Dr. Marissa Holst: Maintaining Healthy Relationships With Extended Family Members | All Together #17

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Dr. Marissa Holst, an assistant professor of Psychology and Human Services at the University of Minnesota-Morris

This episode goes beyond nuclear families, shedding more light on how extended family plays a significant role in shaping a people’s identity, values, and beliefs, providing support and a sense of belonging. Join Dina Sargeant and Dr. Marissa Holst as they navigate these relationships’ challenges and explore the family’s differing perspectives, experiences, and values.

Meet Dr. Marissa Holst

Dr. Marissa Holst is an assistant professor of Psychology and Human Services at the University of Minnesota-Morris and an expert in family relationships and well-being. She received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and an M.S./Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University.

At UM-Morris, she teaches courses on human development and family studies. Her research focuses primarily on family relationships and well-being. She enjoys reading, watercolor painting, being outdoors, and spending time with her family in her spare time.

About the episode

In this episode of All Together, Dr. Marissa Holst defines family as a group of people who are related by biological, legal, or emotional connections. She asserts that extended family relationships are a fertile ground for education, passing down cultural knowledge, and navigating challenges in relationships with immediate family members. 

During the episode, Dr. Marissa explains the concept of “sandwich generation.” She emphasizes how this dual caregiving role can lead to stress, financial burdens, and interpersonal conflicts. Dr. Marissa points out that the reliance on the sandwich generation is sometimes affected by cultural shifts away from family members being responsible for care.

Dr. Marissa necessitates being aware that conflict is a natural part of human relationships, and finding ways to communicate openly can foster healthier connections with people. She believes that validating other people’s emotions and understanding that relationships may not be perfect all the time fosters growth and deeper connection. 

Towards the end of the episode, Dr. Marissa proposes several helpful practices to improve familial interactions. Not only do these practices have a positive impact on family life, but they also foster a deeper understanding of yourself and others.

In conclusion

This episode tackles how healthy relationships with extended family members require personal growth and mindful communication. By actively following a healthy approach towards extended family relationships, people can enrich family dynamics and foster a happier family experience for generations to come.

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