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  • Writer's pictureEleni Paris


“I think about traveling, but I know it’s impossible.”

“I’d like to focus on my marriage, but it will always take a back seat.”

“I wish I could fulfill my professional aspirations, but I must face reality.”

Does this sound familiar to you? Are you a caregiver of a special needs child or a disabled adult child who grapples with the desire to dream but feels trapped? Perhaps you know someone or work with a colleague who shares similar sentiments.

I know it all too well…both as a caregiver and a therapist. I have felt all of the above, said all of the above, and believed all the above…and I help clients who feel, say, and believe all of the above.


So now what? Isn’t it true that I cannot travel like others? Isn’t it true that I must prioritize the care of my child before tending to my marriage, as she is incapable of caring for herself? Shouldn’t my family’s needs come before considering pursuing my career goals?

Well, yes . . . and no.

I may not be able to travel precisely like others, AND I can still find other creative, doable ways to travel. Believe me, I do, and I will.

I may have to step in and care for my daughter in ways that may impede on times I’d love to spend with my husband, AND we can find different ways to create that space for us.

My family and her needs will always be front and center for me, AND I am living my career dream.


If you’re a caregiver and experience dreaming and longing for life experiences that have felt impossible, and you want to arrive at these destinations (literally and metaphorically), I have a few steps toward gaining that much-needed inspiration and achieving this well-deserved growth for you and your relationships.

1. Create a vision board.

And not just a mental one. We’re always doing that, and it all gets jumbled with the million other layers of thoughts in our caregivers’ minds.

Take the dreams and experiences you long for by sifting through magazines, books, online graphics, whatever you can see, feel/touch, and then cut them out. Maybe you’ll find words, art, and paintings. Anything and all of it.

Paste them onto any size poster board and be creative with each placement. There is no right or wrong to this. This is your artwork that displays what is on your mind and heart. You may start it and add to it over time.

And don’t overthink it. Enjoy the process….immerse yourself in this journey.

2. Observe and learn.

After it’s completed, allow yourself to notice themes, or perhaps you can process this with a friend, partner, therapist/coach. What stands out to you and surprises you?

When I created my own, I noticed that I had quite a few travel scenes. I have one that is a life dream that will take extra effort to obtain, and other pictures that depict more reachable travel in the near future.

I also noticed that the only picture I cut out of people was a couple. But I did add the word “family” in there. I added my logo as my future entails the love and growth of my business.

3. Take baby steps.

Here is where it gets challenging, and it may feel murky and confusing because you will have to begin finding ways to implement one step from your vision board so you can eventually ARRIVE!

This is not a vision board to keep up for inspiration and never attain. You must find ways to arrive at these destinations, as you need true inspiration that will lead to well-deserved growth and fulfillment.

You will have to think outside the box and consider possible help to take that nearby road trip.

You may tend to your marriage by creating more time together or seeking help if needed.

You may begin thinking of that tiny first step toward reentering the career you put on hold or entering a new professional goal.


As a therapist, giving caregivers ample space to share their longings and dreams is critical. As we have this time to process all the challenges, it’s imperative to acknowledge so much of the grief and resentment that can naturally sit alongside these desires.

Our work together becomes triple-fold, as my work combines your personal and unique life narrative, expanding upon your emotional vocabulary and expression to help in the healing process, which is often bottled up or set aside, and then rolling up our sleeves to find the most feasible solutions.

This does not necessarily happen in any order, per se, as these pieces weave themselves in and out throughout the therapy journey.

Perhaps you are not seeking therapy to heal but prefer clear-cut solutions and want to work on your caregiving life project via the coaching realm. I get that, and I have caregivers wishing to work with me in that capacity, as I have designed a specific program for this.

Whatever direction you find most fitting for this endeavor, I invite you to consider your own caregiver’s vision board and allow yourself to expand upon this growth by working with a professional.

If you’d like to learn more about my work as a marriage and family therapist and life/wellness coach, please reach out for a free 20-minute consultation, which you can book directly on my website:

(This is not my vision board, but it depicts the idea of creatively displaying meaningful pictures, words, art, etc.).

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