The Shared Experience of Illness: Stories of Patients, Families, and Their Therapists

Synopsis

In the narrative of every human life and family, illness is a prominent character. Even if we have avoided serious illness ourselves, we cannot escape its reach into our circle of family and friends. Illness brings us closer to one another through caregiving and separates us through disability and death, yet little attention has been paid to personal and family illness in psychotherapy. Rather, therapists tend to focus on the psychosocial realm, leaving the biological realm to other physicians and nurses. This groundbreaking volume shows the powerful benefits that can emerge when therapists acknowledge illness as a vital part of everyone's psychology. Susan H. McDaniel, Jeri Hepworth, and William J. Doherty invited therapists who work with individuals and families experiencing chronic illness and disability to describe clinical cases that illustrate their approach to medical family therapy. Contributors then were asked to share a personal story about their experiences with illness, and to explain how those experiences affect the way they work with their clients. Vivid case studies dealing with a range of illnesses, including cancer infertility, schizophrenia, AIDS, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and multiple sclerosis, show how the therapists' own experiences of illness are relevant to their care of others- and how these experiences can be used to form a healing bond in therapy. As we head toward a new century, therapists play a central role in the delivery of comprehensive healthcare. We now know that psychology and social factors have a direct effect on the development and exacerbation of illness and disease, and that involvement of the family with the healthcare team is vital. Poignant, honest, and illuminating, The Shared Experience of Illness allows us to understand more fully the relationship between the personal and the professional. This invaluable work provides inspiration and insight for anyone working at the cuttifng edge of our healthcare system.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Susan H. McDaniel
  • Jeri Hepworth
  • William J. Doherty
  • Judith Landau
  • Jo Ellen Patterson
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1997