Caring For The Caregiver™ 

Inspired to provide caregivers with a creative outlet for the stresses of their profession while cultivating greater communication and understanding, Suzanne Costello and Stuart Pimsler developed their program, Caring for the Caregiver™. Since its inception, SPDT has presented these programs throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, Bermuda, and Mexico. The participants from across the globe represent a broad cross-section of the healthcare community including physicians, nurses, medical students, hospice staff, social workers, therapists, counselors, and home healthcare providers.

By exploring the power of touch and movement to help people communicate and connect with others, these workshops seek to foster stronger relationships and understanding among teams of staff members as well as between caregivers and their patients. Through the integration of movement and voice, memories and stories, participants explore ways to express feelings associated with their profession. Caregivers are encouraged to share their personal stories and reflections on how they provide support in their daily work. Together they explore a series of improvisational movement and writing exercises at their own level of skill and comfort. No prior movement experience is required.

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Meaning in Movement:

A Workshop for Stroke Survivors and their Partners

Meaning in Movement is a workshop for stroke survivors and their partners, first introduced at North Memorial Stroke Center in Minneapolis. Participants are invited to share their life stories and experiences as stroke survivors. These stories are translated into movement to help find expression for the complex feelings and pressures that result from a stroke. Participants leave these workshops with a sense of accomplishment and pride in their commitment to live a full and generous life. Similarly, the stroke survivors’ care partners’ experience a new appreciation for the survivor as their support is re-emphasized.


Transforming the Doctor-Patient Relationship

This program was piloted at the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2010, and integrates the arts through storytelling and non-verbal exercises that invite the participants to explore their individual, creative expression. As the doctor-patient relationship continues to evolve, there is a need to refresh the approach regarding this dynamic connection. Participants will be introduced to new concepts, strategies and techniques for more fully exploring their patients’ backgrounds and personal stories. This includes a series of hands-on and engaging theatrical exercises designed to stimulate creative thinking. The new, personal information will then be reviewed and linked to the patients’ traditional medical background as a means for refreshing the diagnosis and subsequent course of treatment.
Simultaneously, discussions will be facilitated regarding ethical issues related to the entire paradigm between doctor and patient. The goal of the workshop is to suggest new possibilities for deepening the relationship between physicians and their patients, while relieving some of the emotional stresses of practicing medicine in contemporary society. Participants will come away with a renewed sense of self as a means for invigorating their compassion while reconsidering their techniques as healers.


Life Stories

In this movement/story workshop for senior adults and veterans, participants give voice to their life histories. Through group sharing and gentle movement exercises, they find new ways to communicate their life experiences so that they may be heard, honored, and celebrated.
"This workshop was outstanding! Each participant was able to share themselves and their history. Great program!"
- Amanda Cahill, The Waters of Edina


Partial List of Caring for the Caregiver™ Sites

THE MAYO CLINIC – Rochester, MN
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA MEDICAL SCHOOL – Gainesville, FL
TORRANCE MEDICAL CENTER – Torrance, CA
KETTERING MEDICAL CENTER – Kettering, OH
LESLEY COLLEGE – Boston, MA
NITZAN HEALTH CENTER – Herzliya, Israel
NORTH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL STROKE CENTER – Minneapolis, MN
HOSPICE OF DAYTON – Dayton, OH
SHANDS HOSPITAL – Gainesville, FL
THE DONWOOD INSTITUTE – Toronto, Canada
ARTHUR G. JAMES CANCER CENTER – Columbus, OH
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA MEDICAL CENTER – Tucson, AZ
SYLVESTER COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER – Miami, FL
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER – Pittsburgh, PA
RIVERSIDE HOSPITAL – Columbus, OH
NATIONAL CONGRESS OF ONCOLOGY NURSING SOCIETY – Cincinnati, OH
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE – East Lansing, MI
HENNEPIN COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER – Minneapolis, MN
HOSPICE AT GRANT and RIVERSIDE MEDICAL CENTER – Columbus, OH
TUCSON MEDICAL CENTER AND HOSPICE – Tucson, AZ
ALLEGHENY UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER – Pittsburgh, PA
FORBES HOSPICE – Pittsburgh, PA
HOSPITAL INFANTIL DE MEXICO FEDERICO GOMEZ – Mexico City, Mexico
GENERAL XOCO HOSPITAL – Mexico City, Mexico
NORTH FLORIDA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER – Gainesville, FL
FRAZIER REHABILITATION INSTITUTE – Louisville, KY
UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY MEDICAL CENTER – Lexington, KY
GRAND ITASCA HOSPITAL – Grand Rapids, MN
SISKIN REHABILITATION INSTITUTE – Chattanooga, TN
OAK CROSSINGS NURSING HOME – Detroit Lakes, MN
ESSENTIA HEALTH – Detroit Lakes, MN
ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL – Duluth, MN