Communication strategies for caregivers

Communication workshop with Deborah Braun

This two-day workshop was packed with useful tips and information. Some of the more salient tips were the techniques for releasing feel-good chemicals such as serotonin, and reducing cortisol (which is associated with stress). For example, if you reflect on something you’ve done well, this releases GABA.  In addition, if we are kind to ourselves, this triggers oxytocin. Both GABA and oxytocin are feel-good brain  chemicals. Deborah mentioned a most inspiring and thought-provoking quote by noted psychotherapist Viktor Frankl: “between the stimulus and the response there’s a space.”  The context for this was based on a discussion of one participant’s experience.

In another real-life scenario, we worked on assertiveness in a systematic, step-by-step way. I left the workshop feeling empowered and energized, although I had not slept well the night before.  I learned from Gail Sheehy’s book on caregiving that sleep problems are endemic in caregivers, see one of my previous posts for a review of her book Passages in Caregiving.

Many times I thought of Deborah’s “no-wondering” technique, in which we foster self-compassion by thinking that it is “no wonder” we feel the way we do and we should be kind to ourselves. Thank you Deborah, for inspiring us on our caregiving journey!

Calm Pond


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