ERIC Number: ED325781
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Understanding the Emotional Impact of a Serious Illness.
Groves, Nancy J.
Being diagnosed with a serious illness is a major crisis to face for both the individual with the illness and the loved ones involved. To better prepare patients and their families in the adjustment to the impact of illness, it is essential to teach them the various emotional responses commonly experienced and effective coping skills. Helping professionals need to be aware of the grief reactions experienced when a life-threatening diagnosis is made. Helping the patient and the family to identify the emotions and the fears involved reduces anxiety and feelings of helplessness. Processing feelings of shock, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt and shame and learning ways to adjust to the myriad of changes that are imposed with an illness can enable patients and their families to deal more effectively with this crisis. More importantly, this process helps the patient to adapt and to move toward the establishment of a new identity and awareness that involves more than just physical attributes and abilities. When involved with families who are confronted with a serious illness, it is important that helping professionals respect whatever emotional reaction is being expressed. The role of the helping professional is to offer compassion, understanding, and an opportunity for companionship to the family that struggles with this crisis. (Author/ABL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Association of Suicidology (4th, Southfield, MI, October 25-26, 1990). To help families and patients along the lines described in this paper, a short book of poetic prose, "Living with Illness," has been used effectively. It is available directly from: Nancy Groves, 4469 Brandywine, Troy, MI 48098 ($5.95).