Monday, September 24, 2012

When Someone You Love Has a Chronic Illness by Tamara McClintock Greenberg: Guest Post & Excerpt




Title: When Someone You Love Has a Chronic Illness: Hope and Help for Those Providing Support
Author: Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D.
Genre: Non-Fiction: Relationships, Self-Help, Coping with Illness
Published by: Cedar Fort Publishing
Publication Date: February 2012
Recommended Age: Any
Format(s): eBook, Trade Paperback
ISBN 13: 9781599559391
Number of pages: 176

Thanks to advances in science and medicine the lifespan of the average American is now longer than ever and many illnesses that once would have proven fatal have become manageable, chronic conditions. Great news, right? Sure, but there is another side to the 21st Century health picture—and it is increasingly becoming part of the lives of Americans. Many more people are living with chronic illness and that means that more than ever family members, friends, and partners are needed to provide formal or informal support.

The average life expectancy in 1920 was around 54 years of age. Today it is between 76-80, though many of us can expect to live much longer—and to be the official caregiver or part of the care giving team for a loved one. For those of us not involved in formal caregiving roles, it is increasingly vital to know what to do and what to say when someone we know is ill. Knowing how to help is crucial to being able to sustain meaningful relationships in this unchartered time of uncertain longevity.

That’s why Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating individuals with chronic illness and their families, wrote WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS A CHRONIC ILLNESS: HOPE AND HELP FOR THOSE PROVIDING SUPPORT (Cedar Fort Books, February 2012, ISBN: 978-1-59955-939-1, Trade Paper). In this groundbreaking book McClintock Greenberg shows readers how to provide the best care for their loved ones, without losing themselves.

When family, spouses, and friends are thrust into formal or informal caregiving roles they face a variety of psychological and physical challenges, and they often find themselves with little support and few resources. They also must address difficult issues such as non-compliance, denial, chronic pain and frustration on the part of their struggling loved one. No wonder, then, family members in a caregiver role have higher rates of depression and anxiety than those who aren’t involved in providing care. Vicarious trauma and “compassion fatigue” are common, as are feelings of guilt about having needs of their own and attempts to carve out time for themselves. Self-care can start to seem like a luxury that is out of reach. It’s easy to see how this exacts a steep toll on the caregiver, but new research also tells us that it impacts those being cared for. Studies now show that those who devote sufficient time and energy to their own needs provide better quality care than those who don’t. In other words, we provide better support when we pay attention to our own needs.

So, how can caregivers meet the demands of care giving without sacrificing self-care? Throughout WHEN SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS A CHRONIC ILLNESS: HOPE AND HELP FOR THOSE PROVIDING SUPPORT McClintock Greenberg offers compassionate, authoritative, and step-by-step help for striking this critical balance. At the end of each chapter readers find a “coping checklist” that provides helpful, no-nonsense guidance on how to best address their loved ones’ needs and their own.

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Illness makes us uncomfortable. No matter how sensitive we are, no matter how well we listen to others, and no matter how much illness has touched our lives, bodily limitations remind us of our vulnerability. When people we care about suffer, it can make us feel helpless. We are unable to take away their worry, their physical pain, and the suffering they must endure. 

So, What Do You Say? 

When someone is sick, it is customary to ask for a brief update and then change the subject to something lighter. When people let down their guard enough to acknowledge that they aren’t quite sure how to help someone who has been affected by illness, the first thing they say is, “I just don’t know what to say.” This is a good starting point because it confronts the fact that there is often no right thing to say or do. Being present, aware, and mindful is what matters most. That being said, there are some things that can be construed as not helpful, and I’d like to help you avoid those things. In other words, if I had to put it in one sentence, I would say, be present and try not to say offensive things.

What are you passionate about these days?
I am pretty passionate about politics.  This might be part of the culture where I live (San Francisco).  People talk about politics here and there is a pretty liberal view on most issues.  These days I care most about gay rights as well as women’s issues.  It is striking that women still make less money than men for some of the same jobs.  I also find it difficult that even in 2012, we still see relatively few women in leadership positions.  I hope we will see a woman president in my lifetime, and am eager for equal rights regarding marriage.
That said, politics in general really fascinates me: the political process, the psychology of voters and those who run for office, and how people make decisions about what issues are important is all very curious to me. It also just seems so sad that our country is divided about important social and economic issues. I wish there was a way that all sides could feel better understood.  It seems to me that attacking each other does not work. 

Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Psy.D., M.S., a licensed clinical psychologist, works with patients and family members affected by acute or chronic illness. She is an associate clinical professor and clinical supervisor at the University of California, San Francisco Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Greenberg has written three books and numerous chapters and articles on aging, illness, as well as issues pertaining to women. She writes for Psychology Today online and The Huffington Post. She also speaks to medical, psychological, and public audiences on the impact of illness, caregiving issues, and dealing with the modern medical system as a patient or loved one. She is in private practice in San Francisco.

Greenberg earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Hamline University in Minnesota and was awarded the prestigious Jacob Markovitz Memorial Scholarship to continue in the doctoral program at the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. She graduated in 1997 with a doctorate in clinical psychology with a speciality in clinical health psychology.

Find and Follow Tamara McClintock Greenberg on:

  • September 24th – Laurie J @ Laurie’s Thoughts & Reviews
  • September 25th – Kimberly Kr. @ Tidbits From A Mom
  • September 26th – Mason C. @ Thoughts in Progress
  • September 27th – Tori Pe. @ Mommy’s Musings
  • September 27th – Kristina Ha. @ Kristina’s Books & More
  • September 28th – Bobbie @ Nurture Virtual Book Tourz™ Blog

    Enter for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.
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    Giveaway ends September 29th 11:59 PM Central Time.

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