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Joe is a psychotherapist in private practice in Minnesota, where he specializes in the psychology of chronic disease and sexual problems and works with couples, families, children, and teens. He has been a Licensed Psychologist since 1985 and has earned a master’s degree from St. Mary’s College Winona, a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota, and an associate’s degree in human services from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Joe has worked with troubled youth in Chicago and Minnesota and on a special project on Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. He was the first social worker hired by an affiliate of the American Diabetes Association. He worked at the International Diabetes Center for 20 years, directing psychological services there for 12 years. A Certified Sex Therapist, Joe co-developed the Sexual Health Center at Park Nicollet Clinic.
Having practiced meditation for over 30 years, Joe offers instruction in mindfulness-based meditation to patients in groups and as individuals. Joe is married, has a 23-year-old daughter, and enjoys scuba diving, motorcycling, golf, and being outdoors doing almost anything.
It is with some regrets and some relief that I begin this last blog entry for DiabetesSelfManagement.com. It has been a very challenging exercise to continue to find new things to write about every week. I will be relieved that that pressure to perform will be lifted. As you see from my 40+ blog entries, emotional issues are plentiful, yet sometimes difficult to put into the words that all can benefit from. I hope that I’ve at least given you something to think about, even if you didn’t agree with what I’ve said.
During the last session of the TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) conference I attended yesterday, the moderator, Steve Edelman, M.D., asked those of us on a panel what messages we thought were most important to give people who live with diabetes. To summarize all five responses from the panel would be difficult, since each came from a different medical bias, but the essence of all the responses had to do with encouragement to “keep on keeping on.”
Today I have met with several people, some of whom have diabetes and some who don’t. When we interact, we often start by looking at the things that seem outside of the person’s power to control—things like work deadlines, anger from others, behavior of other people, or the numbers on the blood glucose meter. As the conversations continue, they provide an opportunity to identify how to manage those things outside of a person’s control. They also provide a chance to look at what can we do as individuals to heal ourselves.
May is apparently Mental Health Month. I learned this from a presentation last week called “How Harley Davidson Saved Me From the Asylum.” It was presented by a man named Pete Feigel, who did a wonderful job of telling the story about his own depression and his struggles with multiple sclerosis (MS).
I read an article today on perfectionism and its impact on blood chemistry. As you may guess, people who want to do things perfectly tend to have more stress around whatever their areas of focus might be.
It’s been about 25 years since I worked at Camp Needlepoint, a camp for kids who have diabetes. It was and still is a great place for kids who have diabetes to experience the outdoors in a safe and supportive environment. All of the campers have diabetes as do many of the counselors, and those who don’t have diabetes still take injections of saline and check their blood glucose.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some teenage boys who have diabetes. The reason I was working with them was because some people in their lives thought that their behavior with their diabetes and their attitudes when asked about it were less than pleasant. The people who brought the kids to me were doctors and parents, and the kids were not happy to be here.
Stress is one of those things in life that you can’t live with or without. A life with no stress may sound inviting, particularly after a 10-hour day with an expectation of another tomorrow, but the absence of stress begins to resemble death.
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