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Counselors Urge Caregivers to Care for Self
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 • Posted February 17, 2009

Counselors Jim Spruiell, Ph.D., and Pam Spruiell, Ph.D., will teach self-preservation during a five-week support group for those who care for loved-ones suffering from cancer or other debilitating diseases.

The group will meet each Wednesday, March 25 through Feb. 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hill Country Memorial Health, Hope and Healing Cancer Resource Center (CRC).

“When you’re taking care of a loved-one,” Jim Spruiell said, “you have a tendency to just give up your life. The prolonged stress can cause a physiological disease in the caregiver. Without caring for yourself, chances are you’ll become very ill. It’s much like the importance of placing the oxygen mask on yourself first when you’re in an airplane.”

Both Pam and Jim Spruiell received their doctorates from Texas A&M University Commerce. They have held counseling sessions in Dallas over the last 20 years, and now live in Fredericksburg. They have co-authored a book, and they have published a chapter in a college textbook on behavioral medicine.

They said they were inspired to volunteer their time for this support group after their daughter-in-law suffered from a brain tumor and died in Fredericksburg. The Spruiells witnessed the caretaking effects on his son and other family members firsthand.

“Life goes on, and you tend to feel guilty.” Jim Spruiell said. “You have to learn to breathe again.”

Pam Spruiell said she expects about 10 to 12 people of various ages and genders, and the CRC is the ideal environment for the support group. She said the participants are helped by hearing each other discuss their individual situations.

“We help attendees start talking,” Jim Spruiell said. “They don’t initially feel comfortable telling their story. They’re afraid to say it. You have to learn to let it out of your head and your heart—and your body follows suit.”

Space in the support group is limited. Please call 1-830-990-6648 to participate in the five-week series.

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