In Grief Hope The Lessons Of Sandy Hook

By Neal H. Brodsky, MPA, MA, LMFT - December, 2017

On a December morning 5 years ago in 2012, during the hour of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children ages six and seven along with six teachers, I was meeting at the Newtown office of my longtime mentor and teacher in Core Energetics and body-centered psychotherapy, Joyce Livingston. Over the years that followed, Joyce and I often spoke about the events of that day, how they had galvanized my commitment as a family therapist in the healing of trauma and fired my resolve to support sane public policy that would save lives. Joyce Livingston died last week. This week, the United States Congress may vote on a bill that would allow concealed weapons to be carried across state lines and require states such as mine that have put certain restrictions in place to abide by “concealed carry” regulations of the gun carrier’s state, no matter whether those regulations are lax or non-existent.  The National Rifle Association has called this bill its top legislative priority. This week, vigils will take place across the country and call for the implementation of legislation that protects people from violence and death inflicted by guns. In Joyce Livingston’s memory, I am making a donation to the Newtown Action Alliance, a national grassroots organization formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. The organization’s mission is to achieve the steady and continuous reduction of gun violence through legislative and cultural changes.


May we continue to act and speak and take positive action in the name of healing.

Addendum to " Finding the Lost Boys - A Therapist Talks About Teens"

By Neal H. Brodsky , MPA, MA, LMFT - December, 2012

The shootings by a young man in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre cause us to reach into our hearts to feel our grief for the victims, their families and perhaps even for the shooter himself. We cry for the lost children and teachers. And partly because grief is so hard to hold, we may turn to blame and even bitterness.
Yet if we get caught up in thoughts of good versus evil, we may miss the lessons that Sandy Hook has for us. Perhaps the greatest call now is to look deeply into the places in our souls and family lives that cry out for healing. While the news stories of this tragedy and loss may become fewer in the coming months, the opportunity for healing on individual and family levels will remain for a long time.

Ten days after Sandy Hook, the words of Alexander Lowen, M.D., founder of Bioenergetics, the body-centered psychotherapy work closely allied to the Core Energetics work I offer to my clients, are stirring in my aching heart. In the film, “You Are Your Body”, he says: “ When you lose contact with your body, you enter a little bit of an insane world. That’s what insanity is – you become unreal – you don’t feel yourself in a human way.”

When I think of Adam Lanza, truly a lost boy, I wonder whether he knew or felt the impact of what he was doing in his body and being. I also think of the parts in me and in my clients that are in terror, in hiding. I wish I could have reached out to help Adam. I wish I could have done something to save those who died by his hand.

Today in our towns and cities, many boys are in pain. They are not Adam but they live daily with uncertainty and fear. These boys need to be met and witnessed on a deep level so they can learn to feel into themselves and their humanity. If they have an opportunity to experience more of who they are and what they feel, we will be giving them and ourselves a great gift. With constancy of caring attention and space to breathe amid our demanding adult expectations of them, they will grow into men who are true to themselves  -- men who can build a world ruled less by fearful minds and more by the wisdom of body and spirit.

Neal H. Brodsky is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice with offices in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Manhattan. He also works with young adults online via Skype and FaceTime. In addition, Neal serves couples and families together with his wife and co-therapist Judy Gotlieb, LMFT. Contact him at 203-644-3960 or [email protected]

The original article to which this is an addendum, “Finding the Lost Boys” by Neal H. Brodsky, was originally published in the November 2012 edition of The East Coast Sandplay Journal.