All About Caregiving

In a 2004 national survey, the AARP found that 44.4 million Americans are providing unpaid care to an adult, and the estimated annual value is $257 billion. To do so is a beautiful act of love and devotion, but also a great drain on one's physical and psychological resources.

Recent Posts on Caregiving

Conversation with a Mother about Sleep Training her Baby

Dear Dr., I need help! I have a lovely 11 month old baby girl and my husband and I both work full-time… I resorted to sleep coaching recently… I am afraid that we have already done irreparable damage to our sweet baby.

Irrelationship Is Not Codependency

Codependency may sometimes dovetail with irrelationship to the point that they’re not easily distinguishable. They may sometimes seem like kissing cousins, but at the level of purpose and of points of origin, they’re decidedly not identical twins.

Helping Others Navigate the Healthcare System

Not knowing how to navigate the health care system can lead to important delays and serious health consequences. Alarmingly, over half the U.S. population are not adequately prepared. Counselors are vital to the process of reversing the number of people unfamiliar with the healthcare system.

Doctor-Patient Communications are Out of Whack

Given the high-stakes of medical testing and treatment, the doctor-patient relationship is shaped to varying degrees by apprehension and fretfulness for both parties involved. When there is irrelationship between doctor and patient, it is more likely that there will be irrelationship between the healthcare system and everyone else.

When Someone You Love Has Mental Illness

In honor of Mental Health Month, we explore how to advocate for your loved one with mental illness.

Compassion: Living, Loving, and Dying

Compassion, which we so often show towards strangers, can sometimes take a back seat with those we love. Yet in society today, we need compassion, for those in our homes, in nursing facilities, and in hospitals.

What is Relationship Sanity?

Insanity is defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. But how might we broach a definition of relational sanity? If we accept a simple and straightforward definition of sanity as "soundness of mind," could we say that experiencing ourselves as being loving and lovable is a (if not the) definition of relational/relationship sanity?

A Woman's Father is Key To Her Power

By Mark Matousek on May 09, 2015 in Ethical Wisdom
The daughter of an alcoholic, Greatest Generation pilot father was shocked when he called her to his deathbed for a series of life-changing exchanges that healed their relationship and freed Pythia Peay as a woman. Deeply moving, universal, and wise.

Buyer Beware

This is the story of how two healthy professionals in their senior years entered a retirement home - aka a "caring community" - and met with one bizarre surprise after another. We were actually in a poorly run nursing home, where the promises that had been made to us bore no resemblance to the services actually offered. (part of a series)

Brainlock 101—How We Can't Help Becoming Stuck

You are trapped—by your own brain activity and chemistry, by developmental patterns from the past, by the way your patterns and your partner's patterns interlock with one another, and by social forces that are hard to see. Read about how this becomes "Brainlock" and cements you (in a plural sense) into a state of irrelationship.

Tai Chi in the VA

By Eric Newhouse on May 07, 2015 in Invisible Wounds
Dr. Roger Jahnke has been training instructors throughout the VA in a version of the ancient Asian discipline that he calls Tai Chi Easy. It accommodates all vets, including the disabled, by allowing them to practice it standing, sitting or lying down. Tai Chi promotes relaxation by adjusting body movements, slowing breathing and focusing the mind on the moment.

Discipline Rooted in Nurturance and Living Example

Discipline is pointing the way. Living example demonstrates the message in vibrant color impacting a child even more than words.

Subverting the Trap of Perfection This Mother's Day

Just in time for the Mother of all holidays, a book that applauds the imperfections of getting older. Finally.

14 Tips from 14 Years Sick

#14: When all else fails, go to bed.

When Someone You Love Is Dying

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 05, 2015 in Open Gently
Your loved one may be slower--or faster--than you are to accept death.

Voices

Voices is a beautifully rendered documentary on the lives of three people with severe, persistent, psychotic illness. For 56 minutes we enter lives upended by an illness, schizophrenia, which for these three led to substantial disability, homelessness and catastrophe.

Happy Mother-Someone's Day

As there are "good enough mothers,” there are also good enough "mother-someones" who do not give up when things go terribly awry, but are able to use the failures and derailments as opportunities to work together to right the wrongs, get the relationships back on the rails together—to repair interactively.

Care for Nepal

Irrelationship is a shared defensive system that serves the purpose of shielding the participants from true connection. How might this be relevant for something as seemingly clear-cut as disaster response where responders and organizations trying to help are acting from altruistic motives? What can irrelationship tell us about care for the caretaker in disaster relief?

Encouraging the Best From Your Child

Parents have so many worries, but by instituting some proactive strategies for positive reinforcement they may be able to affect healthy outcomes in their children.

Caring For Mother Earth

The Earth is our par excellence caretaker. The Earth is a source of care that—like any "sane" caregiving mature relationship—will only be able to offer and give care if the love and care that we come up with, offer, and implement as individuals, communities, societies, and as a planet constitute genuine reciprocal—we care for the Earth, the Earth cares for us—solutions.

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Although older dogs may appear to be more placid and less emotionally responsive, physiological measures show that this is not the case. They may actually be reacting to stress to a greater degree than they did when they were younger.

You Can't Fix Everything

I’m much more at peace since I stopped trying to fix everyone’s life, including my own. It’s making it easier to take those unfixable moments in stride and to appreciate happiness and joy when they happen to come my way.

10 Tips to Change From Reactive to Proactive in Situations

All of us encounter experiences in life when we may be temporally overwhelmed by a negative emotion, be it anger, pressure, nervousness, despair, or confusion. In these situations, how we choose to “master the moment” can make the difference between proactive versus reactive, and confidence versus insecurity. Here are ten ways to be less reactive in difficult situations...

The Gold Standard for Healing the World...

Remember an incident when someone listened deeply to you and then talked with you when you were in a bad place. Would you want to honor that person if you could? If so, they would just want you to do onto someone else what they did onto you. Isn't that so?

Reframing Parent-Child Time Can Reduce Stress

Mentally reframing how you think about parent-child time can lessen stress and help you better appreciate the time you spend with your child.

Asian Parenting

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on April 11, 2015 in Minority Report
Asian parents are often very attuned to taking care of their children's physical needs (i.e. food, shelter, finances for education) yet the emotional support can be lacking. Here's what parents can do to be more attuned to their children's overall health.

Are Women More Emotional Than Men?

Is There Evidence of Women’s Greater Negative Emotionality All Around the World?

The Making of a Murderer

From poverty to riches, serial killers to gang members, behind almost every violent person, there is a story of despair. Not every trauma creates a killer, but most killers are created from trauma.

Ambushed by Eldercare? You’re Not Alone

How to handle the multiple challenges of eldercare.

Lessening Alzheimer’s Discordance: Five Recommendations

Dealing with the differing views of the illness held by the person with Alzheimer's disease and the care partner is a challenging but critical task. Lessening this discordance enormously reduces care partner stress, and is valuable for the person with the disease, as well.