People for care for and/or support those in their lives who have chronic physical and/or mental health conditions– whether they are an older parent, a spouse, a minor or adult child, or other relative – often deal with significant stress. They deserve time and space to figure out how they can thrive personally while balancing their caregiver role with their other life roles.
Does This Sound Familiar?
- Does your life revolve around caring for others—with little room left for yourself?
- Is caregiving stress affecting your health, mood, work, sleep, outlook, etc.?
- Do you feel burned out?
- Do you feel resentful of the person you care for or the work of caretaking?
- Are your other relationships suffering due to the time/effort you put into caregiving?
- Do you put your needs last and feel unappreciated?
- Do you frequently criticize yourself as “not good enough” of a caregiver/helper?
Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but also taxing on the most resilient of people. Those who perform caregiving tasks as part of their jobs face similar stresses and challenges. In addition to affecting physical health, the stresses of caregiving can lead to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, depressed, isolated, and even traumatized.
Sometimes people receiving aid from caregivers are understandably caught up in the conditions they are dealing with, suffering from depression, angry at their circumstances, and feeling powerless. They may be resistant to the caregiver’s help. In some scenarios, caregivers face fault finding and hostility from the persons they are aiding. These possibilities can make caregiving all the more difficult to navigate, potentially with greater adverse impact on the caregivers and their families and friends.
Caregivers may find caregiving a lonely venture—they may judge their caregiving harshly and not want to open themselves to others’ criticism and unwanted advice. They may feel on their own, and without any useful guidance, as they face one difficult caregiving problem after another.
Counseling for Caregivers
Dealing with chronic stress is not good for anyone. But many caregivers feel that they have no way out of ever-increasing responsibilities and stress. Counseling can provide caregivers with a nonjudgmental space and therapeutic support to assess their personal needs and explore self-care strategies that shore them up, help repair them, and aid them in dealing with adversity. Ultimately, it can help them figure out how to lead more satisfying lives that include and go beyond their caregiving role.
How I Work with Caregivers
In counseling, I strive to aid caregivers in understanding the ways that their caregiver role is impacting them. We can explore their personal needs related to caregiving and self-care. We can brainstorm strategies and support options to help them cope with their caregiver and self-care challenges. We can talk through the logistics of strategy/support implementation. We can talk about their “inner critic” that harshly judges their caregiving and learn how to tame it. We can explore ways to reduce the loneliness and isolation of caregiving. We can build awareness of any joy and fulfillment that caregiving brings them. We can dive into strengthening ties with family and friends, supporting their many roles in life and their overall wellbeing.
Call Patrick Connelly, LCSW at 609-780-3570 for a counseling appointment today.
You can also email Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the case of a mental health emergency/crisis, please reach out for immediate help by calling or texting 988 or chatting at 988lifeline.org. Alternatively, you can call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.