Catch Teresa Moerer on the #PirateBroadcast™
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Introduction: [00:00:00] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns: [00:00:10] Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast everyone. And we are here talking about physical therapy, group therapy, therapeutic practice, and also a lot of awesome things that are taking place in the world today. Theresa, welcome to the party.
Teresa Moerer: [00:00:30] I'm doing great. And thanks for having me.
Russ Johns: [00:00:32] It's a pleasure. It's a pleasure. I wanna step in and for people that are not familiar with who you are and what you do, give us a snapshot so we can get started with this conversation about your backstory and your experience in physical therapy.
Teresa Moerer: [00:00:48] Yes. Thank you again for having me today. Yeah, and I have been a physical therapist for 35 years and I'm also a very creative soul and parts of therapy just got boring to me, but when I got in touch with multidisciplinary group therapy, I just I came alive in my therapy. And I just saw how it was working to bring people together and do these therapeutic activities. And they were just making, leaps and bounds with their therapy and their gains and their outcomes. And I just really had a good time with it. Also, I could develop these therapies. Like we had a painting party, and challenge balance. And we worked with transitions because everybody goes through transitions when they become ill, so help them with their mental and their physical state. So now fast forward 15 years when I started actually first started this, now I'm teaching therapists about it, and I've also brought it into the business community about how basically a lot of it is just, finding yourself, knowing who you are and building the best person you can be. Also with my creative side, I go into that creative genius of finding your creative genius and expressing that to the world.
Russ Johns: [00:01:58] That's fantastic. People don't necessarily think about physical therapy and creativity in the same arena. So when you discovered this group therapy process and you actually wrote a book about this process. Tell us a little bit about the book that you wrote. What's the subject of that?
Teresa Moerer: [00:02:19] Sure. Yeah. It's called the art of assisting aging parents. And I decided to take my group therapy into that world of seniors and caregivers because they're under so much stress, and a lot of caregivers don't know what to do and how to help their aging parents. So that's the first arena that I brought that to, but it does have my group therapy method. There's like a four step method that if you follow it, you're doing everything you can do for your parents to help them age well, and also you can take care of yourself as a caregiver.
Russ Johns: [00:02:52] Wow. I knew there was something else to your story that triggered me. And as a caregiver, someone that has been caring for his parents for the last, I don't know, three or four years, dad passed away last year. I'm still caring for mom. She's on oxygen COPD and every day is a gift. And I can relate to that statement of self care versus caring for others. And I think that also goes back to your creativity in the group therapy piece of the puzzle, because caregivers, this is just my experience. I don't know how everybody else feels, but I feel blessed that I get to care, spend time with my parents. And it's still somewhat challenging at times because of just scheduling life and things to take place and things that we have to do. And doctor's appointments and lunches and feeding and, household chores and life gets busy regardless of where you are, who you are. And so it's important for us to understand that. That's a therapy in itself. Isn't it?
Teresa Moerer: [00:04:05] Yes. Yes. And it's best to make it into a therapy, because you can have the attitude of, oh, this is stressing me out. I don't know what to do. And you can really internalize all that. And I came across a statistic fairly recently that said, caregivers are dying 60% faster than those they care for. So, ,yeah. That's not really good news, is it?
Russ Johns: [00:04:30] Statistic.
Teresa Moerer: [00:04:31] Right? Yeah. Ears open now. Yeah, we need to take care of ourselves. And you really do need to put yourself first in the situation and take time every day and every week to take care of yourself. And I show you how to do that in the book. And you can actually get together with your parents and, set goals and set activities to do so they can continue to succeed and you have to succeed also.
Russ Johns: [00:04:57] And success can be different things to different people, right?
Teresa Moerer: [00:05:01] Many of the sandwich generation, they're taking care of their children and parents, they may have goals to go back to school or to do a career change. And that's something that in your midlife, you need to pay attention to. So if you get too wrapped up in the caregiving or if it becomes too burdensome, you won't be taking care of yourself and then it's your future, too.
Russ Johns: [00:05:24] I think it goes back to balance. Don't you believe?
Teresa Moerer: [00:05:27] Yes, definitely. Definitely, balance. Yes. Yeah.
Russ Johns: [00:05:32] It's funny because Sheila in here says, hello. Sheila Chamberlain. Yes. Hi. How are you? Hope you're well. Kon is an awesome individual. He's a pirate as well. Good morning, Russ and Teresa. And he goes on to say, more and more of us are in the role of caregiver. It's a role we embrace with love, but most of us are so unprepared for it. Kon I couldn't agree with you more. And the question that always comes up in my mind is am I doing enough? Cause I work, I have a business and fortunately I'm able to work from home. I live with my mother here in Arizona. I moved to Arizona to be with my parents and they got to a point where driving wasn't really a safe thing to do anymore. And the reality was that it was something that they needed help with. And my son actually said, hey dad, you should consider moving to Arizona and helping your folks out. You'll never regret it. And I thought that was very insightful of him. And also, it opened the door to say, okay, I'm leaving Texas. And so I'm here now and going back to physical therapy and therapy in general, it's really a process. It's a journey and I've had plenty of therapy, physical therapy. I've learned how to use my right hand and my left hand differently. I've learned how to use my muscles differently after breaking my hip. I've fallen and had skull fractures. I've lived a full life, let's just say that. The reality is that all of these things are so important for us to understand and thank you for doing the work that you do. And I really appreciate not only that, but I want to go back and I could ramble on this for awhile, but I want to go back to what was it in your life that prompted you to become a physical therapist in the first place? What was that seed that was planted early on that opened that door for you?
Teresa Moerer: [00:07:45] Yeah, I think the first thing I would say would be I wanted to help people, from a very early age, I was very in tuned with actually just the interest in people and helping people. And so I paired that with my love for science. And I really liked, the biology, physiology, anatomy, loved the science and I paired that with helping people. And then I came up with physical therapy. And I think too, occupational therapy would have also been a good. It might've fit in with more of my creativity, but I just, for some reason, had to be a physical therapist, and that's okay. And I have gained, I can't imagine my life without it. Even though now I've taken up some painting and I'm trying to express myself also creatively, as I teach this to people, but I can't imagine my life without the physical therapy. It was a good choice, but it wasn't a choice like forever, I want to teach people now about some different modes of self, of like personal development.
Russ Johns: [00:08:45] Fast forward, I think you cannot avoid learning about people and process and things without, as you're in physical therapy, you learn all of these things and at some point in time, just most people that like to give back to the community, you get to a point where you want to, you have so much information, you want to share it out. There's this thing that's, I don't know, that's just my experience, but a lot of people on the #PirateBroadcast the same feeling, I'm at a point where I want to give back to the community, which is it's a treasure, it's a gift. It's, it's so valuable. And I encourage people to do that. So physical therapy, you got to a point where you decided the group therapy was this awesome process that you could go through and help a lot more people. And we were talking before the show about some of the activities and how you can accelerate the recovery in and the health of the individuals as they're in a group as well. Talk a little bit about that.
Teresa Moerer: [00:09:48] Okay. Yeah. I found that when you put people into a group and you give them an activity, you just, as, and even Maxine Greene says she's an educator and she says the best teacher sets up an experience for people and then steps back. You have to step away. And even as a therapist, sometimes you have to let go of the outcomes. And that's hard. We want to control things, but you step back and that's where the learning comes in and they interact with each other. I give some therapists examples, like I could roll a ball to somebody and have them kick it to me. Or I could put them people in a group and chairs in a group and put a ball in the middle of the circle and have them kick it to each other. And you wouldn't believe how people get involved, and they're given the ball to throw to each other, they're involved, they're smiling, they're happy, they're talking, they're motor planning. They're doing faster reaction times, the group just brings people alive in my sense, and group isn't for everybody. Some people have like social phobias or whatever. You can take them out of the group, but generally groups are extremely good. And there's studies that for the face-to-face contact that people have during the groups, helps them decrease inflammation and helps them emit hormones that their body needs, even to be more empathetic and just more, more, generous and I could go on and on about the benefits of group, but it's huge. It's huge. I was going to say too, during this time of social isolation, we all have to be really cognizant of trying to get back into our groups when we can, instead of being on zoom all the time, trying to get back in those groups and have that face to face interaction. I think people are hungry, just hungry for that right now. I don't know if you're seeing that, but I am
Russ Johns: [00:11:34] I'm a hugger. So for me it's one of those things that I miss. I miss the interaction. I miss the activity. I miss the ability to talk to people and sit down with them in and have a deep conversation in life about anything. I'm curious. I always like to figure out how people got to where they were, so it was really important. Jill sullivan, sending love. She's an awesome individual. If you're not connected with Jill, go connect with her, she's a rock star. And she says, hi Teresa. And she says, hey, you're a rock star, Russ, an angel, thank you, Jill. I love you too. Thank you so much, Howard Kaufman is saying really great point on the positive impact of a group. Certainly that hit home was many people during this pandemic. These pandemic times. Absolutely positively. I know a lot of people, isolation is not their friend. I've been working on my own and independent, a remote worker for over a decade. And so for myself, it wasn't as much of a transition. Russ Hedge says, good morning. Concepts for the most part, we are social creatures with the basic need to connect. It is key to a long, healthy life. I believe you, Russ Hedge says. I'm with you both. Miss hugs and real people. Jill says, I love this topic this morning, Jill, you've had physical therapy. You know what it's like, and being in a group session, I think that would be motivational. I think it would encourage some activity because you seeing other people doing activity and you say, if they're doing that, I can do that too. And that kind of builds on itself.
Teresa Moerer: [00:13:27] Yes. Yes. Yes. I've even had patients that don't really want to be in physical therapy. During group they're helping other patients, which is beautiful, and they were able to get done what we wanted them to do, and they were able to help other patients achieve what they needed to achieve. It's a win-win situation for everybody. You have to be super flexible and creative. If you are a therapist that likes to just run things, like by the minute or by 15 minutes, we're going to do this. It might be more difficult for you to do this because you really have to go with the flow and talk about being creative. That's where you're able to create all these exceptional experiences because you just pickup on them. Okay. What can we do next? How can we bring this group to a higher level with this exercise and as a therapist, but that's what I love to do.
Russ Johns: [00:14:18] So are you training other therapists on this practice in helping their physical therapy practice build on the group therapy concept?
Teresa Moerer: [00:14:31] Yes, I am. Yes, I am. I actually have a six hour course that I present and I've also put a three hour course on it's education site as Allied Health Education has my three-hour course. I have a six hour course. I teach live. We just delve really deep. And I think it's just such an exciting therapy because the health benefits are just huge, and we talk a lot about neuroplasticity. The brain is always able to change up until the day you die, and so we're very proactive on making those changes because every behavior you make is either positive or negative for your brain. We teach people how to make good choices even with their body, with, their posture and just building those neural networks, new neural networks, or like strengthening the existing neural networks so that they can function well, into the future.
Russ Johns: [00:15:31] That's it's increasingly more necessary as. No, like the boomers, baby boomers are aging. Dad had dementia his, he couldn't remember a lot of what he was doing. Long-term memory. He was fine. Short-term memory. Wasn't so great. And he took it. I was really curious to see how he approached being frustrated versus just saying, I can't remember what I got today, but it shows up in different ways to different people. And that goes back to the caregiver piece of the equation. However, in physical therapy, you can practice and work your mind is what I'm hearing and continue to work on those neural connections and that activity in your brain.
Teresa Moerer: [00:16:24] Yes. And really everybody needs to be doing it, and that's challenging yourself with new activities. Say like even learning a new language or I talked a little bit about my day trading before the show. Which came up last year, when the market dropped, but I spent almost a year training my brain to do that. And that was something new for me. Anything you can put into your brain that's new, is going to challenge it and your brain loves surprises. Make things go out and do something, that you haven't done before, or bringing a novel thing into your life, and enjoy, and when you do make these gains, celebrate the gains, celebrate the wins, no matter how small they are. Your brain, again, loves that when you celebrate your wins and that's a positive, that's a very positive behavior, because you hear it all the time. You get all of these negative thoughts run through your head and getting those positive thoughts in and building that strong, positive neural network also is a good thing to do.
Russ Johns: [00:17:22] Absolutely. So practical tips, just to recap. The practice of adding something new to your life that you can learn or a discipline that you can add to your routine, get out of your routine a little bit and think of something new recently. On my last birthday I decided I was gonna start my third version of my music career again. And so I started creating a track a day and posting it, good, bad, or indifferent, I'm posting it every single day. Just so I could learn the process and it's learn a new process the creative music and just to enjoy something different. And so it's really, it's a journey. It's like day trading in some respects.
Teresa Moerer: [00:18:14] Yeah. Some days,
Russ Johns: [00:18:17] But things like that, that's a great tip. I love that idea and you don't think about it until somebody points it out and says, oh, that's obvious. But until we see the obvious, we don't always notice it.
Teresa Moerer: [00:18:30] Right,
Russ Johns: [00:18:30] it's like that thing, the last place I found it, the last place I looked. Kon says, Teresa, it's the difference between focusing on activity versus focusing on the person. I think he made that comment back when he was talking about the group therapy versus, so it's focusing on the activity versus the person. And Hiett Ives in from Houston, says, better, late than never. Good morning pirates. Thanks for being here, Hiett. Appreciate you. Wendyin from Minnesota, hope you're staying safe. Welcome Teresa. So happy you're on the pirate ship with us. Remarkable pirate edition, Admiral. Thanks so much, Wendy. Appreciate that. Love you. So I want to wrap this up before we take off and I want to give some actionable tips and items that can help either physical therapists that might hear this and appreciate the idea and want to learn more. And then also I want to come back and talk a little bit about actionable items for caregivers to take care of selves and maybe take breaks or find alternatives like that. First and foremost, your new business, your you're growing business. You're expanding businesses. Teaching others how to do group therapy and how it benefits their practice. So what are some tactical, practical tips that they can learn and add to their business and think about and consider as they go forward taking your three hour class, six hour class, what does that look like? What do they need to do next?
Teresa Moerer: [00:20:06] Okay. Yes. And we all have to get continuing education and so this could be part of that. So going into allied health education has the three hour course, and it's called group therapy, the why the what and the how to create an impactful group therapy treatment. And my course is group therapy. And there's a little bit different name to it, but it's just about, dynamic multi-system approach treatment option. So I just teach you, why you want to use group therapy and how it affects the brain and the body and then I teach you what to do and then how to put it all together. And really, if you think about it, think about a sports team, like a football team. They couldn't just watch film forever. They couldn't just go to the weight room forever. It's got to be that one-on-one, face to face interaction, maybe not even in practice, but when they get into a game, just think about the adrenaline rush when you get into a game, and when we put people together, we're not really promoting competition, but believe me, it happens. They get that there's a little bit of a competitive spirit that comes up when we put people into a therapeutic activity or a game situation and it just raises your spirit or raises your adrenaline. You get maybe a little bit competitive, you just achieve more. Even sports teams, they have to be like face to face. It's almost like face to face, body to body. You're getting all this sensory stimulation in and you react to it. And that is what is good for your brain is that reaction. That's where you build these neural networks that we need to age well and to do well. So that's what I want to promote to therapists right now. It's easy. It's out there and talk about revenue and productivity. You can see six patients at once versus one. And it's good for our productivity. As therapists, we're very pushed these days to be productive and efficient and the revenue, so that's always stressful for therapist or especially for me. For me being creative, I just wanted to create, and I thought I did a good job, that doesn't always show up on my productivity at the end of the day, but anyway, so it is good for therapists in that, it improves your productivity, your revenue, and patient outcomes, which is huge.
Russ Johns: [00:22:20] And patient outcomes is the real long-term goal, making sure that they're out there in the world and they go through rehabilitation or therapy and like myself, I can walk again, I can ride my bike again. It's a joy to be out there again. And then also, people need to get ahold of you. They can get a hold of your course through Allied. So what about the caregiver side? That's, they're parallel. However, what about some practical steps? And this is the selfish, for myself, what do I need to think about as a caregiver and taking care of myself and making sure that I have balance in my life, and I'm not dismissing my own goals in life or whatever it happens to be. What does that look like and what do I need to consider?
Teresa Moerer: [00:23:13] Okay, yeah, and I would say number one, make time for yourself. You have to step away from the caregiving goal from the caregiving and you have to just carve out some time for yourself, where you're doing some self-care, whatever you like to do. If you like to play your music or maybe go out to dinner with a group or something, but, making sure you step away and have time for yourself. And my four step process is for personal development for everybody, but it's finding your strengths. I give you ways to find your strengths, work on your weaknesses and set some goals of your own. But I think it's also fun to set goals with your parents, too. And so I give all those steps in my book and I also do coaching for individuals and businesses also that want to just be more, but I would say definitely as a caregiver, you just, you need to take the breaks. That'd be number one. And then I also give a lot of tips on how to help your parents transition or get through some transitions in life. If you have siblings, how to all get along during this process everybody has their own opinion when you're caring for mom and dad, and that can be tough. And you don't want it to rip you apart as a family, but sometimes it does, which is really sad, but I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying the caregiving and feel it's valuable. And I did that and I was able to care for my parents a little bit at the end. And it gave me gifts, I actually received so many gifts back from them and I'm so glad I didn't miss out on it.
Russ Johns: [00:24:43] Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Deneen says, hi all. Kon says, scaling your impact, one to many, he's talking about the practice of the group therapy caregivers are pulled and pushed and neglected because we forget how much we matter, too. True story. We do matter. We all matter. We all need to #makeitmatter because that's what's important. Teresa, thank you so much for being here on the #PirateBroadcast and as a pirate, you're always welcome back. And those individuals that are watching this, listening to this, reach out, connect with Theresa. Add some value. We're only one conversation away from getting what we need or what we want and make sure that you have the community in place to support your needs, your desires, your goals, and also you'll make sure that you're taking care of yourself. Do some self care, follow what we were talking about today, it's not a bad thing. It's not illegal and it's something that we need to do and we need to take care of things. So appreciate you Teresa, thank you so much for being here.
Teresa Moerer: [00:25:47] Thank you so much. It was such a pleasure to talk with you.
Russ Johns: [00:25:51] I appreciate that. If you'd like or you know that would be valuable to someone else, please share it out. All across the social media, like comment, share, leave a review, all that kind of good stuff that keeps this thing alive and well on the internet. And also know that we do this because #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and we want you to #enjoyyourday. Thanks Teresa. Thank you. Take care everyone. Bye.
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