Family of Origin SMALL group - Maysel kemp white, phd, mft, fach
Self awareness is a critical prerequisite to becoming an effective healer or teacher. One’s personal self is intimately connected to their professional role as a healer and teacher.
Some of our most important connections in life are the ties to our family. Many times our life course is a reflection of roles and patterns laid out by the generations that preceded us. The more we know about our families, the more we know about ourselves and the more freedom we have to determine how we want to live. Without the awareness and the subsequent ability to make choices we are more likely to repeat patterns of behavior ingrained from our family experiences and therefore have less choice in changing them.
All of us have family experiences with illness, loss, health behaviors, health beliefs and interactions around dealing with the uncertainty of medicine, loss and death. Styles for tolerating and dealing with affect around these issues are learned in our family of origin. Current problems or unresolved issues within one’s family of origin can interfere with working with patients and teaching about working with patients.
Many clinician may be drawn into medicine because their upbringing resulted in a highly developed sense of empathy, responsibility and /or altruism. For example, many clinicians filled the role of caretaker in their family of origin and were highly valued and this has ultimately led to a commitment to serving others. This historical role can be both a strength and a weakness. Our family experiences as caretakers can be a strength in developing our empathic skills and our sensitivity to people’s needs for help. It can be a weakness when it leads to blurred boundaries or inappropriate response to the families we treat. People who know and use their strengths on a daily basis have greater career satisfaction, experience more joy, have greater resilience and less burn out.
All behavior is adaptive and at one point served us well. All of us have “hot buttons.” These are interactions that take place with certain patients, learners, or workshop participants that catch us reacting in ways that we really don’t want to. After the initial automatic reaction, when there is time to reflect, we may wish we had behaved differently. Although we may later try to justify the behavior, the nagging feeling of regret is a reliable guide to identifying “hot buttons.” Becoming aware of our hot buttons and reframing them and assessing if they still serve us is a key to self-regulation and preserving relationships so we get better results.
The purpose of this group is to take the first step in exploring the relationship between one’s family of origin and one’s strengths and current “hot buttons”. In this self awareness group we will use our own genograms as a tool to explore how this history led to or maintains our current strengths and “hot buttons”. We will explore the origins of our strengths, how these got reinforced in our family of origin and how to leverage our strengths so we are using them more frequently. We will explore whether re-actions to our “hot buttons” still serve us in ways that are useful in our professional roles as providers or teachers of health care.
There is about 6-8 hours of pre-work before you arrive. The pre-work is critical to getting the most out of our limited time together in this brief 6 hour personal awareness group.
Maysel Kemp White, PhD, MFT, FACH is a passionate advocate for improving the patient and family experience of care through compassion, collaboration, and culturally and linguistically appropriate care. Maysel is a Nationally recognized speaker, teacher, coach, and author on relationship-centered care. She has spent the last thirty years as a serious learner of healthcare communication, relationship-centered care between providers and patients, shared decision making, interprofessional team development, leadership development, and coaching. Maysel has designed and delivered communication and coaching skills curricula at health systems across North America. Maysel has published two book chapters on Relationship-Centered Appreciative Coaching. In 2018 she received the “Healthcare Communication Teaching Excellence Award” from the Academy on Communication in Healthcare.
Maysel has been leading family of origin personal awareness group since 1996. Maysel works in collaboration with healthcare professionals to facilitate cultural transformation using relationship-centered and strengths based approaches. Dr. White served on the Board and as Vice President for Education for 9 years with the Academy on Communication in Healthcare. Currently, Dr. White is the Founder of her consulting company Healthcare Quality and Communication Improvement, LLC. She received her Doctorate in Child and Family Development with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy specializing in systems theory, communication and relationship building skills from the University of Georgia.