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The best feedback you’ll ever get as a caregiver is the reaction of the other person.”

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2020 3:17 pm

The best feedback you’ll ever get as a caregiver is the reaction of the other person.”

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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August 3, 2020 3:17 pm

“If defensiveness is going up in the loved one, you can draw some conclusion about what the caregiver is doing.”  Dr. Liz Barnett brings a new tool for family caregivers:  Motivational Interviews.  All too many caregivers find themselves floundering in the drama that occurs when trying to get compliance. Maybe it's downsizing, wanting someone to take their meds, brush their teeth, or the myriad of things we face as caregivers. Dr. Barnett brings easy to understand tools to help us as caregivers take the first step in better relationships, less drama, and more efficacy while caring for our loved ones. 

Peter Rosenberger is the host of HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER.  The nation's #1 broadcast and podcast show for family caregivers, Peter draws upon his 34+ year journey as a caregiver for his wife, Gracie, through a medical nightmare that includes 80+ surgeries, multiple amputations, and treatment by 100+ physicians. 

Learn more at

Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger

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And if you're not listening to it, you're a communist, Peter. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberg, and this is the nation's number one show for you as a family caregiver. We are here for those who are pushing the wheelchair, those who are in the hospital room corner when they can.

In the COVID-19 world, it's kind of weird to be able to do that. For those who are up late at night doing laundry, that's what we're here. That's the purpose of this show is to focus on those individuals who are having to learn how to adapt and caring for a loved one, taking on more responsibilities and taking care of a loved one so that they can stay at home.

877-655-6755, 877-655-6755 if you want to be a part of the show and we'd love to have you there and you can join us with Jon Butler and I. Jon is on the show with us right now. Jon, say something intelligent. Something intelligent. Well, you know where books sleep? Where books sleep. Yeah, yeah. You don't know where books sleep.

Under their covers, bro. It is, as always, a pleasure to be with you, by the way. It just wounds me. It just wounds me.

We're glad to have you with us. Jon, listen, one of the things that we like to do on the show is find things that will be pertinent to right now for the family caregiver. It's not theory. It's not something way down the road or whatever.

It is right now. It's scratching that itch or hitting that uncomfortable spot right now. And something you can do today or that whatever, some practical advice, because we do all of the very, I hesitate to call it high-minded theory. Yeah, high-minded theory.

Low brow is probably a better. There we go. Yeah, yeah. But we do those things that will generally help you take care of, you know, take care of yourself and everything like that. But then there are sometimes acute problems that need to be dealt with as opposed to these.

Well, and one of those is today, it is about individuals who are struggling with a non-compliant loved one that they're caring for. And specifically, we're going to deal in today with hoarding and letting go of things. Not hoarding, I guess, really, but letting go of things that are keeping us kind of locked into some kind of the past. And we can't let go of these things. We kind of have to because we've held on to so many of these things for so long. And yet when we have a loved one that we get to that stage where and we all get there where we just can't let go of it.

And it's hurting or whatever. Or sometimes we'll swerve into this too. Maybe they don't want to take medication. Maybe they don't want to deal with the car keys.

Or, yeah, give up the car keys or even deal with eating healthier. You know, you can only eat Little Debbies for so long and then you got to, you know. Then you're not a Little Debbie anymore.

You're a Big Debbie. So anyway, so Dr. Liz Barnett is with us. She is from out in California, got a Ph.D. in preventive medicine. And then she swerved into this particular field. She's dealt with stuff with addiction and alcoholism and so forth.

And then she swerved into this particular component, really drilling down on helping the relationships and the dynamics. So, Dr. Barnett, welcome to the show. We are so glad to have you here. How are you feeling? I'm good. I'm excited to be here and excited to figure out where this conversation is going to go. Well, that's it. Right out of the gate, John.

She's already nailed the show. All right. So describe the problem because you've dealt with this. You do motivational interviews. And that's an unusual term that people are not maybe familiar with. But you do motivational interviews. What does that mean?

What's going on? And how does this apply to the family caregiver? So motivational interviewing is an approach and it's a way of thinking about people, about thinking about change. So it's a conversation and it it's and it's really quite doable.

Right. So I do it and I, you know, we'll talk to people or help people that in these exact same situations that you're describing, where somebody is feeling really stuck on a problem. You know, they're trying to get someone to do something.

The doctors told them to do it and they're just not doing it. So that's where I can come in and help have those conversations. And at the same time, the things that I the conversations that I have, they're pretty straightforward.

And people can really learn how to do it and they can learn how to do it better. I would say it's like, go ahead. Well, it's not some kind of ethereal course they got to take.

It's just right in time, just in time kind of stuff. Yeah. So like one of the things that's really key to us about is this idea of ambivalence.

So it's so that people, when you're talking about change or doing something that they don't that they aren't doing, that we think that people feel two ways about something. Right. So there might be a big part of them that doesn't want to isn't interested, but there's always this small part of them that like, yeah, I know I should. And that's the part you really want to be talking to.

Right. So you want to find out more about that part of them. You want to hear that story. And the more that they talk about that, the more you hear them talk about that little part of them that might want to clean out the house.

Then that's the part that grows. So a lot of what you're doing in motivational interviewing or what you're learning to do is listen for that. Let some of that other stuff go because sometimes that other stuff kind of sucks us in. It can be kind of provocative.

It might make us mad. But if we can start to listen for those little bits of possibility, change, all of that, that's where you start to really help somebody to make a change that in the past it seems that they haven't wanted to make. Can you give us an example of somebody that you've talked to about this and kind of or work through this issue with and how it kind of played out?

So I don't want to betray any case confidence, just general stuff. Yeah, of course. So what will often happen is somebody else will reach out to me and say that somebody has a problem. Right.

And so and you know, as soon as that happens. Right. You can just imagine the person that the person with the problem, you know, quote unquote, that you can just assume that they're going to be a bit defensive about the conversation. Right.

Somebody else is saying that I have a problem and most of us don't appreciate that. So what ends up happening. So the first thing that I would do. So this happened to me recently. I was speaking with somebody. And as soon as I start talking to them, though, it's a totally different story. Right.

The setup that I was given by the third party. Right. Who who kind of suggested this conversation needed to happen in their mind. This person was resistant. This person didn't want to make a change. This person didn't want to declutter the house like we were talking about.

And when I get on the phone with them these days, it's all over the phone or Zoom. That's not what I'm hearing at all. And what that shows us is really that it has what you end up hearing has so much to do with the other person in the conversation. Right.

Because it's very easy for us to make people defensive, to get into the argument with somebody. But if you can stay out of the argument, something else happens. So this woman and I, we had a just a really positive conversation about, you know, what she wanted to do and her ideas about how to do it and and her ideas about what's been getting in the way. But not too much focus on that. Right. Because I will try to steer the conversation towards how things will be when this is done. You know, what will be the good things that will come out of it as well as just, you know, their their own ideas about how to do it.

Right. A lot of times we come in, you might come into a conversation or a caregiver might come into a conversation with this is what I think you should do. But you really want to be able to stay back and stay out of it.

And what are your ideas about how this you know, how this could work when you feel like that person's ready to plan? I think that we caregivers tend to be. At least I want to speak from my own personal experience. I tend to be a bit heavy handed because we come in and we say we see all these issues or these circumstances and we think, OK, we're going to change this.

This is this. We're going to fix this. And and the hard thing for us is to back off from this and let let the person and let the let the conversation let the crisis, if you will, breathe a little bit. Is that a fair assessment of what you're saying? I mean, I love the way you said heavy handed.

I feel like, you know, sometimes I'm heavy handed with my kids. Right. It's the same idea. Yeah.

Like being able to step back. Right. To to not feel all the pressure. Right. And that part of it is that pressure makes us feel like it has to be done now. Right. And this conversation, a conversation done in a motivational interviewing style will feel a lot more will feel gentle and it'll feel slow. It doesn't mean it is slow.

In fact, you can get change a lot faster using the slow approach than you can sort of using the direct approach. Right. But yes, I think that's a perfect way to describe it. So in this situation.

Now, I'm going to I'm going to go from preaching to Midland. OK. In this situation, really, the person who is in the way of this thing growing and evolving can often be the caregiver.

Is that a fair statement? That that in order to do is let me make sure I understand what your idea that in order to do this, the caregiver has to actually be the first one to change or to grow or to be able to. Yeah. Somebody's got to raise their hand and say, OK, I'm willing to change. Right. Absolutely.

In this particular case, it's often going to be the caregiver. And yet we don't know what to change to. And and we don't know how to. Change or we don't know how to quite.

Make that step. But here's where here's where you step in to be able to help us do that. Well, that and and really it's one of the when I'm training, teaching people to do motivational interviewing, really, what I end up teaching most is about listening and about empathy. And so one thing I love about reflective listening, so doing that mirroring back is that if you're mirroring back what you're hearing, you are not doing something else.

Right. You are not telling someone what to do. You are not being critical.

You are not judging. You are not you know, there's all these things you are not doing because you're listening. And some people, when we talk about reflective listening, it's important to know there's kind of two two levels. There's one that's a really simple level where you're just kind of repeating what somebody said, which can be effective in some cases. And in other cases, it won't be. But there's an even more a deeper level of reflective listening where you're really trying to hear someone's meaning.

Right. The meaning behind the words. And when you do that, that's when people really come together, when you're really trying to understand where they're coming from. And, you know, so that's the first thing that I would say, you know, where to start is to really just start with listening. Well, we one of the things we talk about in this show a lot is the vocabulary that we need as caregivers to be able to change some of the things because vocabulary, words mean something. And so when you say reflective listening, give us an example of what those phrases mean, something that people could use right now to use those words.

Absolutely. So my favorite kind of way to start with reflective listening is to use the phrase sounds like. Because I feel like once I've said sounds like I'm forced to tell you what it just sounds like you just said.

So I might if somebody is saying I'll never be able to clean out my house. Right. I could say sounds like you've been thinking about it. So they didn't say they'd been thinking about it. But that's that's part of their statement. Right.

Is that these are the thoughts they've come up with. So I can mirror back that I can mirror that back to them. You know, that is a great way to start. That is a great way to start.

Yes, that is. And so that's what I want to do is something that caregivers can say right now. They just heard you say this. And in the next conversation they have with their loved one, they can be looking for a different way of reflecting back to them.

And this is this is this is why I wanted to have you on the show. So when you dealt with these with these individuals and you're reflecting this back and you're teaching them a new vocabulary, do you find that people that you're trying to work with on this? Not that not let me back up because I'm just doing it from caregiver loved one caregiver loved one. So who do you talk to more? The caregiver or the loved one or both?

Or how does that work? Well, normally I would say I talk to most care more caregivers, but recently I've been talking to more loved ones. But well, I'll tell you what, let me we got to take a quick break. So let me would you hold on to that thought for a minute because there's some very specific things I want to ask you about that. And and so we're talking with Dr. Liz Barnett, motivational interviews, not motivational speaking, motivational interviews where you're you're engaging. You're actively listening. You're trying to do something different than just come in with the heavy handed and white knuckle through. Hopefully that a loved one will comply with what you're wanting. And sometimes they do it just out of fear or just resignation. But let's do it out of a genuine sense of preserving the relationship. Don't go away.

We'll be right back. Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger. And in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me.

But over time, my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs, led me to establish Standing with Hope for more than a dozen years. We've been working with the government of Ghana and West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people on a regular basis. We purchase and ship equipment and supplies.

And with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit to learn more and participate in lifting others up. That's I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

I am Peter Rosenberger. So glad that you are with us. 877-655-6755 if you want to be a part of the show, if you watch it on Facebook live streaming and so forth. We stream the podcast and sometimes Facebook.

I just got this love-hate relationship with Facebook, John. I hear you on that one. I get everything set up to follow what they asked to do. I mean, they, you know, and then all of a sudden it just goes koplui.

And I wasn't even posting videos of Nigerian doctors talking about hydro... Oh, never mind. Let's just leave that one alone. I don't know what happens. It just goes koplui. They take it down. And so anyway, we put it back up. And then we broadcast the show live on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. Eastern time. And then we do podcasts so forth.

And I've also tried streaming live podcasts this week, John. I just did a test without you. It was not personal. I just wanted to... Not a problem. Well, and I saw that you went live on something, but I was right in the middle of some other stuff. I couldn't take a look. So that must have been what that was.

I just wanted to test it a little bit. But anyway, so we're working on that. John and I are taking the show and the podcast. We have the nation's number one broadcast and the nation's number one podcast for the family caregiver. And we want to put out as much information as we possibly can to help fellow caregivers. I didn't have anything like this for the vast majority of my caregiving journey, which is now in its 34th year.

And so I want to make sure that we have this library available on any kind of topic. And this is one that fascinated me when I found out about Dr. Burnett. And she's with us right now, Dr. Liz Barnett. And she has this extensive background in not only preventive medicine with addiction stuff, alcoholism, and now she's even gone deeper into this and helping bridge these these real hot flash, hot flashes, hot points, flash points, hot topics.

That's what I meant to say, John. Flash points, hot topics with with families that are that really come to loggerheads over this, because you've got a loved one who is aging, not necessarily in cognitive decline any more than normal. And they don't want to take their meds. They don't want to eat healthy. They don't want to drink water. They don't want to brush their teeth.

They don't want to get rid of stuff that they need to get rid of and things like that as they downsize. And then what happens is the family members come in with just these these huge demands and heavy handedness and things. And then all of a sudden the relationship starts to deteriorate.

And by the time this thing gets to a crisis point, you know, sometimes the relationship is fractured. And Dr. Barnett says, you know what? There's a better way. There's a better way to do this. So we left you before the break.

You were talking about it. Historically, as you started doing this, you were dealing with more caregivers. But because of the COVID-19 challenges so forth, you're dealing with this with the loved one. Which one do you feel the most resistance from? That's maybe not a fair question, but I'm going to ask it anyway.

Which one do you feel the most resistance from? The loved one or the caregiver? I think that.

So it is pretty easy to. For me, you know, for me, so outside of the family, somebody just coming in to facilitate a different conversation, right? So if if you're if the loved one is approached by somebody who's not who, you know, who's really neutral in the situation, you will hear a very different conversation. And that's kind of been the experience, like where if I'm talking with somebody and they're loved and the caregivers also in the room, they can hear this different conversation. And it's like they never say those things to me. I've never heard that.

I've never heard any of that. So it's actually really, I'm going to say easier with the loved one to kind of get this different conversation. So I would say it's actually harder for the caregiver to change the things that they're saying and doing. I don't know that that's actually that surprising. Right.

I mean, first, people are pretty bad judges of the things they say and do. And then it's hard to stop yourself in midstream or change, you know, some patterns that you've kind of developed over, you know, whatever it is, 20, 30, 40, 50 years. Yeah, especially with a with a parent. Yeah. Right.

And the roles are reversed. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, these are long term relationships. So communication has is pretty is, you know, gets gets pattern entrenched. Yeah.

Yeah. Well, and I could speak for myself on that, that me changing is rather difficult. And because I'm not you know, I've had to learn and everything I've learned, I've learned the hard way that my self-awareness is suspect. And so as I've learned a co-opt of a phrase that a friend of mine said, you know, my mind is a dangerous place to go into unaccompanied.

And and there's a phrase that I've learned to lean on. Don't believe everything you think. Because, I mean, that we deceive ourselves and or we're just blind.

We have big blind spots and we think we're coming across with them and we judge ourselves by our intentions, not necessarily by our behavior. Right. And that for me, that's been a big problem. Is that something you've encountered and run into with folks?

Yes. The people she said started with a little bit of hesitancy. Well, they are terrible judges of what they do or how they come across or, you know, what they're what they are bringing to the table. And and it's so it's so much easier to see what the other person is, you know, all the we can we can see other people very clearly.

But when it comes to ourselves, it's very difficult. Well, it's like a band that's smoking dope and gets up and plays a set and they are just thinking they are the next best band until they hear the tape the next day kind of thing. That's an unusual analogy. But I've actually in Nashville, I lived in Nashville for many years.

Yes. And all of our analogies are piece of writing in the music business. There's an old saying.

This is old school music business. The tape don't lie. And and so we we have to. But as caregivers, we don't go around recording ourselves. Well, I will say I will say there's a similar expression. And in in motivational interviewing, we would say the best feedback you'll ever get about your skills is the reaction of the other person.

Right. So if defensiveness is going up in the loved one, you can be pretty you can draw some conclusions about what the caregiver is actually doing. So that other person you're talking to is giving you feedback about your skills. And if we can just then recognize it as that right, instead of being kind of sucked into whatever is about to happen, that becomes the signal to start to change. When I work with people, I try to help them do is find those signals that you know, that they can recognize, like, oh, I'm about to tell someone what to do. And then I try to give them an alternative. You asked me earlier forcing things you could say, and I gave you the sounds like another thing that I, you know, that I love to hear people say is to use the phrase from your perspective. Right. Where you want to ask a question about the other person's perspective. Right. And in that phrase, I believe it also contains like kind of this acknowledgment that, yes, we all know in this room that I have a perspective, but I'm interested in your perspective.

From your perspective, what would be the good things about cleaning up or, you know, eating, changing your diet? Great words. We've got to go.

We're up against a break. But thank you so much for taking the time on this. How can people get in touch with you? What's the best way to do that? Dr. Liz Barnett dot com. D-R-L-I-Z-B-A-R-N-E-T-T. Dr. Liz Barnett dot com.

We'll link to it on the podcast as well. Dr. Liz Barnett, thank you so much for joining us today. I'm going to have you back on because we got more to mind with this. This is a great topic. And I thank you very much. You're welcome. I hope so.

Looking forward to it. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back.

Hey, this is Peter Rosenberger. Have you ever helped somebody walk for the first time? I've had that privilege many times through our organization, Standing with Hope, when my wife, Gracie, gave up both of her legs following this horrible wreck that she had as a teenager. And she tried to save them for years and it just wouldn't work out. And finally she relinquished them and thought, wow, this is it. I mean, I don't have any legs anymore.

What can God do with that? And then she had this vision for using prosthetic limbs as a means of sharing the gospel, to put legs on her fellow amputees. And that's what we've been doing now since 2005 with Standing with Hope.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 10:28:21 / 2024-01-24 10:39:43 / 11

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