THERAPY WITH DISABLED PATIENTS OR CHRONIC ILLNESS
I am the mother of a grown-up, disabled child and I have many years of experience working with physically and mentally disabled patients. In cases where it seems sensible, and in agreement with the patient, the patient’s partner, family or institution will be included in the therapy sessions. The sessions may take place at my own practice or, if appropriate, at the patient’s home or institution.
Therapy, in cases of disability, can be individually planned or with the presence of the patient’s relatives or caregiver.
Whether a disability has been present since birth, whether it includes long-lasting or chronic illness, whether it is of a physical or mental nature, psychotherapy will take into account the following aspects:
- All individuals maintain, regardless of their kind of disability or illness, their self-determination (the so-called equality article).
- Any disability is limiting and demands, therefore, additional effort from the afflicted, in order to reach goal attainment. It is also challenging for the disabled person’s peers, who often feel that they are needed.
- The particular challenges of a disability are often misunderstood or not understood by the disabled person’s surroundings. It is important that the disabled person’s limitations are seen and his or her coping efforts are recognised and appreciated.
- Support, in the sense of “translation work”, can be beneficial, i.e. the specific challenges of those affected are understood by others (and vice versa).
- The therapy is generally solution-oriented. I support the concerned for finding concrete methods for a solution to specific issues.
- Therefore, I involve, if desired and if appropriate, the patient’s environment.
- If the patient agrees, we will address the fundamental question of “why”, that would provide insight into the disability’s possible meaning. My approach, in such an inquiry, is existential-philosophical and, depending on the patient’s preference, may also be spiritual.