Minding the Body: Psychotherapy in Cases of Chronic and Life-Threatening Illness

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Ellyn Kaschak
Haworth Press, 2001 - Health & Fitness - 148 pages
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Support and empower women who are coping with the pain, fear, and stigma of serious disease

Being diagnosed with cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia is a traumatic event that takes place at a time when the patient is already feeling physically (and often emotionally) drained. Minding the Body combines feminist and social constructionist approaches to offer an intimate look into the ways a therapist can help clients cope with the pain, fear, and stigma of serious disease.

Minding the Body offers an alternative to the reductive view of the mind-body connection and also examines the potential for growth that such experiences often allow. The essays gathered here show how an effective therapist can help the client deal with the painful and difficult emotions that exacerbate illness, while learning the emotional and spiritual lessons illness can teach.

Minding the Body presents both theoretical views and personal accounts of illness, including:
  • scholarly discussions of the issues involved in autoimmune disorders
  • a therapist's personal experience of chronic fatigue syndrome
  • a personal and professional exposition of a woman's struggles with injury, illness, and managed care, co-written by client and therapist
  • suggestions for understanding the social construction of illness and treating disease from a social-constructivist point of view
  • narratives reflecting on the change and growth of therapists diagnosed with cancer and other serious illnesses

    By looking at illness in the context of mind, body, society, and medical establishment, Minding the Body will help therapists, doctors, nurses, counselors, and clients deal with the grief, disappointment, and frustration of chronic and life-threatening illness.

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About the author (2001)

Kaschak is Professor of Psychology and Chairperson of the Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling Program at San Jose State University in California. She has practiced psychotherapy for more than 20 years.

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