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"What am I/We going to do?"            "What happens next?" 

"How do I best support or get support?" 

These are some of the most pressing questions I have often heard in working with those dealing with the news of a health condition, from heart disease to Cancer, Crohn's disease to a mental illness.  The experience is one that typically catches people off guard and leaves a certain sense of uncertainty and vulnerability for all involved. 

This work is a compilation of approaches and experience that has evolved in my time as a helping professional, first as a Health Educator, then as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor.  Many of the tools and approaches have been used in clinical sessions and even in my own family setting in dealing with a chronic illness.  approaches.

They are time tested and evidence-based frameworks, concepts, rules, and tools that have had the best results and feedback from all that have put several of these concepts into practice.  The book focuses on both the person dealing with the chronic illness as well as those in a supportive role, from a partner to a relative, a friend to a clinician.  It describes how best to engage, what you can expect, and what to say and do along with what not to say or do.




List of other books that I have found are highly useful in dealing with the stress of a chronic illness which I have often handed out or recommended to many with those I have worked with.  

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person's last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

Reality Slap.jpg

The Reality Slap: Finding Peace and Fulfillment When Life Hurts

The “reality slap” takes many different forms. Sometimes, it’s more like a punch: the death of a loved one, a serious illness, a divorce, the loss of a job, a freak accident, or a shocking betrayal. Sometimes it’s a little gentler. Envy, loneliness, resentment, failure, disappointment, and rejection can sting just as much. But whatever form your reality slap takes, one thing’s for sure—it hurts! And most of us don’t deal with the pain very well.

The Reality Slap offers a four-part path for healing from crises based on acceptance and commitment therapy. In these pages, you will learn how to:

• Find peace in the midst of your pain
• Rediscover calm in the midst of chaos
• Turn difficult emotions into wisdom and compassion
• Find fulfillment, even when you can’t get what you want
• Heal your wounds and emerge stronger than before


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© 2015 by Todd Schmenk

1 Richmond Square, 103k, Providence, RI 02906