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Therapeutic Tattoos

Posted on 15 August 2019 by LeslieM

Tattoos have exploded in popularity over the past decade and have become an artistic way for people to express themselves. What do tattoos mean? Before we address the meaning of various tattoos, let’s take a brief look at the history of tattoos.

We can go back almost 12,000 years where tools for tattooing were found in France, Portugal and Scandinavia. The oldest surviving tattoos were found on a mummy in the Otzi Valley in the Alps from the fifth to fourth millennium BC. Ancient Egypt and India used tattoos as methods of religious worship and healing. Ancient Romans, Greeks and Chinese tattooed their slaves and criminals to be able to identify them if they escaped.

The Jewish world has a longstanding aversion to tattoos. The taboo against body ink remains powerful among largely secular Jews. The objection relates to Leviticus 19.28 “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourself.” Some liberal Jews have taken a fresh look at tattoos, but many still overwhelmingly see tattoos as inconsistent with the teachings of Jewish tradition.

Most people get tattoos to tell a story, to highlight pain, triumph and obstacles they have faced in their lives. Tattoos can also be therapeutic to some. Below are a few types of therapeutic tattoos:

Mastectomy Tattoo Movement: Following Breast Cancer treatment, some women opt to get artistic tattoos to cover mastectomy scars and to reclaim their bodies. An organization P.ink (Personal ink) refers Breast Cancer survivors to tattoo artists with mastectomy tattoo experience.

Recovery from Addiction Tattoo: It takes amazing strength to address and recover from addiction. It helps to have motivational reminders to stay on track, and a tattoo can inspire and celebrate recovery. A patient of mine has “one day at a time” tattooed on the inside of her wrist. If she feels anxious, she reads her tattoo and that reminds her to slow down, breath, realize she can make it through today sober and contact her sponsor for support.

Memorializing a Loss Tattoo: Sarah, a former psychotherapy patient of mine lost her father to suicide. Sarah had a tattoo behind her left ear — a semicolon. She explained that she searched for a tattoo that would honor her father and increase awareness of mental health problems. She stumbled upon “Project Semicolon.” This organization is dedicated to preventing suicide. Sarah has taken a positive step in her healing process and told me she likes to talk to others who have experienced devastating loss in their lives and wants to promote positive ways to discuss mental health issues.

A 60-year-old female patient told me that for years she thought anyone getting a tattoo did not realize the consequences, such as not liking it after a few years, and the time and pain involved to have it removed. Then, she pointed out a hummingbird tattoo on her right shoulder. She decided to get this tattoo because it represented her daughter who had died of Brain Cancer. This tattoo brought her peace. Here was a woman who was anti-tattoos for years and, at the age of 60, decided there was a very good reason, the memory of her daughter, to get a tattoo. Yes, change is possible!

Dr. Julia Breur is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. For more information, call 561-512-8545, e-mail info@drjuliabreur.com or visit www.drjuliabreur.com.

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Posted on 12 February 2019 by JLusk

A Conversation with Deerfield Beach Mayor Bill Ganz

By Karen Lustgarten

Mayor Bill Ganz has been an enthusiastic Deerfield Beach resident in the same neighborhood for 20 years. For nearly half that time, he’s served as city commissioner and now mayor for the past two years. “I know where we’ve been and how hard it was to get to where we are,” he says about the city. He elaborated during our conversation this month.   


Repave, repair, remodel 

End of life structures, crumbling roads, antiquated utility technology, a shuttered water supply plant, old storm drains — Deerfield Beach has aging infrastructure going back to the 1960s. The capital improvements bond that passed a few years ago allows for upgrading and modernizing facilities and utilities as they reach maturity to meet the needs of the city’s growing population. Repaving Deerfield Beach is one of the aging priorities.      

Working with FDOT, along with repaving comes aesthetics such as beautifying gateways into the city, entrance ways into neighborhoods, improving curb appeal. MLK Boulevard from 10 Street to Hillsboro Boulevard is slated for improvements next year. The stretch from Federal Highway to Dixie Highway is part of the Complete Street project. These are streets designed for mixed use — pedestrian crossings, walking paths, bike lanes, vehicles — rather than traditional streets designed for vehicles. 

“Residents want to be able to cross the street safely. They want to see improvements to roadways, safety on foot, by bike or in a vehicle,” said Mayor Ganz.  

For example, pedestrian crossings and LED lights were added along the S-curve at the beach and decorative fencing will be added around the FEC railroad track for safe crossing.

Mayor Ganz and city officials recently completed a walking audit along Dixie Highway with a planning organization, taking note of sidewalks, trees, landscaping, old crosswalk boxes, bus benches. The audit walk was to find opportunities and ideas to make some simple functional and aesthetic improvements along the route. There’s no overall beautification plan along that corridor he says. They are taking these walking audits in other areas of the city as well to feel them up close and get ideas on how aging infrastructure, antiquated technology and decades-old designs can be improved.

“As those are improved, neighborhoods start to pick up,” he said. 

Other capital improvement bond projects are The Center for Active Aging, remodeling the Johnnie Tigner Community Center and City Hall renovations.   

The Center for Active Aging provides supportive services and activities to seniors to help improve their quality of life, promote independence and encourage involvement with the community.

“Looking to the future, you have an active aging population and, if we build a more state-of-the-art facility, people will want to use it,” said Mayor Ganz. 

“The Tigner Community Center is in desperate need of remodeling, not just as a community center but for all types of programming that can be hosted there. We do not have enough community facilities to meet the needs of our growing population,” said the Mayor. “It will be a huge boost to the city and our residents to have a nice facility.” 

The capital improvements bond will make that possible. It will also give Deerfield Beach City Hall a remodeling boost with structural improvements, such as repairing the leaky roof (e.g. buckets come out when it rains to prevent indoor puddles). 

Pioneer Grove: developing downtown

Future redevelopment is in the Pioneer Grove area where City Hall resides. 

“We are trying to get more focus back to the central area of our city,” said the Mayor.  The goal with Pioneer Grove and for the improvements in the central area is to bring back downtown Deerfield Beach.”

“We want to inject energy into the central area of the city that includes the Dixie Highway corridor and create a more vibrant downtown. It’s been a long time since that’s been a focus in the city.  It’s perfect timing now to improve facilities in need with the ability to make those changes for the long term, decades ahead,” he said.

New development in the downtown zone is encouraged and nurtured but within certain guidelines that add value to the city overall. 

“There’s a great deal of undeveloped land in the central area of the city so there’s a great opportunity to have an overall vision rather than a hodge-podge of fitting in different projects that don’t come under an overall master plan or vision for what we want to see here,” said the Mayor.

The city’s award-winning Sullivan Park is an example of creative redevelopment without overdoing it.  

“We have a lot of people very interested in the downtown area and new projects coming forward,” he said. “When you work with developers with projects that don’t dissolve a neighborhood but enhance and improve it, and it becomes an anchor in the area, then you get a few anchors in the area and you build on that energy. Then people are going to start coming.”

Slow and steady growth

A recent study found that 20 percent of the privately-owned undeveloped land in Broward County is located in Deerfield.  

“That gives us some opportunity to grow but we don’t want to overbuild… we want to grow responsibly,” said Mayor Ganz.

It’s been a slow and steady growth that has picked up over the past several years.  

“We’re no longer in the position that we’re desperate for development,” he said.  “We can be selective about what we want to do in the city — what works for us and the residents as opposed to more exploitive projects offered.”

 “We have a wonderful village-type atmosphere that we love about Deerfield. With that comes its challenges that are a lot different than other cities,” he says.  “It’s difficult to maintain that atmosphere and not overdevelop and kill the surfside community with a village feeling. That’s why we’re unique in the approach we’ve taken.  No skyscrapers. We’ve been able to hold back overdevelopment and irresponsible development in the beach areas.”

Deerfield’s S-curved beach is ranked No. 13 by Fodor (travel and tourism guides) as “coolest beach in Florida with a hip vibe.”

 “Our residents deserve to have the city invest and reinvest in itself, in these improvement projects each with a dire need, as a way of showing our residents that their tax dollars are going to something they use. And when other businesses and developers see that we’re willing to invest in ourselves, then they’re willing to come and invest in us as well,” he said.

With a growing tax base, Deerfield Beach is experiencing a resurgence focused on enhancements.

“We’re looked at as a city on the rise,” says the Mayor. “New projects are improving our tax base as people are deciding there’s a great opportunity in Deerfield Beach. Other cities and investors are approaching me asking how we do this, we want to create the feel that you have. It’s been slowly building up.  I can’t tell you what is the one single thing that created the spark but we can certainly feel it.”

Karen Lustgarten is president of Multi-Media Works, a multiple award-winning media company specializing in video, PR, print and social media with offices in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She founded a newspaper in Washington, DC, was a syndicated columnist and a bestselling author.  www.multi-mediaworks.com


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