Keli Rugenstein, PhD, is a psychotherapist and has practiced in the capital region of New York State for over twenty years. Early in her career she specialized in treatment of clergy and their families. Working with this population revealed that a significant number of families experienced estrangements between family members as a way to handle distress. Over time a number of patterns emerged. Why people estrange their families, how that process develops, and what it takes for a successful reconciliation emerged as key distinctives in the estrangement process. What also emerged is that a great number of the people who had been estranged were parents who had been estranged by their adult children. Their pain was deep and chronic. Their physical, mental, social, and spiritual lives were harmed.
Estrangement was at the base of many other symptoms they sought treatment for. The parents who had been estranged did not recognize the effects the stress created within these systems. As long as they remained estranged, they remained stuck. And they were powerless because their children were setting the limits. They needed to recover.
Keli partnered with an old friend, Fe Anam Avis, who was himself an estranged parent. Together they have developed an approach to recovery that relieves the many symptoms and prepares the parent for the process of reconciliation.
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