How To Manage Caregiver Anger & Resentment

Jess Quinlan
Jess Quinlan

Cerebral Therapist Jess Quinlan talks about managing caregiver resentment.

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Podcast Transcript

March 2, 2023
Note: This transcript was computer generated and might contain errors.

Jess Quinlan: I'm Jess Quinlan, I'm an independently licensed, supervising social worker, a short version isn't I'm a therapist I am currently employed with cerebral as a clinical manager but I've been in direct clinical work for about the past 10 years and a variety of settings. So Doing therapist things.

Katie Wilkinson: But that's awesome. How did you if you don't mind showing like How did you get interested in this career path? And you know, had this direction with your life?

How did you get interested in social work as a career path?

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah, it was a little bit of a windy road. I started off in art and graphic art and I had a scholarship to go to art school and so started that and then was sort of like maybe not a career maybe something I really love, but maybe not in my career choice and winded my way around into criminal justice, and then sort of foundation social work, from that piece of criminal justice, that I really liked and got into social work, and the clinical side of things, I've just really enjoyed. So,

Katie Wilkinson: That's awesome. I love, I love stories and how they've ended up where they are on. You know what,…

Jess Quinlan: Yep.

Katie Wilkinson: seem probably at the time like a meandering path, maybe. But as a social worker now, and at your job, it's cerebral. You know what, I guess, what do you like most about what you do?

Jess Quinlan:  I love working with clients and helping people fill in the gaps especially when it comes to the inherent nature of being a human being. I think about when we go to school and we know that we need to learn math, we need to learn the history, and we need to know sciencey things. And but there's a big gap in how about relationships and how about communication, and how about managing your emotions and how you feel. There's no class for that. So I love being able to provide some of that for folks when they come looking for it and be able to help identify and process. Some of those things and help folks kind of mend on their way. So

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. I think that leads nicely into what we're talking about, which is, you know, how to manage anger and resentment as a caregiver which I know as a former caregiver. And and from everyone I talk to, you know, it's kind of this like, yucky feeling and so maybe just more broadly. Can we talk a little bit about like, what causes anger and resentment and what's the difference between those two? Words, those two emotions.

What causes anger and resentment? 

Jess Quinlan: So, broadly speaking anger is a very innate emotion. That no one has to teach us how to feel. We think about it, babies, get angry, nobody teaches them how to do it. It's just something we know how to feel along with like joy and sadness. Um, anger and there's that men are feelings like any other emotions and they come up. What we know about anger is it's sort of defined, or we can look at the definition of anger is an emotion that we feel when something gets in the way of a desired outcome, or when we believe there's a violation of the way things should be. And I stole that little snippet from brene Brown and Atlas of the Hearts that she explained it very well. um,


Jess Quinlan:  resentment on the other hand, when we think about resentment, I'm assuming we typically believe that resentment and anger are very closely related, right? You think about the two and think they go together. Resentment is actually not a function of anger, resentment is actually a function of envy. Right? So, when we think about it this way, um, the idea that maybe if I'm exhausted and I'm tired and I'm overwhelmed and someone is taking a nap. and I start to feel resentful of, Cool. Glad you get to lay down because I'm exhausted and we start to feel those feelings of resentment. I wish you would just help me or or do your part. And the idea here is my lack of rest and my envy of your rest is what's causing that resentment. So I think knowing that helps us really start to dig down into some of the sources of where some of that envy can come from.

Jess Quinlan:  When we're looking at, I'm going to flipping back to anger. There's a model of looking at anger, some people talk about it as the iceberg or a pyramid for anger, where anger is sort of at the top. There's a lot of other things underneath it and it starts with a perceived threat to something that you care about so it can be a person, it can be my competence, it can be my safety, love a number of things food resources and when that perceived threat occurs in whatever form and it can be real or perceived. We have this initial emotion then that comes up that can be shame anxiety, fear humiliation.

Jess Quinlan: And anger is the kind of the emotion that comes on top of that, that we, we start to feel that protects what's going on and then anger can be a catalyst for that change, if that makes sense. So we have that perceived threat and anger is what helps us kind of protect and push through and make the changes that we, that we would desire. So, Yeah. What do you think about that questions?

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I yeah,…

Jess Quinlan: Or does that make sense or

Katie Wilkinson: I thought that was great. I just typed myself a question. I was gonna say, you…

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: why do we, why do we group anger and resentment together? But you, you know, just sort of started to touch on that. So it's, I think it's I hear questions all the time. I fear statements, I hate, I feel angry and resentful together like they often come together,…

Jess Quinlan: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: but you just started to talk about that. So I think that's that's self. I don't know if you have anything else to add about, you know why they get grouped together?

Relationship between anger and resentment

Jess Quinlan: Yeah. Well, I think because the expression looks similar right, when we feel resentful the expression and maybe how we interact with others or express, how we're feeling is very similar to How we behave when we're angry. We don't always communicate in the best ways we have some probably some similar physical feelings that come up. I don't think they're far in a way apart but just knowing that the source of it is actually drawn from from an envy and not so much from a true perceived threat in any manner. This is how anger sort of manifest. So

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think that distinction is really interesting and helpful and I imagine that you know,…

Jess Quinlan: Mmm.

Katie Wilkinson: all all feelings are valid, we say Feel your feelings and all of this but feelings like anger and resentment, You know, they're normal, but why do they feel so bad? I don't know if you could talk on that a little bit just like Why do these things feel so bad to have in our body or to experience?

Why do anger and resentment feel so bad?

Jess Quinlan:  So, when I look at emotions, there's a spectrum of all emotions and I like to, I tend to use the terms comfortable and uncomfortable. There's some emotions that are comfortable for, for us. And there's some emotions that are uncomfortable, I tend to shy away towards positive and negative, but not that, that's right or wrong. So we think about the discomfort that comes up first, we feel anger or resentment. That's because they fall on that end of the spectrum with some other uncomfortable emotions that exist for us. Generally as humans, we have again an innate reaction to shy away from discomfort because it lends itself towards our survival, right? So I give example of if you hurt your knee,

Jess Quinlan:  Your innate response to hurting your knee is to limp. You don't even have to think about it, it just happens and limping helps reduce the pain of whatever's going on in our knee. Right. Same thing with emotions. If I feel an emotion, I don't really have to think about it. I just tend to myself away towards. I don't really want to feel that I'm gonna ignore. I'm gonna detach. I'm going to, I don't want to figure out what's going on there because it feels really uncomfortable. So it's a self. It's self-preservation in a way.


Jess Quinlan:  But the belief that something is wrong or something bad will happen. If I am uncomfortable is not always true. And so, to check that for the facts of like you mentioned, Why do I feel this resentment or What is causing The anger can actually be more effective and more helpful than saying I'm angry? And I don't want to feel it so I'm going to stuff it and just ignore it and go do something else. It's there for a reason. It's trying to give us information.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think. That's that's interesting. What you've just said. I think for a lot of caregivers

Katie Wilkinson:  You know, you're caring for someone that you care about in in most instances, of course, this is all nuanced. So, you know, you feel guilty for feeling anger or resentment to or because of you know, the, your care recipient. The question feels kind of simple but like Why are they so hard to? Why is it so hard to talk about these things? Given what I just shared

Why is it so hard to talk about anger/resentment as a caregiver?

Jess Quinlan: I think. Because of the innate nature of being uncomfortable. I don't know. And this is again, just a broad statement, I don't know that. Maybe, as a society or if you're in certain environments with certain people, it can be really safe to have these types of conversations but sometimes, if you're not on the same page with The individual, you're expressing it to, or people around you. And that's not a common theme, is to be open and be vulnerable, and we're going to be uncomfortable together and we'll figure it out. And it's okay. That innate reaction is just, this is uncomfortable. Let's not talk about it. This food taste bad. I'm gonna spit it out. I don't want to tolerate, like that's just kind of that goes back to our I think basic survival instincts of this isn't good. Then I don't want to deal with it anymore.

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah.

How does someone identify the source of these emotions?

Katie Wilkinson: yeah, I think that's that's helpful and I guess then if someone's like I don't know. It's it's a flag. Like you mentioned kind of it's telling you something, you're like I just kind of want to ignore it and pretend it's not there, but it can only imagine that's gonna spiral and make these things worse and it's hard to talk about. I guess, how does someone like caregivers or otherwise? How does someone identify the source of these emotions? I think it's probably you know it's probably a surface level thing where you say like That's because I have to take care of my mom. I feel mad about that. But how do you identify like the real source of your anger,…

Jess Quinlan: and I think kind of goes back to…

Katie Wilkinson: And/or resentment?

Jess Quinlan: what I was talking about, at the beginning of

Jess Quinlan:  Before I get to a place where maybe I realize these emotions are overwhelming me being able to notice that, there's another way to deal with it and that I just have to have the tools and the knowledge that there's another way to go about it. So perhaps it is being in therapy and talking about what you feel, perhaps it is finding supports from their people and being able to have those vulnerable discussions. Being maybe someone who's open to a little bit of introspection and Taking some accountability, maybe for what, what you're feeling because I think sometimes that's tough.

Jess Quinlan:  Because there's a self-protection again and saying, Well, it's because of these external factors I'm feeling this way. So if those external factors would just change, I wouldn't have to feel like this anymore but it completely takes us out of the game, right? And so, I think that's a great question. Sort of, saying, for myself then, how do I recognize what's going on? And I think being able to verbalize an externalize with a therapist, or with other people, in a support group, I think can be really beneficial.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's that's helpful and my next question sort of follows up with that and I don't know maybe we can dig deeper or maybe we just leave it sort of at that but

Jess Quinlan: It.

Jess Quinlan: I think self-awareness plays a really,…

Katie Wilkinson: Ceilings are managed these feelings.

How to manage feelings of anger and resentment as a caregiver

Jess Quinlan: really big role because again, if you can recognize what your tendencies are like, do I tend to explode when I'm angry? Do I tend to stuff when I'm angry? Do I tend to sort of put a Band-Aid on the situation or maybe be passive aggressive, or Do I like to confront and address what's going on? And in some ways we can do a combination of those things, right? It's not always wrapped up perfect and pretty, with a bow. I think when we learn how to regulate, Negative emotions or I guess the uncomfortable emotions.


Jess Quinlan:  With identifying, what's going on for us? And kind of you mentioned, it can get a little bit nuanced because it's very individualized based on someone's experiences temperament, things like that. But if I have a desire to say, I know there's more going on here than than what it looks like on the surface, and I'm willing to kind of investigate a little bit, doing some of that processing and healthy coping has been shown in the research to be much more effective versus the alternatives of chronic explosion or stuffing what I call stuffing, or Pushing it down hiding. So Does that answer your question, I think? Okay.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah yeah totally and then I'm hoping to sort of jump back a little bit. You mentioned obviously therapy as you know a way for someone to identify the source of this and Coping Mechanisms, You talk a little bit more about what it might be like, to be in therapy. Talking about something like this, like, how can a therapist help with A feeling like resentment.

How can a therapist help with resentment

Jess Quinlan: So I think providing us a safe space where we can sort of process themes without feeling judgment where maybe I can sort of, you know, throw something out there and have a sounding board and maybe it's right, maybe it's wrong but that it's okay to sort of come up with theories and come up with ideas and patterns. I think that's really important to sort of just get it all out there and sort of have someone help you organize things in a way that that makes sense for you. Um, again, learning those themes is really important. We all have some really solidified themes. If we take a second to look at it that we can notice. We look back, we're like, I keep going in loops here with lots of things. I see lots of patterns being able to identify those patterns while so help figure out what's going to be the best coping skill or What do I need to work on, What do I need to address? Figuring out? And identifying what, our learned behaviors are anger, is definitely one of those emotions that we very

Jess Quinlan:  Heavily learned to express based on what we've seen and what we've been taught. How did our parents, How did our caregivers and our loved ones express anger and What have I seen? Well, if it's constant explosion, Then I internalize from a very young age that when I feel angry. This is what I do. So learning that you don't have to do it that way, you don't have to stuff, you don't have to explode. There's some other options and maybe somewhere in the middle. And then again continues to lend itself to just general, coping and regulation alternatives when it comes to our emotions, which I think a lot of that stems from this idea that if it's uncomfortable, I have to get rid of it as soon as possible. But learning that just because something is uncomfortable, doesn't inherently? Make it bad or, right, or wrong? It just is so, being willing to tolerate a little bit, investigate, a little bit and regulate can be really helpful.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah I really need it was very eloquent. I think that's useful, especially what you're saying about you know repeating themes or repeating patterns and…

Jess Quinlan: Sure.

Katie Wilkinson: then finding a coping mechanism that, you know, best addresses, what's specific to you. And for people that have maybe tried therapy or…

Jess Quinlan:  Mm-hmm.

Katie Wilkinson: never tried therapy or curious about it or looking for something to deal with these kind of emotions, How does someone determine the best kind of therapy for them? I think if you do a quick Google search, it shows you like, you know, 50 different types of therapy. You could be doing. And how does someone

How does someone determine the best kind of therapy for them?

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah. Um I think really a big part of it has to do with the individual that you are seeking therapy from so your therapist You are not going to be the best match for every therapist, and every therapist is not going to be the best match for you just as human beings and relationships work the same way. It is. Okay, if you start going to therapy and you don't believe your therapist is a good match for you. I don't know if that's talked about enough but it is okay and it doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your therapist but it's okay to say, Hey, I don't know if we're a good match, can you help me maybe find someone who's a better fit and maybe that's just personality wise or style wise?  As far as like a therapeutic approach like what is their evidence-based approach? I think?

Jess Quinlan:  There isn't necessarily a way to determine before getting into it if it's going to be a good fit or not. Obviously there are certain approaches that fit certain topics like There are certain approaches for trauma. There's certain approaches for depression anxiety, so making sure whatever you've identified you're dealing with that. Maybe you're you're at least seeking someone who has a specialty or focus in that area for sure. But for some people like, CBT is very common, right? But sometimes I worked with folks that they don't resonate well with CBT. It feels to intellectualizing and they need maybe a stronger focus on emotional literacy.

Jess Quinlan:  So being able to shift as a therapist and have knowledge in a couple different areas, can be really helpful and I think just having that direct communication with your therapist and being able to say, I am really getting a lot from this or I don't know if this is working. I want to focus more here. How do we do that? And just having that, that open line of communication to let them know what you need, can be really helpful. Therapy in general. And something I tell my clien ts often Therapy in general should be uncomfortable to a certain degree if you go into therapy feeling absolutely amazing and wonderful. Every single time with no level of discomfort. I would challenge the amount of work that actually doing in therapy, it should be uncomfortable. I usually give like the gym analogy. If you go to the gym, you should be a little sore after, right? That means you're doing something that means it's working.


Jess Quinlan:  So of course, I don't ever want to advocate that, you should be extremely triggered and feel awful after therapy. That's probably not a good sign either, but if your therapist is able to, I use the Vague term of If I was able to poke you a little bit and kind of say you know, metaphorically so and and tap into some things and help you explore some things and it doesn't feel the greatest but you're able to recognize I really did need to talk about that or I am willing to challenge myself to go that extra step and try something different and see what the result is. I think that that that's a really good sign that maybe your therapist is a good fit and what you're doing is a good fit.

Katie Wilkinson: yeah, that's something I've actually experienced in therapy, myself is feeling like like I'm not getting poked enough and found you know, other people that were better matches for me but it's sort of a It took a while to like learn that. That just not everything therapist is the right therapist for me and vice versa.

Jess Quinlan: You.

Katie Wilkinson: That said, I think what can maybe be overwhelming to people is like, You know, insurance is gonna cover their therapy, maybe, maybe they're paying out of pocket. So this like shopping around idea,…

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah.

How to make mental health care more accessible

Katie Wilkinson: I think can feel sort of overwhelming and expensive to people. And can you talk about like costs efficient alternatives or solutions to therapy?

Jess Quinlan: Yes, so I think more and more with special with the pandemic, kind of pushing this idea of more accessible mental health care. So with the online platforms like cerebral who my work for, and there's lots of other platforms and options makes it a little easier. Don't have to worry about the commute and the drive and and you can reschedule and there's a little bit more flexibility there, I think all. So just accessibility to more resources. There are lots of great but also, some not great like, Instagrams that are


Jess Quinlan:  Directed entirely on certain topics of, Let's talk about trauma, themes, and they're run by licensed professionals. Let's talk about family systems. Obviously perceived with caution there because anyone can throw up an Instagram account, but it can be really helpful that this is just becoming something that's more talked about, I mentioned brene Brown earlier and she has lots of really great accessible resources through either an academic lens. If you want to read one of her research papers or through video via Netflix and HBO it's accessible, she has books. So, whatever outlet you'd prefer,

Jess Quinlan:  There's lots of great resources there and I think brene brown in general. She's someone that I look up to professionally and she's very accessible. She's very, I think personable. So it can be a good place to start because she talks about some of these tough things, like anger. And the feelings, we feel. And how do we connect and how do we find joy and vulnerability? So, I think those are some some good alternatives to your traditional model at times of going into the office and and seeing the therapist sitting in the chair taking notes. It's evolved a little bit. So

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I think that's super helpful. I'm excited about, you know, companies like cerebral that are making Mental health care,…

Jess Quinlan: Here.

Katie Wilkinson: more accessible and in many ways, more affordable because you don't have, you know, the the gas money now or helping, you know, your therapist pay for their office space like it's more accessible to stay online.

Jess Quinlan:  Right.

Katie Wilkinson: I guess a follow-up to that. Question is like You mentioned that you know certain topics might benefit from a certain approach or certain type of therapy. I guess my question is twofold here. One is like, Is there an approach that might be useful for people that are struggling with resentment and or anger? And then I guess my second question is, if you're like, looking for therapy and…

Jess Quinlan: Here.

Is there an approach that might be useful for people that are struggling with resentment and or anger?

Katie Wilkinson: you're not sure where to start, And you don't want to just like shooting the dark looking for a therapist. Where can someone go online? Maybe Brene Brown, maybe somewhere else. Working someone go and To like research types of therapy that might you know, resonate or be attractive to them. There's a lot of questions that you all once there.

Jess Quinlan:  That's okay. Yeah, so  I think a great place to start is CBT therapy stands for cognitive behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Really works on. Connecting our thoughts and assumptions to our feelings and our behaviors. Because there is a line that connects all those. You can even throw in physical feelings into that mix. And so, when I get to a space in therapy, where if I'm if I'm addressing this through a CBT lens, I can start to look at. What is the narrative that's going on in my head? Because a lot of times you don't think about it, we know there's like a narrative there, but we don't really point it out unless we're in therapy. No one talks about like the narrative per se in this context. So being able to recognize there's a narrative and being able to understand where my assumptions come from, what assumptions, am I making, what am I telling myself about this situation? So what I'm telling myself about a particular event,

Jess Quinlan:  Is going to determine how I behave in what I feel. Right?, So if I'm able to notice like, for example, when I wake up in the morning, what's the first thing? I think if it's Oh, wow, you've already woken up 15 minutes late. Your whole day is ruined, that's gonna impact the rest of my day and everything I do going forward. I may start digging up. Well, yeah, because you can never do anything, right. Because remember that one time you didn't make the basketball team in seventh grade. And now, this is just another thing, right? And we just start on that hamster wheel and that's gonna impact how I feel and how I perform and what my affect is like and versus, if I wake up in the morning and I can notice that narrative, Maybe I do have that initial thought of, Oh, great, you ruined it. You're 15 minutes late. You're gonna miss your meeting. But then I'm able to say, Okay,

Jess Quinlan:  That's not accurate. I don't know what's gonna happen. It's okay. If you're late, people are late, sometimes, you know, and then we can go into to a further narrative of What do I need to do from now on to make sure I'm awake on time in the future. Lots of different routes we can go there. but,

Jess Quinlan:  I think specifically with anger and resentment watching what those narratives are like when I say, To myself. Wow, I can't believe they're taking a nap and I'm left to do all this or wow. No, one said. Thank you. And I just spent my whole day doing this for you and you don't even care the things I'm telling myself, are going to impact those feelings. I feel and how those levels and of anger and resentment are going to start stacking up. So noticing and being able to have a space where you feel heard and validated something. I didn't mention earlier that I think can be really helpful that adds to, this is the antidote to anger is validation. so, if you want to fuel the fire of someone who's angry invalidate them,


Jess Quinlan:  Right. So if someone says Man, I'm so angry that I didn't get the job and someone's like, well yeah, you weren't really qualified. You didn't really deserve it. There's another one, it's no big deal. You're probably gonna feel more upset or tend to lean into a little bit of sadness. Versus if someone says, Yeah, that really sucks because you didn't deserve to be treated like that or you definitely should have gotten a second interview for that job immediately helps relieve those feelings of anger. So not only externally, is it nice to have that validation, but internally to validate ourselves in that way. I think can be really, really helpful. So learning that narrative and learning how to respond to that narrative and effective ways, CBT can definitely help with that. Again, CBT is not always the best fit for everyone and their specific situation. I think it can be a great place to start. It's a really solid sort of general base for everyone. Especially if it's just, you're struggling a little bit with how to manage emotions and learning emotional literacy and things like that and could be a great great place.

Jess Quinlan:  Start as far as figuring out kind of where to go or where to find those resources or people. Honestly, the first resource that comes to mind just because it's a literal filtering system. For providers is psychology today, a place where you can find a provider indicate what you're looking for down to gender, ethnicity, specialties and otherwise, and then it can tell you who's in your area.

Jess Quinlan:  I wish there it would be I would love to see like a matrix of all kinds of therapeutic approaches evidence-based and how they, you know, if I would love to see take this quiz and figure out which approach you need. Like, that would be amazing. I'd love to see resources like that. I hope we're, we're headed in that direction where some of these things are more accessible and more easy to figure out, especially folks trying to navigate for the first time, I would love to see that, but I think Google can be a great place to start again. As long as you're taking heed to where that resource is coming from. I think that can be helpful and even connecting with friends or people, you know, and saying, Hey, I want to talk to you about this, what worked for you? I'm thinking about this, what your experience been like, and getting some of those referrals from friends, can be helpful as well or other supports.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's awesome. I think I've referred like 10 people to my therapist or…

Jess Quinlan: There you go.

Katie Wilkinson: my previous therapist. I'm curious.

Jess Quinlan: That's good.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, she's awesome. I moved.

Jess Quinlan: Right. Mmm.

Katie Wilkinson: I moved states so I can't see her anymore,…

Katie Wilkinson: but everyone in California. I'm like go.

Jess Quinlan: Turn. Yeah, right.

How does Cerebral work?

Katie Wilkinson:  I'm curious with cerebral how it works. When someone signs up for Cerebrals, you get matched. Just with like the first available therapist or How does that matching process works? I know we just talked about like it'd be great if there was a quiz that said This is the best kind of therapy for you. What's it like sort of in cerebral land?

Jess Quinlan:  Exactly.

Jess Quinlan: Yeah, so when you sign up for cerebral you are matched with folks in your state as you just mentioned you per licensing, guidelines. You can only see folks that are licensed in the state in which you reside or currently located. So you will be put into a bucket with all the therapists in your state and then you get to choose as I just mentioned as well. What specialties are you looking for? Do you have gender or ethnic preferences gender preferences? Anything like that. I think I just said that. But and then it will filter you for folks that are available to take on new clients, in your, in your state. And then you can set up an appointment with them. And then again, once you get in with them, if it turns out maybe they're not the best fit personality wise or approach. Right? Wise. You can let them know and they can definitely get you transferred over to someone else in your state that has similar availabilities and specialties. So

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's awesome. I know I'm taking us a little bit down. A cerebral rabbit hole here but occasionally I've you know emailed a therapist and they are like Yeah I can see you in two months which feels kind of discouraging.

Jess Quinlan: Here.

Katie Wilkinson: When you're like I have something I really want to talk about right now. And hopefully having just set this question up for you know disappointment but I guess that's cerebral. How long might you wait to see a therapist after you've signed up?

Jess Quinlan:  I think at cerebral I think I can safely say the maximum you may have to wait would be a matter of days. If that folks usually have pretty immediate availability and I believe our algorithm also sets you up to see folks with the availability that you prefer and that you're looking for. I don't think they would say you up in a match with someone who didn't have an appointment too far out. So that's something definitely to keep in mind. That's one of the goals that cerebral had was that more accessible care. So yeah, we're not, we're not waiting months or weeks maybe a matter of days, so,


Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I love that. Yeah, I've definitely ended up not seeing those therapists…

Jess Quinlan: Here. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: because I'm like I need help sooner or you know, whatever.

Jess Quinlan: I mean, I've had folks that I've seen on the platform that said I just signed up today and you had an appointment for later in the day. And and so now I'm seeing you, you know, hours after I signed up. So,

Katie Wilkinson:  Oh, wow. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's awesome. I'm gonna take us back just a little bit. I just have, you…

Jess Quinlan:  Sure. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: one or two more questions but I guess I'm curious about boundary setting, I think for a lot of caregivers and there's a, I think these feelings come from and I'm just sort of hypothesizing here, but because they feel like their life's on hold or they, you know, are resentful towards a sibling who lives in a different state and doesn't have to be, you know, living with Mom, or any number of reasons. But I guess he just talk a little bit about boundary setting and like why it's important and how you set boundaries with other people? I think, you know,…

Jess Quinlan: Mm-hmm.

Katie Wilkinson: you hear that word. You just think people are saying no around the world, but how can people do this effectively?

How caregivers can set effective boundaries

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah. So boundary setting is an and can be complicated because it's a little bit complex in order to set a boundary. We have to take a couple steps back first in the process. And the first step is mattering. It's what I like to call mattering. We have to believe and understand that we matter. No more, no less than anyone else. And sometimes, I think, especially in an environment of caregiving. There tends to be that uneven balance of will. This person clearly matters, more, they're getting more attention. They're getting more of my time. I didn't even get to sit down and eat lunch, right? 

Jess Quinlan:  But understanding that as a caregiver you matter, no less than the person you're caregiving for. There's just a difference in and I would say broadly independence, right? I can do those ADLs a little bit more independently than someone else can, but our differences in mattering are no different. so,

Boundary setting is complicated. The first step is mattering—we have to believe that we matter. As a caregiver you matter no less than the person you care for—there's just a difference in independence. I can do ADLs more independently, but our differences in mattering are no different. So, when I get to a place of mattering, then I'm able to set up a boundary.

Jess Quinlan:  when I get to a place of mattering, then I'm able to set up a boundary. And the way I like to explain this to my clients as well is because we don't put boundaries up around things that don't matter, right? So we think about physical boundaries, like offense or locking a door lock in a car, we don't do that for things that don't matter. Like we don't lock things up that we don't care about, right? We don't put a boundary around it. So if I care about myself and I understand that I still continue to matter, then I can set that boundary because the struggle for most folks comes in when we attempt to set a boundary, but we don't believe we matter as much. It's hard to reinforce it, so if we say, Hey, please don't do that in the person, says, No. I'm really, I'm gonna do that. If I don't believe that I matter, we'll say Okay, what you want matters more than what I want and I'm just sorry, I'm upset anything, right?

Jess Quinlan:  So, when we do have that solid foundation of mattering, it makes setting boundaries, I wouldn't say easier. But to reinforce and to really say, I mean this and I'm gonna show you because I'm going to follow through. I think it makes it a lot more effective less likely to sort of crumble or backtrack in that way. So it can definitely be a very hard road to go down in getting to a place where I feel comfortable or I feel ready and able to set boundaries that I'm willing to reinforce just because there are some layers to it.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, I really love that analogy of you know, putting a fence around your property or locking your door. I think that really helps sort of yeah, frame what a boundary can look like on a personal level. So normally to round out these conversations,…

Jess Quinlan: Here.

Katie Wilkinson: we like to ask, You know, if someone has a top tip for a caregivers but just given the nature of this conversation, I'd love instead to ask

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah. That's a great question.

Katie Wilkinson: Benefits of therapy. Like just parting words for. For this.

What this therapist wishes more people knew about therapy

Jess Quinlan: I think, what I what I wish more people knew about therapy is

Jess Quinlan:  I'm want to put this succinctly I guess um that you get to participate and ask to have your needs met just as much as the therapist gets to participate. I think sometimes there's this idea that if they're the professional or they're the doctor, whoever they get to run the show and they're going to tell you what to do. And you just have to listen and comply and everything will be better and perhaps and maybe modern medicine and a physical health setting. It works that way I come in, I tell you the problem, the doctor tells me what to do and I do it and I get better. Um in therapy, your participation is


Jess Quinlan:  Vital. What you Think If something is working, if it's not working your feedback, your thoughts, how you feel is really important to making sure that that collaborative therapeutic process really serves its purpose and you can get to your goals. So I just I don't want people to be afraid to say how they're feeling or to to talk to their therapist. Yeah, I think sometimes it can take a long time for that therapeutic report to build, right, like, I meet with someone for six or nine months and I feel really comfortable with my therapist at some times. At first we feel a little bit hesitant and I just want folks to feel empowered to know that it's important to to participate and and say what you feel and say what you think.

Katie Wilkinson: Yeah, that's awesome. I think that's really helpful for people to know to, you know, give in what you just said, sort of this traditional relationship between you and someone in authority. Like say, you know, medical doctor I think yeah people approach therapy sort of with the same understanding and so it's useful to hear from a therapist that it's okay to participate in your care in that way.

Jess Quinlan: Absolutely.

Katie Wilkinson:  If people want to find more about you or and or cerebral online, where can they find you?

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah,, is where all the info about Cerebrals house? If you Google, my name just Quinlan with cerebral. My bio will pop up so you can see some more info about me there.

Katie Wilkinson: That's awesome. Yeah, we'll be sure obviously to link as cerebral in all the, all the links everywhere and…

Jess Quinlan: Sure.

Katie Wilkinson: thank you so much for this conversation. I think was very insightful and…

Jess Quinlan:  Yeah. Yeah.

Katie Wilkinson: helpful for people because this is not an uncommon thing with people are struggling with as caregivers.

Jess Quinlan: Yeah. Absolutely.

Katie Wilkinson: So thank you so much for your time.

Jess Quinlan: Thank you for a great questions. Katie. I appreciate it.