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Support Groups

What can I expect from a support group?

  • A safe environment where one can tell his or her story and express feelings freely, knowing that others will be understanding, non-judgmental, and supportive.
  • A place for establishing a connection with others to decrease the isolation that grief brings.
  • A forum for understanding common myths about grief and typical grief patterns.
  • A place for people of all faiths to learn from each other through sharing their grief stories in a non-judgmental way.
  • A community that validates and normalizes one’s emotional reactions.
  • A place for learning that there are many different ways to grieve, all of which are natural and acceptable.
  • A resource for gathering articles, poetry, and reading lists to further one’s awareness of the many aspects of grief. Discussion of articles can serve as a springboard for identifying important meanings in one’s own loss and to learn from examples of how others have faced their losses.
  • A place for learning new coping skills, relaxation techniques, stress management skills, and daily survival skills that others in the group have found effective.
  • The opportunity for members to help each other brings strength, confidence, and a new sense of purpose and value.
  • Opportunities to learn ways to create memories and observe anniversaaries and other important milestones.
  • A sounding board where members can present ongoing or new concerns, report on progress or challenges, and safely come back for help when they experience setbacks or backslides in their grief journeys.
 
Note below: Grandparents Support Group welcomes grandparents and extended family members of the child.






Star Legacy Foundation support groups are held virtually via synchronous online video and are encrypted for security. All support group facilitators are trained mental health professionals with first-hand experience and/or practice emphasis in perinatal loss.

A grief support group offers a different quality of support and connection that comes from being with people who have also recently experienced a loss. Grief support groups provide emotional support, validation, and education about grief.

Registration is only required once for each group you wish to attend. All groups are free to attend for as long as you wish.

When you join a new support group, you may be nervous about sharing personal issues with people you don't know. So at first, you may benefit from simply listening. Over time, though, contributing your own ideas and experiences can help you get more out of a support group. But remember that support groups aren't a substitute for regular medical care. Let your doctor know that you're participating in a support group. If a support group isn't your thing but you need help coping with your condition or situation, talk to your doctor about counseling or other types of therapy.


Observation Policy: To protect participant confidentiality and preserve a safe place for our families, we do not grant permission to any individual(s) or family members who have not themselves experienced perinatal loss to observe any Star Legacy Foundation support group. For this reason, we also do not authorize the recording of support group sessions.

Our Support Group Facilitators

JoAnn O'Leary

Joann O’Leary, PHD, MPH, MS, IM-ER(IV)

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Dr. O’Leary, holds a B.E.S. and a Masters in Maternal-Child Health from the University of MN. She also has a Masters in Psychology through research from Queens University in Belfast,

Tricia Rausch

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Tricia Rausch is a registered nurse at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Birth Center in Shawnee Mission, KS.  She has worked with families in the Birth Center for over 14 years as

Lyssa Oldre

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Lyssa holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in Counseling Psychology. Lyssa is a licensed counselor currently practicing at Vayda Mental Health Collaborative in

Mark Terjessen

Mark Terjesen, PhD

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Dr. Terjesen has been active with Star Legacy Foundation for several years since the stillbirth of their daughter Savannah.  In 2022 Dr. Terjesen joined our Family Support team as our

Elizabeth R. B. Naylor, LGSW, MS-DRL, IBCLC

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Liz’s (she/her) origins are as a certified birth doula, childbirth educator, and birth professional trainer. She now primarily works as an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, a craniosacral therapist, and a

Anna Calix

Anna Calix

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Anna joined the Star Legacy Foundation in 2021 as our Spanish support group facilitator. She was born and raised in Honduras and came to the United States to pursue a

Alise Novak, PsyD, LP

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Alise is a doctor of clinical psychology and works as a licensed psychologist where she specializes in reproductive and perinatal mental health. She is co-founder of a group private practice

Kathleen Massmann, MS, LAMFT

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Kathleen Massmann is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Clinical Director of Healing Moments Counseling. She has over 20 years of experience working with a wide range of clients including

Bianca Goodrum, PHD, LPC

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Bianca Goodrum has a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Bianca’s Dissertation is entitled “Grief Counselors’ Self-Care and Wellness Practices: A

Deb Fischer

Debbie Fischer, M.A., LAMFT

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Debbie holds a master of arts in marriage and family therapy from St. Mary’s University of MN. After a 20 year career in human resources, where she worked for Target

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