APA Conference Session: “Skills-Building Session: Caregiver Satisfaction and Regeneration”
August 5, 2011
Article by Ilene A. Serlin, Ph.D.
CoChairs: Ilene A. Serlin, Ph.D, Lesley University & Kathryn L. Norsworthy, Ph.D, Rollins College
Participant: Eleanor Pardess, Ph.D, Tel Aviv University
Discussant: Charles R. Figley, Ph.D, Tulane University
Caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue are receiving significant attention from health professionals. The current literature has focused almost exclusively on the negative consequences of caregiving at the expense of exploring the whole spectrum of the caregiving experience. This workshop focused both on pathways of preventing burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as promoting caregiver satisfaction and regeneration.
The multifaceted nature of the caregiver experience calls for an integrative perspective. The Whole Person approach (Serlin, 2007a) is a particular relevant framework due to its integration of cutting-edge practices in a bio/psycho/spiritual model supporting prevention, resilience and growth. It represents a paradigm shift from an illness to a growth-oriented model. The struggle with adversity may lead to the discovery of strengths and enhancement of life’s meaning. Witnessing human suffering can take a toll on one’s resources, but can also lead to a renewed sense of purpose.
To illustrate such a multimodal approach, a model for promoting caregiver satisfaction and regeneration, was presented, drawing upon attachment theory (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007), as well as on research on growth through adversity (Joseph & Linley, 2006) and compassion fatigue and satisfaction (Figley, 2007). Initially developed in SELAH, the Israel Crisis Management Center, for supporting a network of 600 volunteers providing emergency support in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and other crisis situations (Pardess, 2005), this model has been applied in different organizations in Israel. It offers a range of practices to enhance a sense of hopefulness, connectedness and meaning, through tapping into caregiver’ strengths, cultivating compassion and self compassion and nurturing a growth mindset. The programs include outdoor and nature-based experiential activities alongside compassion-focused strategies, and verbal and non-verbal narrative practices. Specific skills were learned and practiced during the session and implementations were illustrated.
“Caregiver Satisfaction and Regeneration: the SELAH model”
A multimodal model for promoting caregiver satisfaction and regeneration, was presented, drawing upon perspectives of attachment theory (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007) and the “broaden and build” theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2009), as well as on research on compassion fatigue and satisfaction (Figley, 2007). This approach, developed in SELAH, the Israel Crisis Management Center, aims to enhance a sense of hopefulness, connectedness and meaning, through tapping into helpers’ strengths, rather than focusing exclusively on stress management or symptom relief. Initially developed for supporting a volunteer network of 600 volunteers providing emergency support in the aftermath of terrorist attacks and other crisis situations, this model has been applied in different trauma organizations in Israel (Pardess, 2005). It uses outdoor and nature-based experiential activities with mindfulness training, narrative practices and verbal and non-verbal creative modalities, creating a wide spectrum of opportunities for self expression, cultivating compassion for self (Gilbert, 2005) and sharing.
“April 2012 Trip to Israel Trauma Centers”
By Ilene Serlin, Ph.D, BC-DMT, Lesley University & Eleanor Pardess, Ph.D, Tel-Aviv University
All psychologists interested in promoting a constructive exchange between Israeli and American psychologists and learning about innovative methods for working with trauma and resilience in Israel were invited to the Div. 56 Hospitality Suite to learn about the upcoming trip to Israel. Dr. Ilene Serlin, Past-President of the San Francisco Psychological Association, in partnership with the Israeli Psychological Association, President Dr. Yochi Ben-Nun and Israeli psychologist Dr. Eleanor Pardess of Tel-Aviv University will lead the 10-day trip to Israel in April 2012. Participants will have an opportunity to visit key trauma centers, witness a rich diversity of ways of working with trauma, participate in lecture/discussion groups led by prominent Israel academics and trauma specialists, and enjoy cultural and sightseeing events around Israel. Please contact email@example.com for further information.
“An Israeli Woman’s Journey Toward Resiliency”
Unfortunately, many Israelis are all too familiar with trauma and they have built a compassionate network and services so people can live normal lives after having experienced extraordinary trauma and stress. In this session, a videotape interview showed a very personal conversation with a woman whose first husband and son were violently killed, and who speaks movingly about her pain and loss, yet retains her will to live, love and help others. Through hearing her story we witness inspiring resiliency and the power of the human spirit to prevail.
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For more information about Dr. Serlin, please visit: www.ileneserlin.com
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Please visit http://www.marincountypsych.org for more information about our association and membership benefits or to locate a licensed clinical psychologist in Marin County.
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The opinions expressed by the authors are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the Marin County Psychological Association. The information posted on this blog is not intended as, and is not, a substitute for professional mental health services.