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Resilience for 9/11 Families and Survivors


The theme was "Resilience" for the fourth program in the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 series at the New Brunswick office of Voices of September 11th. The program featured Nicci Spinazzola, a licensed marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, and board-certified expert in trauma stress. Two additional speakers are scheduled for the upcoming months.

Spinazzola sat with 9/11 family members, rescue workers and survivors while she spoke of the importance of transcending loss by building on existing strengths, focusing on skill development and not facing adversity alone. "After experiencing unexpected loss, people either go into hiding or withdraw from support," said Spinazzola. To counter this self-removal, she explained how you can produce an environment that promotes resiliency.

"Resilience is hopefulness and a process to move you forward. You have to transcend the actual event…if you stay there it becomes problematic," said Spinazzola. "It's about how you decide to remember, what to keep and what to let go of. What you carry forward is the celebration of lives that are lost." Ways to build personal resilience include making connections with others, accepting change as a part of life and taking decisive actions.

The loss experienced by those affected by 9/11 is also different in that it is extremely public. "It's a very different type of trauma and loss," says Sheri Burkat, VOICES' Program Director. "It's in the media. It's in the history lessons. It is relived on the 9/11 Anniversaries…every day." Spinazzola emphasized how certain feelings may resurface due to the attention being given to the 10th Anniversary of the attacks. "It's important to remember that you've felt these feelings before. Celebrate the strength of families to move forward and heal as families," said Spinazzola.

The next speaker will be held:

Friday, July 22nd
Music Therapy, Voice and Breath work
4:00 pm-5:00 pm
Toby Williams
Ms. Williams is a music therapist, jazz singer, voice teacher and early education music instructor. She has a master's degree in music therapy from NYU and offers workshops on how to use the voice and body to promote emotional and physical healing. She teaches depth breathing techniques, toning for stress relief and relaxation, vocal sounding, improvisation, and group vocal games.

August 2011
Messages: Signs, Visits & Premonitions from
Loved Ones Lost on 9/11

Bonnie McEneaney
Ms. McEneaney, who lost her husband on 9/11, published "A Bend in the Road", a compilation of her husband's poetry. Her more recently released book, "Messages", is a collection of inspiring true stories about the spiritual experiences of those who lost loved ones on 9/11. She also is a VOICES board member and holds her MPS from Cornell University.

For reservations contact: Sheri Burkat at (732) 543-2300 or

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