Treatment for the chronically ill has traditionally focused on physical factors and symptoms, despite the fact that chronic illness also affects life in an emotional and spiritual way. The approach toward treatment described in this volume addresses all aspects of a patient's life, including their interpersonal experiences and relationships, presenting family therapists and family physicians as part of the same treatment team. This volume thus provides a foundation for understanding the role illness plays in family systems.
The meaning an individual gives to an illness is profoundly influenced by and influences that person's social world. In turn, social culture and social networks both shape and are shaped by the individual's experiences. Exploring how the meaning of chronic illness is defined tells us much about the individual's interpersonal relations and the resultant meaning given to the person's illness. As a consequence, family therapy must be an integral part of the treatment plan for chronically ill patients .
Family Therapy and Chronic Illness approaches chronic illness from a leading-edge perspective. This approach enables therapists to listen attentively to complicated narratives. Because these stories, feelings, and emotions are difficult to describe, the clients have demanding "telling" tasks while therapists have demanding "listening" tasks. This book sends an important message not just about the chronically ill, but also about their families, therapists, and doctors, and how they can work together to develop the best treatment plan possible.