Caring for the Parkinson’s Disease Care Partner

Carolyn Allen Zeiger, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist


The purpose of this short-term program is to assist care partners in understanding their personal situation and needs, and discover how to be themselves in fulfilling and healthy ways as they carry out their role as caregiver.

The medical system is typically focused on the patient, not the family system, and is not designed to attend to the care partner, whose needs are seldom acknowledged—even by the care partner him or herself. The care partner is understandably focused on their loved one’s needs, and often unaware of their own. Although this may be necessary in the short run, it is ineffective in the long run, even damaging to the well being of both people.

This service puts the focus squarely on supporting the care partner. To this end, Dr. Carolyn Zeiger provides education, plus empathic and focused psychotherapy at critical points in the care partner’s journey through the world of PD: for example, to get through the shock and disorientation at the time of the PD diagnosis, to meet sudden increased challenges brought about by unexpected or necessary, but difficult, life changes, or big changes in the health status of either person. At such times, the family’s world is turned upside down, the care partner may feel overwhelmed, emotional reactions are supercharged and sometimes puzzling. Old patterns of behavior or prior trauma are often re-stimulated. These and other possible reactions make it particularly challenging to understand and address one’s own needs as well as support the partner with Parkinson’s.

Carolyn has both professional and personal experience working and living with Parkinson’s Disease. She also has over 40 years experience in the fields of clinical and health psychology, working in private practice, business and academic settings. Her own husband and her brother both have Parkinson’s. She brings together all these experiences and perspectives to provide short-term counseling and psychotherapy for Parkinson’s Disease care partners. In addition, as a Certified Practitioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu, Carolyn sometimes uses patterns of light touch to release tension in the body, mind and spirit.

Because the service will typically consist of about three sessions, and the fee is kept low, payment is due at each session, and insurance is not accepted. Sessions are 50 minutes long and $80.00 each. If long-term psychotherapy is indicated, Carolyn will make appropriate referrals.

Please feel free to call Carolyn to see whether this service might fit your situation.