Insights ~ February 2018

Can Marla Have a Healthy Relationship?

Marla*, age 22, came to SHALVA after a succession of “bad relationships.” “I don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like,” she told her therapist. At SHALVA, Marla learned that these “bad relationships” were actually abusive relationships. Why did she keep repeating this pattern over and over? Her father was abusive, and her mother never discussed it. She learned from her therapist that children exposed to an abusive environment experience feelings of fear and shame, much the same as their mother. Since Marla had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like, she was at risk for repeating the behavior she saw as a child.

Through counseling, Marla gained an understanding of the dynamics of abuse and how they had impacted her life. She learned that in a healthy relationship there is:

  • mutual problem solving,
  • economic partnership,
  • trust and support of one another,
  • open, honest and safe communication, and
  • respect and acceptance for each other.

Marla’s therapist also helped her see the differences of healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. They discussed the warning signs when dating, how to identify her needs and setting boundaries.

Marla continued in therapy long enough to practice her new skills, not just in her personal relationships, but with co-workers as well. She has taken charge of her life and is now making healthy choices.

*name changed to protect SHALVA client

A Lifetime of Helping Families

Sixty years ago, Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, the first hula hoop was sold and Miles Beermann began practicing family law in Chicago.  In recognition of his contributions to the practice, SHALVA board member Miles Beermann received the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) Annual Family Law Lifetime Achievement Award.  This award is given annually to an Illinois attorney who, during his or her lifetime, has made creative and impactful contributions of outstanding significance to the practice of family law. In addition to being consistently recognized by numerous groups as a top lawyer in the profession, Miles has taught divorce law and litigation skills in family law related issues at DePaul University College of Law, and has also trained many young attorneys at his firm.  SHALVA congratulates Miles on this well-deserved recognition.


Help Build a Safe and Peaceful Community

SHALVA is honored to be part of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s Create a Jewish Legacy Program. By joining our Legacy Circle you will help Jewish survivors of domestic abuse get the support and services they need for generations to come. With 13 additional signed Declarations of Intent by June 30th, SHALVA will qualify for a $10,000 incentive grant from JUF.  Additionally, an anonymous donor will match, the amount you designate. Please help us reach our goal!

To learn more, please contact Carol Ruderman, Executive Director, by phone (773)583-4673 or e-mail If you have already included a legacy gift in your will or estate plans, kindly notify SHALVA so your commitment can qualify for the match and we can thank you.


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