Therapy for Terminal Illness2022-11-03T13:46:18-05:00

Terminal Illness

flock of birds

Life with terminal illness. People who have a terminal diagnosis have the burden of facing their own mortality. They are working through their emotions as well as the emotions and fears of their loved ones. Many terminal patients feel marginalized. For example, our society has made a cancer diagnosis equal to fighting a battle. Something to be “fought”. At the last cancer treatment, many cancer treatment centers have patients ring a bell for victory in the oncology office signifying the treatment is complete and they have “beat cancer”. What about the terminal patients who must live with their disease knowing that they are out of options. Some terminal patients also report that they feel pressured to continue with treatment even when they no longer want to as they do not want to let their loved ones down. As a society, we tend to avoid conversations about terminal prognoses, and this creates unrealistic expectations of “fighting death”.

a roller coaster of

Emotions

There are many emotions that come with a terminal diagnosis. Some people feel numb, others feel sad and can not stop crying. While anger is a common emotion for some, others may go silent and want to be left alone. People find that their emotions change quickly, and this can feel overwhelming. These emotions are felt both by the patient and their loved ones.

Family dynamics often change as family roles are recreated. End of life care is 24/7 and many families report that their life feels out of balance.

a roller coaster of

Emotions

There are many emotions that come with a terminal diagnosis. Some people feel numb, others feel sad and can not stop crying. While anger is a common emotion for some, others may go silent and want to be left alone. People find that their emotions change quickly, and this can feel overwhelming. These emotions are felt both by the patient and their loved ones.

Family dynamics often change as family roles are recreated. End of life care is 24/7 and many families report that their life feels out of balance.

Types of Therapy

  • Acceptance and Commitment (ACT)

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • Compassion Focused

  • Culturally Sensative

  • EMDR

  • Eclectic

  • Mindfulness-Based (MBCT)

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Person-Centered

  • Positive Psychology

  • Solution Focused Brief (SFBT)

  • Strength-Based

  • Trauma Focused

find the ability to

Cope and Heal

Cope and Heal

It is important for people to share their frustrations, sadness, and fear with others. This allows for a better ability to cope and heal. Therapy for coping with a terminal diagnosis is beneficial. It is common for people to report relief from being able to talk to a neutral person outside of their family. Family members may feel “survivor’s guilt” and processing this emotion is often easier with a therapist. A terminal patient may also benefit from talking to a therapist as there may be fear and death anxiety that they want to talk through but feel uncomfortable discussing with loved ones. A therapist can also facilitate family sessions if there are any unresolved issues that are to be processed.

find your way.

Therapy Can Help

Therapy Can Help

Therapy for terminal illness is helpful. The dying and their loved ones should be given psychosocial support. This creates less stress and anxiety for everyone. When we deny terminal patients the opportunity to openly discuss death, we are marginalizing them. This is not healthy for them, or the people close to them. I am passionate about working with terminal patients and their families. I have experience in hospice social work, and I am a trained INELDA End of Life Doula. Processing a terminal diagnosis is complicated by cultural discomfort and life experiences. I can offer personalized solutions to help guide you through the roller coaster of emotions with terminal illness.

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