Local psychiatrist will speak on forgiveness and healing

An islander who is a consulting psychiatrist and an author will give a talk next week on the importance of forgiving one’s parents.

Dr. Barry Grosskopf will offer the presentation, titled Honoring Your Parents, Healing Yourself: The Liberating Potential of Compassion through Understanding.

Grosskopf, who is the president of the board of directors at Vashon Community Care, has worked for nearly 40 years in the field, he said, and has frequently seen how emotional injuries are passed along.

“The wounds that we bear that came to us as children and adolescents can have repercussions over generations,” he said.

Stress is a burden that affects people physically and psychologically, including, to some extent, altering people’s DNA, he said.

His message is that to change that path, people should look more deeply to understand the roots of what transpired with their family and call up more understanding and less judgement.

“It takes a lifetime to understand our stories,” he said.

Grosskopf was recently named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the highest ranking a member of the association can receive.

A Vashon resident since 1999, Grosskopf was born in a refugee camp in Poland and moved to the United States when he was 5. Until he moved to Vashon, he said, he never felt entirely at home.

“I want to give back to the community,” he said.

His free presentation will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Vashon Community Care.

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