Counseling those with chronic conditions


My friends and colleagues here at Biblical Seminary–Jenn Zuck and Bonnie Steich–are teaching a class this weekend about the role of counseling in helping those with chronic conditions. Need CEUs anyone? Info here.

This is such an important issue given our increase in capacity to manage or maintain life with chronic conditions. Some cancers now are more like chronic conditions. HIV can be a chronic condition. And of course there are the more well-known problems such as MS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, diabetes, liver dysfunction, etc.

How do you respond to those who seem to be struggling with a long-term condition? Especially when the condition is vague and not visible to the eye? Do you get worn out comforting that person?

I just read a study where they assessed whether major life events or daily hassles were more negatively impacting chronic pain conditions. It turns out that daily hassles increase chronic conditions symptoms far more than do major life stressors. It makes sense but also challenges us to consider how we might overlook the “normal” life of counselees and secretly want them to stop their whining and complaining about how hard it is to …

1 Comment

Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling, counseling science, counseling skills, suffering, teaching counseling

One response to “Counseling those with chronic conditions

  1. The road for those with chronic illness is endless, arduous, and lonely. “Supporters” drop by the wayside rather quickly. Sadly, there is no quick fix and no pat answers.

    Most chronic illness sufferers simply want someone to continue the journey with them. To listen well. To be present. To help them wrestle with the spiritual implications of their illness.

    My role as a pastoral counselor is to continue to walk alongside, faithfully, step by step. That I can do. Keeping a healthy life balance for myself, has become essential because I have family members that struggle with chronic illness, too.

    Spiritual disciplines, blogging, a few hobbies, and enjoying my family and friends keep me on focus!

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