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December 2021 PU4P Newsletter

The Search For Peace In Troubling Times Marla Berger, LMHC, ATR, RPT-S

As we enter the last few weeks of 2021, I have found myself feeling buffeted by the sheer logistics of the holiday season. So many people to see, gifts and charities to grant, meals to plan…tempered with a strong desire to not live up to those expectations. The holidays have been a joyful and sorrowful time for me for many years. The experience of loss coupled with enjoyment of the season. The past few years have also been made so much more difficult by the communal trauma we experienced, witnessed and shared in 2018, exacerbated by Covid-19 and recent updates in the news. All of this brings February 2018 back to the forefront of my thoughts and feelings. And yet, I would like to feel the peace of mind that I worked so hard to regain and to enjoy these upcoming weeks. In order to make the impossible possible, I must check in with myself each day, sometimes multiple times each day to ascertain my window of tolerance – the concept that on any given day we have a certain amount of ability to handle difficult things. We grow our capacity by taking care of ourselves. This may mean limiting social media, news or talking with friends or family who trigger us. When we remove some of those stressful experiences, we have more ability to manage the stressors life throws at us. For years I resisted turning off the news and social media believing that I needed to stay informed. Once I cut the digital cord, I felt immensely better about the world. By bombarding my brain day in and day out with negative, scary imagery I had changed the way I saw the world. It had fundamentally become a terrible, dark place to live. Once I stopped feeding the darkness, I was able to focus on the connections I had with others and our world. I still hear the news, but in limited, tiny portions when I have extra capacity within myself. Self-care has also become marching orders for my life. Instead trying to cram in self-care on the weekends or sporadically, I made it a point to schedule it regularly, preferably daily. Banish the thoughts of pedicures and bubble baths as being the way to a happy life, instead focus on the core needs your body and brain crave - healthy living is synonymous with self-care. On the days that I am well-rested, eat well and work out, I can handle a fairly hectic day feeling unfazed because I did the work to make my window of tolerance large. Another way to put it, I have filled my cup with healthy living and coping strategies so I have plenty I can pour away without feeling overwhelmed, anxious or dysregulated. This month, turn the focus on yourself and see how you can make your window of tolerance larger. By taking care of yourself, you’ll ultimately be able to help your family, friends and community more – because you’ll have more of yourself to give. You deserve health and happiness, even in times of sorrow. Wishing you and your family a safe and peaceful holiday season. If you find that you have been struggling with grief & loss, intrusive triggers, flashbacks, nightmares, loss of energy, negative self-talk, self-blame, disregulated fears, feeling alone or helpless, know that you are not alone! Feel free to contact us: Our Mission: “Professionals United for Parkland was created to identify and meet the short and long-term needs related to mental health/well-being of the South Florida community in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy through evidence-based services including: education for the general community and professionals, clinical training, clinical services, support for clinicians, and more. We work alongside other local organizations and groups to ensure that we identify gaps in current services and that the needs of our community are being adequately addressed. We are entirely non-political.” If you find that you are in a state of emergency, please call 911, 211, or go to your local emergency room. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.




During the month of December, Professionals United for Parkland honors Peter Wang. For his acts of heroism, he was awarded the highest United States Department of the Army medal - ROTC Medal for Heroism and posthumously accepted West Point. In honor of his memory, the Peter Wang was created to help disadvantaged students and for donations to charities Peter supported. To learn more:


PU4P  Updates Interested in joining our trauma trained therapists (licensed only) - please take a few moments of your time and join the PU4P referral directory. The  MSD community will need services for the long run.  PU4P links those in need with a vetted list of trauma therapists. We ask for a commitment of 2 pro-bono clients a year. For more information or questions, please contact Please support PU4P by designating it as your charity with The AmazonSmile Foundation. They will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible purchases. Don't forget to check our Facebook page for the most current events, updates, and information about PU4P!  Thank you for your support of PU4P and your dedication to the Parkland community.

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