Caregiver Skills - Welcome (1 of 6)

By Elizabeth Easton
This video welcomes caregivers, acknowledges your powerful work as a support system, and orients you to your role in the recovery process.

Dr. Easton’s six-part presentation is designed for families to learn about their role in recovery and the skills to become recovery coaches. If you have every wondered “what can I do to help my loved one recover?” this is the video training series for you. The skills taught here apply to “caregivers” meaning anyone who is providing care to a patient in treatment, no matter the age of the patient or the age of the caregiver. Learn how to harness your caregiver power.


Elizabeth Easton:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to Emotion-Focused Family Therapy Self-Guided Learning Journey. I'm Elizabeth Easton, the national director of psychotherapy. We're here to support you as the caregivers, the people who love the loved ones in our care. You deserve some skills and some support to better understand what your loved one is going through and some tools to actively engage in the recovery process. So I want to start with this, if what you are doing is working, keep doing it, but if you're feeling stuck, some of these tools could help you feel unstuck, feel more confident and empowered in this process.

So just know, we were never given a handbook. We don't know how to help our loved ones or other human beings in pain, let alone, other human beings in pain with a mental illness. So it's often, the common experience for caregivers to feel unsure, anxious and very frustrated as their loved one is going through this process. As the great clinician and researcher, Evan Eisler once said, "Mental illness reorganizes the family. They are more extreme versions of themselves and you are a more extreme aversion of yourself. Be gentle. Be patient." We are wired to our loved ones. When they feel pain, we feel pain. When their brains feel scrambled, our brains feel scrambled.

When they feel hopeless, we may feel hopeless. It is because of that wiring, not in spite of it, that we need you in the recovery process. As you learn in subsequent videos, that wiring is your superpower. With the help of some additional tools, you can help your loved one identify emotions, move through them and heal. So how should you watch these videos? First, try to find a quiet, comfortable place. Next, take some deep breaths. Ground yourself in the present moment. Really allow yourself to take this time to not only support your loved one, but to support you.

Notice what comes up, what emotions arise, like fear, helplessness, grief and even frustration, and seek support. Don't do this alone. Ask others to watch these videos so that they can learn how to support your loved one, or just how to support you when you feel stuck in some of these emotions. Most importantly, take care of yourself. You are on this journey too. I hope that these supports help you feel more prepared and less alone. We're here for you. Thank you.