Tag Archives: counseling

Pianos, musical instrument sculpture

I am struck by the large number of pianos I have seen among the burned homes. I never knew there were so many pianos in our neighborhood because I never heard them played, and it is tragic to see them lying there.  I would like to make a sculpture out of any remains of musical instruments that were lost in the fire, and it is my hope that this could be used as a tool to help raise money to assist victims who lost so much.  Perhaps this could also be incorporated with some live music while on display at some time in the future. Please, if you find remains of your musical instruments and would like them to find rebirth in a work of art, contact me directly.

Mark Fitzsimmons
2062 La Paloma

Coping With Traumatic Events

Traumatic events are not easy for anyone to understand or accept. The emotional impact of war and other trauma can have devastating effects on the mental well-being of individuals of all ages. Many of us find it easier to focus our energies on the needs of other people at times like these, often to the point of neglecting ourselves.

While taking care of others is a noble effort, it is perfectly okay to place yourself first and to deal with your own reactions and emotions. You can learn ways to cope with the mental and emotional stress and even redirect it in positive ways. In the long run, this will make you a stronger, more reliable resource for family and friends during their times of need.

The following link leads to a wide variety of downloads that include tips for teachers, parents, and emergency/disaster responders impacted Traumatic Events. You must have Adobe Acrobat to Reader to open and read the articles.


Station Fire Support Group


I am collecting names of folks impacted by the Station Fire that would be interested in participating in a Support Group.

I am the Administrator for the San Fernando Valley Long Term Recovery Group serving residents from the Sayre/Marek Wildfires in ’08.

We created a very successful support group for Sylmar and Lake View Terrace residents and we’d like to do the same for your community.

It’s still in the planning stages, and in order for us to officially move forward with arranging a space to hold the group, we have to know how much interest there is.

Support groups are ideally a maximum of 12-15 participants. They are held on a once a week basis and would be facilitated by a mental health professional.  If there are more than 12-15 interested residents, we will work on creating a second support group if necessary.

This is a great way for neighbors to keep in touch, and have a safe and supportive environment to release their concerns at this traumatic time. Together, you can work towards emotional recovery. Also note that whether you had a complete loss, partial loss, or no loss, everyone in this community has been affected by this disaster and all are welcome to register.  There will no fee for this service.

Please contact me either by phone or email if you are interested in signing up at:


Emotional Recovery After Natural Disasters: How to Get Back to Normal Life

This is a book I’ve shared with multiple disaster relief responders, mental health professionals and survivors. You can purchase this book used very reasonably at Amazon:


By Ilana Singer

A new book release, gives more than simple advice from a grief counselor. This easy-to-read book is filled with practical information and tactics for victims of natural disasters and the people who work with them. Tested, successful directions include examples of what to do and what not to do, all part of recovering from trauma and returning to normal life.

We meet six-year old Dominique, traumatized by the Northridge Earthquake, who needs solutions to her anguish, not theories or explanations. Parents, teachers, and doctors learn easy, practical measures to help relieve a child’s fearfulness.

Hank, a firefighter is recovering from smoke inhalation. His wife, Joyce, sits at his bedside as he recovers. For weeks, horrific memories of the Vietnam War interweave with images of being trapped by the Oakland firestorm. We learn how trauma effects emergency workers and their families, and how depression is often a normal reaction.

Through these and other stories of families, teens, and seniors, myths are uncovered and readers get sound new direction: Avoid anyone, psychologists, tv experts, and do-good advisers, who say you must “relive” and “go into” your anguish or you won’t recover. It is one thing to recall past horrors from a safe distance of many years, it is quite another to relive shocking events while recovering from the current one.

Victims and non-victims alike learn the frequently overlooked signs of trauma and what to do during the acute phase of emotional shock. Coping and moving beyond the acute phase works best when you use the right “tactics,” tactics that are found is this book. These tactics tell you what to do to build the strategies you need. They offer a solution, not a philosophy, differing from traditional counseling in three profound ways: Putting you in charge, making you the expert on your needs, and letting you devise your own solutions.