it “wasn’t talked about”.

3. Did anyone ever comment on the level of modesty of your clothing? Out of 316 responses, 70% states “yes”.

4. If yes, how frequently did you experience this? Out of 316 responses, 30% stated “yearly” and another 30% stated “monthly”.

5. How was sexual pleasure addressed in church? Out of 316 responses, 45 % stated, “sexual pleasure wasn’t addressed”, 20% stated “it was solely to please your partner”, and 5% stated “sexual experience is not for pleasure.”

I can’t help but notice an overwhelming dismissal of the conversation of sexual being-ness. The strange thing is, God made us to be sexual. Part of who we are is that we are sexual beings. Maybe even more hurtful is not the conversation being ignored, but when it is brought up, not engaging in healthy conversations on the topic. It is sad to me to think that women who are exploring this topic would be shut down. My hope is that through this conversation, more conversations on this topic will continue to unfold.

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Grieving During The Holidays – Free Workshop


The next session in our free quarterly workshop series on grief is taking place on Tuesday December 12 from 6:00-8:00. Sarah Netzky will be hosting this gathering which will focus on the particular challenge of grieving during the holidays. This season can be a very painful time for those who have experienced the loss of someone important to them. The group setting offers a space to talk to others who can relate. Participants will also learn about ways to manage intense sadness in the midst of others’ joy, navigate special traditions and even create new rituals that help integrate the loss.

For additional information or to register, Sarah can be contacted directly at sarahnetzky@gmail.com or 872-301-5539.

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When Grief Becomes Unmanageable: Seeking Counseling


50012657 - troubled young girl comforted by her friend, closeup images focus on hand.

You don’t have to go through it alone.

Grief is the normal and expected reaction when someone perceives the loss of a loved one or situation. A loss could be experienced in a variety of situations such as a divorce, moving away, the loss of a relationship, job loss, and the death of a loved one. When you grieve a loss, you may experience a variety of symptoms such as deep sadness, loss of sleep, ruminating thoughts around the loss, and isolating from others. For the most part grief is transitory and will improve over time without the help of a professional counselor. So, when should you seek assistance from a professional counselor?

Thoughts of Harming Yourself or Others

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others then it is important to seek out professional support immediately. It is important to tell someone you trust and to make an appointment with a professional who you can talk to about these thoughts and feelings. You do not need to go through this alone. If you are in immediate need, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 where you can talk to a crisis worker who can stay on the phone with you until you receive more immediate support.

Your Grief feels Overwhelming and Unmanageable

It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions while you grieve a loss such as deep sadness, anger, guilt, and sometimes even relief. If you ever feel overwhelmed or these emotions feel unmanageable then seeking out the support of a professional counselor may be beneficial. A professional counselor can help you cope with all of the different emotions you may be having in a warm, non-judgmental atmosphere and will allow you to grieve in your own time and pace.

Lack of Emotional or Social Support

We all need someone to talk to when we have experienced a loss. Many of us can call a friend or family member when we need to talk to someone supportive. Unfortunately, not everyone has the social support that will allow them to seek that comfort. Maybe you just moved to a new city or your family is just not capable of providing the support you need. A professional counselor provides you a place where you can get support around your loss. Your counselor may even be able to provide you with additional resources such as support groups where you get support from others who are grieving a similar loss.

Unhealthy Coping Strategies or Behavioral Changes

If you have notice unusual behavioral changes or others have pointed out some unhealthy coping strategies such as drinking far more or more often, talking with a professional may help. Your counselor can help you learn healthier coping strategies and help you get to feelings that need to be expressed but may be too painful.

Changes in Your Relationships

Sometimes grieving a loss can start to interfere with relationships in your life. Speaking with a counselor can help you to learn new ways to communicate and to provide you the space to process your grief and relational difficulties.

Not everyone who is grieving a loss needs to seek grief counseling but there are some instances where seeking professional support can help you process your grief. There is nothing wrong with seeing a therapist and going to counseling does not mean you are “crazy.” Everyone needs a little extra support at times and a counselor can provide that when it is needed.

Sarah Netzky, MA is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a practice focus on grief and bereavement. She helps individuals navigate the perosal, relational and cultural challenges of grieving and also runs two grief groups; one for general loss and another specific to prenatal, perinatal and infant loss. To make an appointment with Sarah you can email her at sarahnetzky@gmail.com.


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Coping With Grief During the Holidays By Sarah Netzky, MA, LPC

On Saturday December 3, I offered a workshop on how to deal with the grieving process during the holiday season. In this two-hour workshop, participants learned new information about grief and grieving but most importantly they were able to get support from others who themselves are grieving. Below is a review of what was covered at the workshop.

What is Grief?

Grief is a normal, natural human response to a loss. Everyone’s grief is different. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. While grief has particular hallmarks and things that most people will experience, each of us it will express our grief uniquely. It is unreasonable to expect your grief to match others around you but the differences are sometimes difficult to manage internally and interpersonally. Although the feelings and emotions can be hard to tolerate, they are normal and will ease as time goes on.

When will it be over?

This was a main question among the workshop participants and one that often comes up in the grieving process. Unfortunately, there is no predictable timeline or end date for grief. While it feels all-encompassing at first, it does lessen as time goes on. Grief ebbs and flows. Sometimes the feelings will be pretty manageable, while other times the feelings will become very intense. One of the workshop members said it best, describing grief as a roller coaster. The anger, despair, fear and sadness that accompany grief can be triggered at any time by things such as anniversaries, familiar places and even dreams. The first year after the loss is usually the most challenging. This is when these triggers are being experienced for the first time; the first birthday without the loved one, the first annual vacation, the first holiday, and especially the first anniversary of the death. During these reminders, it can feel like the loss is brand new again and one can easily feel overwhelmed and isolated again, much like the period shortly after the loss. After the first death anniversary, people often move into a different phase of the grieving where the triggers are less frequent and less intense. But there will never be a time when this loss won’t matter or you won’t be affected by it. And that is ok.

Coping Skills for the Holidays

Coping with the holidays can be difficult as you must decide what you can do with the traditions you had and the feelings that come up knowing the person you loved will not be with you. Here are some tips regarding traditions:

  • Continue the Traditions – If the tradition included taking pictures, you might take a picture while holding a picture of your loved one or special memento that represents your relationship with the person you lost.
  • Take a Year Off – Acknowledge that the first year is likely to be the hardest. Take any pressure off of yourself to decide what to do about your holiday traditions. For now, allow yourself to grieve and reassess what you want to do next year.
  • Create New Traditions – You may create new traditions by lighting candles in memory, having each person present say something about the lost loved one, keeping a place the table, or writing a letter to your loved one.

No matter what you choose to do surrounding the traditions at the holidays, birthday, or anniversaries, the most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself while you are grieving. Here are some tips for self-care during this difficult time:

  • Get support around your grief through trusted friends, family, religious leaders, or your counselor. Look for support groups where you can be together with those who are sharing a similar experience.
  • Snuggling a beloved pet can and have brought comfort to those who are grieving. The pet gives unconditional love and acceptance and can give meaning to the person who is grieving
  • Do something special for yourself on a regular basis: enjoying a special food or drink, making time for that pet project, getting a massage, exercising or taking a bubble bath.
  • Buying yourself a gift or taking a short trip on your own or sign up for a retreat.

Feedback from the workshop

I truly enjoyed getting to know the workshop participants and hearing their stories. They reported feeling supported and left feeling encouraged. Each member voiced a wish for more, either in the form of longer and more frequent workshops or an ongoing support group. I am happy to develop more offerings in response to what is clearly a need for grief support here in the city. If you would like to provide feedback or request a specific service, feel free to contact me at sarahnetzky@gmail.com. Otherwise, please keep your eye on this blog for announcements about future workshops and groups.

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Coping With Grief During the Holidays



The holidays can be a stressful and difficult time especially for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. If you have lost a child, spouse, parent, sibling, or friend, I invite you to gather with others in the same situation to find support and share ideas for managing throughout this difficult time of year. We will remember those who have left us and possibly even create new traditions. Preregistration is required as space limited.

Workshop Fee: $35

Date: December 3, 2016

Time: 2:30-4:30

Location: 155 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 510


To register, please contact Sarah Netzky, MA, LPC at sarahnetzky@gmail.com.

Payments can be made through PayPal by visiting www.drchristinecarpenter.com/information/insurance-fees.

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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month by Sarah Netzky, MA, LPC

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-dayEven before a child is born, mothers have hopes, dreams and fantasies of who their children will be and what being a parent to that child might be like. During pregnancy, they begin preparations.They fill their homes with baby clothes, toys, books and supplies. They decorate rooms and fill them with tiny furniture to create a space that is welcoming and comforting to the newest little addition to their family.

When those dreams are cut short by miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, mothers need space to acknowledge their child’s brief but significant life. They need room to grieve their unbearable loss and they deserve support around an experience that no mother should ever have to go through.

October was declared National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. This is a time to honor those parents who have lived the unspeakable. This is a time to honor the children they have lost.

As President Reagan stated, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”

In addition to October being designated a month of remembrance, October 15th was declared as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This day is for parents, grandparents, siblings, family and friends to surround and support parents in their grief and honor the children they have lost. On this day around the world at 7:00 pm, people are invited to light a candle and to keep it burning for at lease one hour in memory and celebration of the child’s life.

In recognition of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I am offering a 12-week support group for women at any point in their grief process. Angel Moms Grieving Together is designed to provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental space to share your unique experience and honor your child; a space where you can voice their name. Being with other mothers who have experienced a similar loss, you can take the time you need to process feelings and learn to cope with others who may be ready for you to be done grieving or who may be grieving differently than you. Within a supportive environment you can regain hope for the future and begin living again.

Angel Moms will meet on Saturdays from 2:30-4:00 at the Michigan Avenue Office. Please contact me directly at 872-301-5539 or sarahnetzky@gmail.com to schedule a pre-group assessment.

Sarah Netzky, MA, LCPC

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Dating Boot Camp 2: Final Week Update

The second round of Dating Boot Camp is in the books! In the last meeting, members processed their dating assignments and shared how their experience was influenced by what they’ve been learning in DBC. They also explored their own relational style and how that manifested in past relationships and reflected family patterns. We talked about how to attract the right people and heightened awareness of ways that each member keeps themselves stuck. We wrapped up by offering final observations about each person’s dating strengths and liabilities and a bit of advice to take home. All in all, DBC 2 was a great success! With a bittersweet good-bye, group members parted ways with the intention to stay connected and continue to support each other through what can be a very challenging process. I will be checking in with them in a few months to see how things are going.

I am currently enrolling for the next DBC. I have time to run two more groups before the summer hiatus and have openings for men and women across the age spectrum.

Happy dating!


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Dating Boot Camp 2: Week 4 Update

This week Boot Campers examined their ideas of what they want in a partner. We ranked personality characteristics in order of importance but also looked at how appealing each trait was. It was interesting to see that sometimes what is important isn’t always the most appealing and vice-versa. Participants played with the notion of making trade-offs in relationships and confronted the issue of physical attractiveness as an influential factor.

As they prepare to go on their practice date in the next week, members had a lively discussion about common issues that come up on the dating scene such as:

  • whether dinner or something less involved makes more sense for a first date
  • is it offensive for the woman to offer (or NOT offer) to split the check on a first date
  • the benefits and drawbacks of the woman initiating a first date
  • given how broad the dating field can be, to what extent is it helpful to make assumptions about character based on small amounts of demographic information
  • what are the best ways/places to meet people

I look forward to hearing about the practice dates in our final meeting next week. In this last group, we will also explore the idea of “fit”. Participants will look at who they click with and why and whether the fireworks we all seem to want are always a good thing.

Until then, happy dating!



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Dating Boot Camp 2: Week 3 Update

This week Boot Campers critiqued each others’ dating profiles. They took full advantage of the opportunity to ask each other for feedback and advice. Everyone from friends to family has advice about what should and shouldn’t go into a dating profile. It was great to see participants be able to go to the source (i.e., other daters) to ask questions, dispel myths and share their reactions to what they see in their search for a partner. There was a lot of fruitful discussion about level of detail to include, what to do with the drop-down menu options, I.D. names and, of course, pictures. It was interesting to see how different people had different reactions to things which, seems  to support the idea that you need to be true to who you are to attract someone who will fit with that truth. I look forward to more lively discussion next week as we explore the notion that what we think we want in a partner may not be what we need.

Happy dating!


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Dating Boot Camp 2

The second session of Dating Boot Camp is underway! In the first and second weeks, participants examined the very early stages of getting to know each other. In Week 1, we discussed the utility and limiting qualities of snap judgements and first impressions. Then, we deepened the interactions and explored the process of how we get to know each other. Then we deepened in a bit further to compare and contrast the experience of superficial data gathering with the sharing or more intimate information. In the second week, participants processed the feedback and reactions they received from each other from the previous week. The theme of interpersonal vulnerability was explored as members challenged themselves to share in new and different ways. The group agreed that, even though it is difficult and scary, the experience of being more open is more satisfying and leads to a greater sense of connection. Stay tuned for more updates as members look at how they present themselves to the world, why they fit or don’t fit with particular people and whether or not what they are looking for in a partner is indeed what they need. Happy dating!


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