Emily Brechting Patient Support Psychologist Susan Mast ALS Foundation
Emily H Brechting joined the Susan Mast ALS Foundation in January 2020. Prior to joining the SMAF team, she was an adjunct professor in the Psychology Department at Hope College in Holland, MI. Emily completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in behavioral medicine at the Orofacial Pain Center at the University of Kentucky and continued with the clinic as an adjunct faculty member. Emily completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Medical Center in Lexington, KY. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky.
When not working, Emily enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, restoring furniture, cooking, and sewing. During warmer weather, Emily often travels with her husband and four children (three teenage sons and a younger daughter), exploring the U.S. with their travel trailer.
Emily is passionate about supporting families experiencing ALS. After traveling the ALS journey with a close friend, she explored and pursued ways to provide expanded psychological support to ALS patients, caregivers, and family members. Working with SMAF allows Emily to combine professional expertise and personal experience to serve West Michigan families living with ALS.
Services: Emily meets with patients, caregivers, and family members, including in-home visits. Living with ALS is complex and challenging, often taxing the emotional, mental, and physical resources of patients and caregivers. As a support psychologist with SMAF, Emily offers a variety of care including: Engaging in supportive counseling for patients, caregivers, and/or family members: Processing and adapting to the diagnosis Grieving the progression of the disease and the changes in roles Preparing for and engaging in difficult conversations with loved ones Facilitating discussions about challenging medical decisions Engaging in existential and end-of-life discussions and preparing for death Processing loss and dealing with grief for caregivers and family members Expanding and improving coping and stress tolerance skills for patients and caregivers Addressing symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients and caregivers