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Letter to the Editor
Grandparent Role
Psychiatric News
Volume 37 Number 23 page 56-56

I enjoyed David Milne’s article in the November 1 issue headed "Changing Your Mind May Change Your Body," which reported on Dr. Oakley S. Ray’s recent talk at the XII World Congress of Psychiatry.

Although scientific studies are hard to come by to describe this phenomenon, readers need go no further than to observe the grandparent-grandchild relationship. I have been studying this bond since 1970 and have seen this phenomenon almost universally. I explained my finding in a book I wrote in 1986, Spirit, describing this "spiritual illumination" and "physical transformation" that often lead to increased mental and physical vitality in grandparents and joy in their grandchildren. I presented these findings at two APA meetings and have written five books on the topic. The latest is The Grandparent Guide.

Regrettably, the helping professions are slow to understand the importance of these roles and to capitalize on the biopsychosocial benefits of grandparenting for adults and the biopsychosocial benefits to the child who revels in being a grandchild. I have used grandparents as family historians, clinical allies, and discharge resources in my practice. I have also witnessed some remarkable transformations in, for example, grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Interested readers may go to my Web site at www.grandparenting.org for more information.

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