MENTAL HEALTH : LOSS
After Loss , SUPPORT ONLINE
Life coach Aleksandra Gasiorowska helps clients heal emotionally on Zoom
WRITTEN BY CINDY SCHWEICH HANDLER
When Aleksandra Gasiorowska set up her life coaching business during the early months of COVID , she knew she could relate to clients who ’ d gone through loss , because she ’ d experienced it herself . Gasiorowska had been supporting herself through modeling and bartending , and the shutdown prevented her from earning alivelihood .“ That was taken away from me , and it was ahuge adjustment ,” she says .
But the downtime was also an opportunity .“ Ihad achance toslow down and think about the next step Iwanted to take ,” says Gasiorowska , anative of Poland who lives in Wallington and studied marketing at William Paterson University .
She ’ dalways been the person colleagues sought out when they wanted to share their feelings and get advice . She decided to become alife coach . She received her certification through an online program called Coach Training Alliance .
“ There were lots oflosses during that time — loss ofjobs , loss ofpeople close to you , shifts inpeople ’ s lives ,” she says . She started conducting virtual one-on-one sessions as well as meet-up groups along different themes , including grief . Typically , sessions last anhour ; online attendance varies , but a recent group for clients processing grief attracted five-to-10 members , she says . Other virtual gatherings have included a men ’ s divorce support group , one for loss of any kind and aself-help book group .
“ They like that they have loss in common and can relate to each other ,” she says .“ Their friends and family are tired of hearing about it , and the sessions are where they can go and feel heard , not judged .”
Because her services are online , Gasiorowska can work with clients from around the world . “ I had aman in one meet-up group from Bali ,” a 12-hour time difference away , she says .
THE WAY FORWARD
Gasiorowska has a consistent message for those who are missing someone or something — a loved one , a job , or a sense of identity : Don ’ t suppress your feelings , and know that it ’ s ok to feel sad . “ Then you readjust and reframe your situation ,” she says .“ What can I do with this ?”
She tells grieving clients that they ’ re not moving on from lost loved ones , but moving with them . “ I say , ‘ Although this person is not physically here anymore , you can still take them with you . They can be in your mind , and you can speak or pray to them ,’” she says .“ I tell them to
“ Although this person is not physically here anymore , you can still take them with you . They can be in your mind , and you can speak or pray to them .”
remember funny things they shared . Humor helps a lot .” Even if a relationship with a parent wasn ’ t close , there will be moments to reflect on that bring them closer in spirit , she says .
Alarge number ofGasiorowska ’ sclients are divorced , having split up during COVID , she says ; many of them were in unhealthy relationships whose problems were made more obvious when they were forced to spend more time under the same roof with their mates . “ COVID made or broke a lot of relationships ,” she says .“ I dig in and help them figure out why they picked this sort of partner .”
After about three months , she says , it ’ s common for her to see a “ huge shift ” in a client ’ s outlook .“ I tell them at the beginning that they have to put in conscious effort , but after a while , you ’ ll look back and say ‘ Look what I ’ ve accomplished ,” she says . ❖
@ 201magazine ( 201 ) HEALTH 2022 EDITION 33