What can I expect from illness counseling?
While it may not be the answer you’re hoping for–it depends! I provide both long and short term counseling, depending on what your needs and goals are for our work together. In the case of receiving a new diagnosis, we may work together for a brief but relatively intense period, helping to process how a new diagnosis will affect the various areas of your life, refining what’s most important to you, and developing a few go-to strategies to help you when you’re having an especially hard day.
If you’re seeking support for a chronic or life-limiting illness that you’ve been surviving for a long time, your goals may be different. You may feel that counseling can be most beneficial by having a steady, safe, and comfortable space to support you for the long haul. And, while we may not be able to “fix” your health concerns, we can work together to develop strategies to manage your health struggles and help you live your best life, each and every day.
Can you describe your style as a therapist?
I firmly believe that the therapeutic relationship should be nonjudgemental, open, and collaborative. I strive for my clients to feel empowered and supported, weaving in my knowledge and experience with a relaxed and warm approach. For illness therapy, it’s especially important for our work to take into account the environment in which you live, your support system, and the resources you have access to. My social work education and career in healthcare help me to help you best; This approach helps us to put all the pieces together and build on coping strategies that will actually be able to adapt with you through life.
What types of therapeutic approaches do you use?
I most often draw from the following therapeutic approaches: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-based techniques, Narrative Therapy and Nature Therapy.
What’s the difference between advance care planning counseling with Map Your Care versus with my doctor?
I approach advance care planning conversations from a values focus–What is most important to you and how can we keep this in mind above all else? Often, doctors wait to start conversations about your health and keep the focus on treatment options and managing your health issues. Despite their best intentions, doctors generally don’t have time for in-depth conversations about your wishes, fears, and the range of care options–both while you’re healthy and as your health declines. Together we can build on conversations you’ve had with your doctor, work through the larger conversations about your goals and values, and map them out in the context of your specific health needs.
I’ve already completed my advanced directives with my attorney. What’s the benefit of advance care planning counseling with you?
Completing your advanced directives is only one piece of the puzzle! I’ve supported many people over the years who completed their paperwork at some point, but never had a conversation with their loved ones about their choices. Most people, when completing their directives with an attorney, select a middle-of-the-road option regarding treatment, but have little understanding about what that care would actually look like. Together, we can explore what you’ve already selected, make changes as needed, and get a plan in place for the piece that matters most–the conversation.
I’ve tried to talk to my dad about his wishes and his health, but he says it’s too “grim”. I just want to make sure I honor what he wants. How can I get him to talk to me about it?
A lot of people shy away from these conversations. Many people have been told not to talk about illness and dying, that they’re too private or too serious. For some, there are cultural or generational factors that make these topics seem even more taboo. Remembering this is normal and keeping the societal pressures in mind is a good first step, but sometimes it takes a few times of mentioning it before someone is ready. Whether you’re looking for more tips to talk to your family member on your own, or want to invite them to a counseling session, I can help you navigate the sometimes sticky conversation.