6 Signs Caregivers Should Consider Seeking Therapy

Research shows that nearly a quarter of adults aged 45-64 provided immediate assistance or care to a loved one in the past month. Over one-third of caregivers devoted at least 20 hours a week to caregiving.

Caregiving can be rewarding and meaningful, especially if you’re tending to a close friend or family member. When you’re in charge, you can ensure they are getting the care they deserve. At the same time, caregiving is hard labor that can come with immense stress, physical strain, and mental health distress.

If you are a caregiver, here are some signs you might benefit from seeking professional emotional support:

You Struggle to Practice Self-Care

Self-care matters for everyone at all points in life.

However, caregiver stress can take an immense toll on both your emotional well-being and physical health. This is especially true if you’re managing caregiving along with other essential responsibilities, including raising children, going to work, managing a household, and more. When every day feels busy, self-care doesn’t get ranked very high on your to-do list.

That said, chronically neglecting your own needs can certainly backfire and magnify physical health problems, worsen self-esteem, deplete patience, and cause other relationship problems. Therapy for caregivers focuses on having space to discuss your feelings and identify healthy ways to cope with stress.

You Feel Alone or Extremely Lonely

Unfortunately, caregiving can, at times, feel thankless and lonely. Depending on how demanding your caregiving activities are, you may also have limited time to socialize with others or spend time away from home. This can exacerbate struggles with isolation, which can worsen depression.

Many caregivers benefit from building a strong support network during this time. This may include a trusted therapist, support groups, and close friends and family. Such connections can improve your mental health and help you maintain a sense of purpose and meaning amid caregiving.

You Feel Resentful About Caregiving

At some point, many caregivers grapple with resentment over the logistics of caregiving. From sitting on the phone with the health insurance provider to driving to medical appointments to seeking financial assistance, the work can be emotionally demanding and may clash with other important values.

Resentment can show up in many ways, leading you to experience caregiver burnout. If you feel mentally exhausted, you may be burnt out, and therapy can help you work through these complex emotions safely.

You’re Struggling to Cope With Your Changing Relationship

Becoming a caregiver can be particularly challenging when you’re looking after a beloved spouse, family member, or aging parent. Suddenly, the parameters of the relationship have shifted, and it can be unnerving to see their changing identity or decompensating health status.

It’s normal to feel a combination of emotions regarding this change. Some people, for instance, feel guilty for experiencing fatigue, resentment, or stress. Others find that they feel more disconnected or numb. There can also be a sense of anticipatory grief, and therapy gives you space to process your feelings without needing to filter yourself.

You Need Help With Boundaries

Caregiver burnout is real, especially among family caregivers or unpaid caregivers. If you struggle with themes of people-pleasing, financial issues, or have tension with other caregivers, boundaries may feel even more complex. You want to ensure that your loved one is getting the best care, but you might be nervous about communicating your needs to others.

Therapy can help you identify your needs and discuss healthy ways to communicate with other family members or healthcare professionals. Boundary work isn’t easy, but professional help gives you a roadmap for having the dialogue you need.

You Need to Augment Your Caregiving Support Group

Maybe you feel like your other family members or friends don’t understand what you’re experiencing. You need a place to talk about your needs and feelings without taking care of someone else. Perhaps caregiving has held a mirror to some of your past traumas or mental health issues, and you aren’t sure how to navigate this intersection.

While support groups can be extremely beneficial, you may find that you need more space to talk about your individual feelings and concerns. Groups offer peer support, but they may lack the individual focus you need to really addressing the heart of your stress.

Therapy doesn’t resolve the stress associated with caregiving. However, caregiver counseling can provide another needed layer of support where all the attention is solely dedicated to you.

Therapy for Caregivers and Caregiver Stress in Austin, TX

No matter how much you care about your loved one, your own health, and your own needs also matter. You deserve to have a supportive environment where you can talk about what you’re experiencing without worrying about burdening or offending someone.

I specialize in treating grief, chronic illness, and all forms of caregiver stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone, and we can work together to discover ways to best take care of yourself throughout this time.

Please reach out to me today to learn more about how therapy can help you.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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