ERIC Number: ED328860
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug-12
The Creative Use of Psychotherapy with Terminally Ill with AIDS.
Fraenkel, William A.
One clinical psychologist worked with terminally ill, end-stage Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients in a hospice type setting for an 18-month time period. Interventions included individual psychotherapy, mental status assessments, staff group sessions, and supportive services for families and significant others. During that time, 285 patients were seen, of whom 175 have since died. The suffering of AIDS patients can be compared to that of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and the need for the therapist to deal with such widespread suffering can be compared to dealing with combat during that war. In beginning to work with AIDS patients, the psychologist had to deal with his own homophobia and prejudices, to be himself at all times and not appear too intimidating or threatening to new patients. In order to structure therapy sessions around the needs and wants of the clients, any traditional psychological approaches and techniques had to be abandoned in favor of an effort to catch the patients at those precise times when they were willing to be seen. In spite of what the therapist learned about working with AIDS patients through experience, there remain many unanswered questions and much unfinished work. (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 023 167.