My name is Dr Joanna Griffin and I am a parent carer, Counselling Psychologist, and an Assistant Professor in CEDAR, University of Warwick.
I have worked in many different clinical settings, including the NHS and several charities, over the last 20 years. Following the birth of my eldest son, who has cerebral palsy and a learning disability, I started to focus more on the emotional wellbeing of parent carers. Often the focus of parents, where there is a child with a disability, is all on the child and their own needs become neglected. This can have a detrimental effect on the individual and the whole family.
In my doctoral research I explored how parents look after their own wellbeing, despite the many challenges they experience. This led to the publication of my book ‘Day by Day: Emotional Wellbeing in Parents of Disabled Children’ to offer advice and support to parent carers based on my professional and personal experience.
I also created the website www.affinityhub.uk to signpost to emotional support for parent carers and offer wellbeing advice and tips for parent carers.
I have worked part-time at CEDAR since January 2021 on a new project called Positive Family Connections. It is co-produced with family carers, which means that researchers and family carers work together to create a programme that not only has theories and research to support its key themes, but is also couched in real-life, lived experience. Family carers bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise that enriches the programme and ensures it is focused on meaningful outcomes for families. To take part please see further details here.
On a personal note, life can be pretty busy with 3 sons, 2 dogs and several different work roles. Things that help me keep some balance in my life include being out in nature, jogging and reading.