Impact Stories

March Highlight: Lyla Yaner

marzo 26, 2024

Bilingual Grief Counselor Lyla Yaner tells us about how she came to work in her dream role at Judi’s House.

In honor of March being Women’s History Month and National Social Worker Month, we are celebrating our social workers who make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve at Judi’s House.

Meet Lyla Yaner, LCSW, MT-BC, one of our Bilingual Grief Counselors, who works with the Spanish-speaking families that come through our doors by completing initial assessments, facilitating Pathfinders and Connections groups, and working with clients in individual and family therapy. She also provides clinical supervision to our trainees and interns.

“I first became passionate about the field of childhood grief through my internship as a hospice music therapist in North Carolina. During that time, I was a part of a children’s grief group and was hooked for life,” says Lyla.

“When I moved back to Colorado I heard about Judi’s House as THE children’s grief counseling place, and then began to play the long game to figure out how I could work here. That involved a plan to get a relevant master’s degree so that I could intern at Judi’s House so they would know me so I would have a better chance of getting a job here someday. It worked out, and I have been in my dream role for two years!”

Lyla tells us that even among mental health professionals, there is a lot of discomfort around the topics of death, dying, and grief.

“Having specific training and experience in childhood grief really increases the counselor’s ability to sit with clients and be able to provide that validation and normalization of their experiences without shying away from talking about their person who died and their unique grief reactions,” says Lyla.

Lyla recommends trying to gain experience through volunteering or interning at a hospice or grief to anyone looking to get into this field of work. “I feel like my experience in hospice was invaluable to being able to sit with other people’s challenging emotions without trying to fix them,” says Lyla.

“I would also go toward activities that build your comfort with the topic of death and dying, like even practicing saying the word death or died out loud, attending a community discussion (like a death café!), or working on your own advanced directives – anything that will make the topic more comfortable to talk about and less of a taboo.”

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