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Facing a Terminal Illness? Information About How a Therapist Can Help

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If you've recently been diagnosed with a serious illness and gently prodded to "get your affairs in order," you may be wondering where to begin. Wrapping up the loose ends of one's life can be challenging under the best of circumstances, and when you're facing a ticking clock (and often dealing with fading health in the process), you may feel as though you'll never have enough time to do all the things you need to do and say all the goodbyes that must be said.

Often, spending some of your time in a one-on-one therapy session can help you organize your thoughts and decide on your next steps. Read on to learn more about some of the ways therapy can help you and your partner cope with what the future may bring. 

What Benefits Can You Gleam from Therapy?

Seeking therapy can not only help you make your peace with what is to happen, but give you ways to relate (and break the news) to your family members and loved ones. 

One way therapy can help is by providing you with a concrete direction. You may find yourself at loose ends, unable to concentrate on a single project or task long enough to get anything accomplished. By working with a therapist, you'll be able to identify some of the goals you'd like to achieve and set specific ways you can meet these goals, giving you a sense of purpose even when things seem to be falling apart.

Another way in which you may find therapy useful is in helping you break the news to others. After your diagnosis, you may find yourself withdrawing from social obligations, not wanting to disclose your status outside a need-to-know basis and dreading the questions you know you'll be met with upon revealing your status.

By coming up with ways to break the news to those you care about without automatically reacting to the flurry of questions and well-meaning comments that are sure to come your way, you'll be more confident and better able to navigate the social situations you'll face over the coming months.

Where Should You Begin? 

Getting started can be as easy as asking your oncologist or other specialist for a recommendation. Many doctors have watched their patients come to closure by working with a specific therapist or group, while others have an idea of which therapists may be best avoided. 

If your doctor doesn't have a recommendation off the top of his or her head, you may also want to check with your insurance company to see whether any of its providers focus on therapy targeted toward terminal or seriously ill patients. Not only will this ensure that the therapist you select is in your insurance network, it can provide you with the type of specialized therapy you need, helping you avoid sifting through dozens of names of therapists who don't generally deal with people in your situation.

To learn more about counseling, contact resources like Sharon O'Connell, MA.