The May 19, 2001 meeting at the United Parish Church of Auburndale was attended by 48 members and guests.
Betty Anderson introduced our speaker, Margaret E. Backman, Ph.D., a psychologist who is associated with Columbia University and New York University Medical Center. She helps individuals with disabilities and families cope with their fears and frustrations, and has worked for fifteen years with people who had polio.
Dr. Backman spoke first of family members' feelings. They see that they can't change the situation, they find it hard to deal with any anger of the survivor and they find it hard to plan for their own future.
She then talked about the fears and frustrations of survivors. They may be afraid of what the future holds and that their physical needs place too much of a burden upon family members. They may also feel that family and friends are angry with them because of their disabilities.
Professional counseling and therapy can help with all of these issues. Counseling sessions with couples can be especially useful since the therapist can make points in a non-accusatory manner, and can help couples to see how they can relate differently.
Dr. Backman also advised survivors to:
There were a number of excellent questions, all of which were answered thoroughly, after which there was time for further socializing. Many thanks to Margaret Backman for her time and interest.
Thanks to the Newton Girl Scouts for their assistance with refreshments, and also to our other volunteers who set up the meeting room, including the sound and video equipment as well as the literature racks.