Counselling centre offers help for motherless daughters

Motherless Daughters is a new support group, offered through York’s Counselling & Development Centre, for women who lost their mothers when they were children or teenagers.

Facilitator Catherine Coyle, a counsellor at the centre, was inspired to organize the six-week program after reading Motherless Daughters, a “powerful book” by journalist Hope Edelman that looks at the experiences of this group.

Women who have experienced the loss of their mother and experience what is sometimes called “missing mother syndrome” typically struggle with a prevailing grief that is often debilitating in many areas of their lives. Losing a mother due to death, divorce, incarrceration, severe medical condition, psychiatric hospitalization etc., leaves a girl without the on-going presence of a loving, supportive mother. This in turn can lead to feelings of being lost, out of place and unsafe, as well as lonely, angry and abandoned. These issues can affect their current relationships and in the university years, academic success can be impaired as well.

Although women typically start asking questions about these issues when they become mothers themselves and begin parenting, Coyle says anyone who has lost a mother can benefit from the sessions, which will cover topics such as fear of abandonment, fathers and step-parents, intimate relationships and becoming a mother.

This six-session group allows women to discuss their experiences with other women who share a similar background in a supportive, confidential, healing environment. Edelman’s book will be used as a resource and guide. The sessions will be held from 10:30am to noon beginning Oct. 9 and run until Nov. 13, in the Counselling & Development Centre, Bennett Centre for Student Services.

Registration in person only will be held Sept. 25 to 27, 10am to 12noon, in Room 122C, Bennett Centre for Student Services.