How to help daughter deal with emotions?


Question from Website Question: I was diagnosed with breast cancer last July (2003). My 19-year-old daughter is very unemotional about everything. It appears most of the time like she doesn't want to distress me, which bothers me. I wonder if she is holding in her feelings about how long I might live, and isn't dealing with her fears. Who should I seek — psychologist? psychiatrist? — if anyone, for her to talk to?
Answers - Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or a social worker would be a good choice, if your daughter asks for help. We can't make people get therapy when we identify a need and they don't. At 19, she may be coping with this in the way that is age- appropriate for her. As Dr. Weiss said in answer to a previous question, the way people handle the illness will change over time. This young woman needs more time to figure out her response to your breast cancer.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. It's also very possible that your own needs may change and evolve over time, but your family continues to respond to you in the same way. It may be hard for them to realize that you might want them to be more aware of your emerging needs. It's not uncommon for the person going through breast cancer and the people supporting her through it to be out of sync at some time along the way. That's where good communication can make a huge difference. I want to stress that support groups can really help give you a deeper understanding. They can help to give you the words to use so that you can start a conversation that will hopefully result in a tighter connection.
Rosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W. A 19-year-old daughter may in some way be worried about her own future and her worries about the breast cancer being hereditary. She may have many fears but not be ready to talk about them yet. I would just want this young woman to know that there are many avenues open to her to get help. Once she becomes aware of them, she can seek them out herself without her parents.

On Wednesday, September 15, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Family and Loved OnesRosalind Kleban, L.C.S.W., author Marc Silver, and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the issues surrounding family members and caregivers living with and caring for women affected by breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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