Chronic Illness, Caregiver Stress

Have you found yourself dealing with a chronic medical challenge that has interrupted your life? Are you accompanying a loved one who is dealing with such a thing? If so, I imagine you are feeling sometimes brave and hopeful, and other times feeling afraid and exhausted. You might feel that no one truly understands what you are going through, and you may feel you cannot admit when you are feeling overwhelmed and alone. Using IFS, I can help you to find a renewed energy and clarity from your core, deciding what to do and perhaps setting boundaries about what not to do to help yourself. IFS was proven as an evidence-based psychological treatment in a study with people experiencing distress from Rheumatoid Arthritis, and with statistical significance IFS reduced physical pain and depressive symptoms and it increased physical function and self-compassion. You and I can be curious about the physical symptoms you are experiencing, and sometimes they resolve with IFS even as emotional pain resolves!

My first job was volunteering as a “candy striper” in a local hospital. I remember sitting with patients and clearing away food trays. I went on to become a Registered Nurse working in such places as a large hospital, a nursing home, and a camp for kids and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Years later I found myself working as a Board Certified Chaplain for a large hospital supporting patients and their families and our hospital staff and specializing in the world of oncology and cancer treatment. In journeying with cancer patients and their families, I realized that only some of the emotional pain and challenges related to their disease. Cancer was often an addition to what was sometimes marriage problems, or childcare concerns, or family conflicts, work stress, or financial concerns. Often the stress and strain were quite intense for a patient’s caregiver or family member who was along for the journey through the highs and the lows. I became a therapist to help with whatever the problem seemed to be, burdens related to the illness or concerns like anxiety or depression that came with the illness and ongoing challenges. I look forward to hearing your story and being one who may listen well to understand and to provide encouragement, to be alongside as you cope with what may be demanding endurance you never imagined you would need.