A client came in recently and mentioned that his wife was spaced out. Why? Her sister has cancer. He said he was doing the best he could to deal with his wife. I asked him what he wanted. He looked surprised. Why? Because she’s your sister in law. You must have feelings about her. When difficult events happen, we all need help. Here are some suggestions.
Let me use the above example. I asked him if he liked his sister in law. Yes. So, what can help you? I don’t know. Do you want more hugs? More cuddles? Do you want your wife asking you how you feel about what’s happening? Yes, he said. So, ask her! Anything else? Like what? Well, do you need to spend more time alone or with your wife? More time with my wife. Would you like to go out for coffee more? That would be wonderful. Anything more? Well, there’s a new yogurt shop. So, go for a walk!
Then I asked him about his wife. What does she need? She’s been asking for things. Do you offer without being asked? What? Try offering. Like what? Well, some of the same things you want! And ask her directly what she wants—repeatedly. Leave sweet notes, flowers around.
Next, I posed the other questions: What do you know about cancer? Not much. She tells me what’s happening with her sister. Does she know a lot? I guess so. Is she in therapy? Yes. Does her therapist know a lot about cancer? I don’t know. Would you consider asking her to take you to her therapy? No? You might. You might also consider going together to a therapist specializing in cancer. Like where? Like the American Cancer Society. (You can find specialists at agencies or in your local therapist directory.)
So, use the above example to ask for more to help you and your loved ones through things!