ERIC Number: ED328859
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug-12
The Creative Use of Psychotherapy with Terminally Ill AIDS Patients.
Fraenkel, William A.
One clinical psychologist who worked with terminally ill, end-stage Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients in a hospice type setting experienced more than 150 deaths over an 18-month time period. Many of the patients denied that they had AIDS; some distinguished between having AIDS and testing positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV+). For many of the patients, having AIDS was emotionally shattering, personally devastating, and overwhelmingly terrifying. This paper describes the experience of working with a clientele of AIDS patients. Case examples and quotes from a variety of these patients illustrate the feelings experienced by persons with AIDS and, in some cases, reveal the psychological mechanisms used by AIDS patients to deal with their own mortality and the death of other patients. Freudian, fundamentalist, and sociological interpretations of AIDS are discussed briefly. It is concluded that in certain ways, humans contribute to their dysfunctional immunological systems: by taking an active role and responsibility in their treatment, changing their thoughts about death and dying, maintaining a positive attitude, using meaningful spiritual values, confronting boredom, and finding more meaning for existence, some AIDS patients may be able to extend their lives and arrest their conditions. Psychological interventions are discussed as important for those diagnosed as HIV+ and for those with AIDS as well as for persons who care for them. (NB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990). For a related document, see CG 023 168.