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History

The H.E.R. Group is pleased to announce that on September 8, 2005 our group held its first meeting at the Highland Park United Methodist Church. Since the inception of this support group other groups have formed and many are in the process of forming across the country.  

For years to come our commitment will continue as well as provide resources for women dealing with an estrangement from an adult child.

Please join us as we celebrate the healing that is taking place in the lives of the women attending a group in their area. And the joy we all experience when a reconciliation takes place.

In summer 2005, Barbara Marcum, a congregational care minister, met with a woman from the church seeking counsel. The woman was suffering the heartache that comes from being estranged by an adult child. It seems that she was not alone. In fact, Barbara correctly believed it to be much more common than expected.  She knew other women with less-than-perfect relationships with their adult children, be it a daughter, a son, an ‘in-law’ or step-child.

Together, a decision was made to start a monthly support group for women with estranged adult children, a non-denominational, confidential and intimate gathering free of charge to attendees.  Licensed Professional Counselor, Dr. Jane K. Toler, was asked to be the facilitator and to provide the programs for the Dallas H.E.R. group, originally called “The Unintentional Divide.”  Topics run the gamut from ‘how to navigate the holidays’ to ‘being ready for reconciliation’ to ‘healing-how to recover.”

Five women showed up for the first meeting held in September 2005 at Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC). They all shared painful experiences. They found they felt the same frustrations, guilt, and shame, along with the emotional pain that comes when there is a strained or non-existent relationship with one’s adult child. When a mother cannot experience a ‘June Cleaver-type’ of family relationship, it is often devastating to her. Many cannot see or be with grandchildren. Siblings are affected too. Estrangements like ours touch the entire family!!

News of the new support group spread mainly by word-of-mouth, as attendees found hope and encouragement from the monthly meetings. Success stories of improved relationships began to emerge. An article that appeared in The Dallas Morning News attracted a new, larger number of women attendees from across the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

“The Unintentional Divide” changed its name to “HEALING ESTRANGED RELATIONSHIPS”, in March 2006, as it was felt to better reflect our mission and our purpose.

HEALING ESTRANGED RELATIONSHIPS  (a.k.a. “H.E.R. Group”) had its first anniversary in September 2006.  With this, came a desire to duplicate the model and to expand the programs, first in Texas and eventually coast-to-coast.  We began in earnest.

On March 6, 2008 Steve Blow, well-known columnist at the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, wrote a lengthy story about H.E.R. Attendance swelled at the next meeting and we moved into a larger space at HPUMC. Click here to read Steve Blow's interview about H.E.R.'s 10th Anniversary in the Dallas Morning News (9/3/2015).  

On the Home Page please click on the Meeting Sites link for the group nearest you. Additional local and national media attention, plus community awareness, is helping growth of the organization.

HEALING ESTRANGED RELATIONSHIPS continues to receive inquiries from across the USA, Canada and abroad about how to start a local "chapter" of the H.E.R. Group. We provide answers, offer a "Start-up Kit", and unending support. Our vision for the future is to continue to expand our venues and programs. We also want to create greater public awareness of these very common estrangements. They have been "swept under the carpet" too long. They are painful, not shameful.

We will continue offering group support with concrete strategies for mending estrangements, healing from within, while discovering new ways of relating.