Bearing Witness & Caregiving
When someone important to you is sick, your life can change. For some, bearing witness to illness brings long-standing, difficult relationship patterns to the forefront, and for others, the logistical and emotional demands of caregiving can overwhelm, isolate and exhaust. For many, the vulnerability felt in considering one’s own mortality can leave us grappling with how to make sense of our lives now.
Living with Serious Illness
Living with chronic, life-threatening or terminal illnesses presents unique challenges.
There are issues common to living with a serious illness: changes in roles and abilities, struggles with hope, fears about the future, communication with family, friends and medical providers, chronic pain and fatigue, and complex healthcare systems to navigate in decision-making. As a board-certified palliative social worker, I have specific expertise in helping people adapt to and navigate the emotional, familial and logistical demands of serious illness.
After a Death or Loss
There is nothing quite like losing someone important to you, whether due to illness, accident or other causes. Many people have heard of the five stages of grief, but in the moment, find themselves unsure of how to cope. When the relationship was particularly complex, bereavement becomes complex, too, and therapy can be particularly helpful. While everyone experiences losses, your experience is unique to what you’ve been through, to who you are and to what matters to you. Processing your experience with a trained clinician can help you heal, integrate the loss and figure out what comes next.
Working with those who are ill and with their families can be both immensely rewarding and an ongoing challenge to stay emotionally invested. Burnout, compassion fatigue and demoralization can make people check out or leave the field. Many professionals find that with the right support, they can find sustainable, gratifying connection to their work.