DEA Meeting: Dr. Paul Chafetz

Dr. Paul Chafetz was introduced by Chris Clausen. Chris and Dr. Paul have been friends for a long time. Chris appreciates that Dr. Paul is dedicated to his craft, works diligently and inspires us to develop ourselves and is thoughtful and caring!
Dr. Paul trained at Brown University, the University of Florida, Duke University Medical Center and Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences. He opened his private practice of clinical psychology in Dallas in 1982 and also taught psychology at TWU and at UT Southwestern Medical Center as an associate professor for 19 years.
It is Dr. Paul’s core belief that the reason people face so many struggles and dilemmas in life, love and loss is so we can learn from living and grow from learning. Whatever adjustment life is asking us to make, we can and should “Grow Into It!”. It is his job to help adults “Grow Into It”, using psychological concepts and insights, methods and skills.
Dr. Paul’s business includes Forensic Psychology (evaluating mental capacity), mental readiness for life after work, CODOP (Children of Difficult Older Parents), as well as clinical psychology. These last two areas were his focus today.
In the Mental Health Continuum, people move in both directions along the continuum: healthy – reacting – injured – ill. Many people, who at one time are quite impaired, eventually return to total mental health. Self-care and social support are always important; professional care is helpful for even mild distress, but is essential for severe distress.
Dr. Paul and his patient are a problem-solving team. His job is to help you turn your challenges and dilemmas into building blocks of a better “you”. The first step is to improve his patients self-awareness by exploring their assumptions and beliefs and discover the roots of these beliefs. Secondly, Dr. Paul helps his patients acquire new conceptual understandings. Finally, Dr. Paul helps his patients acquire new behavioral and interpersonal skills, like how to listen, how to be assertive, courageous and empathic.
Dr. Paul discovered long ago the surprising fact that not every older adult is delightful! You probably know some really fine 30-60 year olds whose parents treat them very rudely, with cruel sarcasm, irrational and selfish demands, constant criticism, and undeserved anger. Dr. Paul’s other main focus today is these adult children of difficult older parents, or CODOP.
Through his practice and direct surveys of non-patients, Dr. Paul has discovered that three difficult issues typify life as a CODOP: 1) exhaustion from contending with the unpleasant emotions; 2) demoralization because there is no way of interacting that works to keep peace; and 3) disappointment from their history of bad experiences with mental health professionals. The four main needs CODOPS have are: 1) support from people who understand the CODOP dilemma; 2) tools for understanding their parent; 3) skills for responding constructively to their parent; and 4) safeguards against becoming a difficult parent to their own children.
Dr. Paul’s goals are that the CODOP learn how to 1) protect their heart; 2) effectively love their hard to love older relatives; and 3) create a healthy legacy for their children. Dr. Paul teaches CODOPs three sets of ten strategies to: empower their mind, comfort their heart and skills to guide their actions.
Meaning in Dr. Paul’s life comes from helping his patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude!
Leads he would welcome are: anyone age 25 or older with emotional distress or facing a dilemma in living. This could be you, an employee, colleague, friend, or relative. He would also welcome an introduction to your clergy, doctor, or attorney, and any speaking venue. Lastly, write Dr. Paul a review!


Leave a Reply