Dr Judith R. Boyland
Bio and Qualifications:
Motivation in undertaking this research project was grounded in the lived reality embodied in my own experience of caring for my father who had Alzheimer’s disease. The research journey began as a dormant seed somewhere between 1992 (the year of my father’s death) and 2001 when I began my journey as a professional counsellor in private practice, following 40 years in education. My curiosity and interest nurtured the seed of inquiry in its embryonic state as I journeyed with clients who presented with self-identified symptoms, consistent with those identified in the DSM-5™ (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) as being indicators for Acute Stress Reaction. I had also journeyed with clients referred by their general practitioners for support in managing diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress. Upon exploring lifestyle factors that could be contributing to their current distress, it was often found that clients were caring for a loved one who had a life-changing or a life-limiting condition.
Since 2003, in addition to journeying with my own clinical clients, I have also journeyed with allied health clinicians, as their professional supervisor. Some are caring for their own loved one who has a life-changing/life-limiting condition. Some are supporting clients presenting with symptoms of secondary trauma associated with a stress response to circumstances brought about as they assume the role of caregiver for kin or colleague.
In October of 2014, I decided to explore these presenting scenarios in a structured manner. Given my own personal journey in caring for my father, I decided that the focus of my research investigation would be the impact of caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. Findings would be presented as a narrative that profiled the caregiver’s story: as it is lived in the reality of every-day experience.