Kristina Brown, Ph.D., LMFT, joined The 21st, a talk radio show on Illinois Public Media, for a discussion about mental health during the holidays. The show explored topics such as dealing with holiday stress, coping with loss during the holidays, and how to have a productive conversation with family members about a difficult topic.
Dr. Brown, Chair of the Couple and Family Therapy Department at Adler University in Chicago, recommends using “I” statements when family members disagree about topics such as politics. “When you’re having those discussions about politics, make sure you’re presenting it from the position of “I think this,” “I see this,” or “I believe this.” And that helps so that whatever you’re talking about is landing in a way that can be received. Rather than when we approach someone with “You do this” or “You think that,” people tend to get defensive.”
Dr. Brown also talked about how the holidays bring up memories of family members who are no longer there. “The holidays can be a time to reflect on loss but also time to create some ritual around family members who are gone,” Dr. Brown said.