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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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October 2008

When I went to school to become a therapist, I was taught that in order to be a healthy human, you have to be the number one priority in your life. Then I got married and had children. My own life experience has modified what I was taught. I now believe that not only am I my number one priority but so are my husband and my kids, with whoever needs the most attention getting top billing for that moment. As long as all of us get attention, including me, then all is well.

However, when my kids are not doing well, then everything gets put on the backburner, and I put all my energy into them, as do most parents. We do not do well when our kids are not doing well. Right now as I am typing, the son of some very good friends is in the hospital having just had brain surgery. I also know of two other families who have children fighting cancer. The priorities of those parents are now completely focused on doing whatever is necessary to get those children well. It is hard for the parents to remember to eat, sleep, or do anything else that is necessary to take care of themselves.

We can do this for a short period of time, during the moments of a crisis. However, when we are dealing with something that lasts more than a couple of weeks, we have to put ourselves back in the equation. It is important that anyone going through such a horrific experience allow yourself to be supported and loved by your friends, family and support network. I hope that you are taking the time to nurture yourself so that you can care for your child. You will not help anyone if you collapse. Take the time for yourself and your partner.

Know that people love you and are there for you. Take the time to cry and pray. Take the time to hug. Take the time to be with nature, even if it is looking out a hospital window at a tree. Take the time that you need. Those children and parents that I know in the hospital, know that I am sending love and prayers to you.

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