Family Therapy with Families Facing Catastrophic Illness: Building Internal and External Resources

Family Therapy with Families Facing Catastrophic Illness: Building Internal and External Resources

by Ellen Pulleyblank Coffey

Dr. Coffey discusses common challenges and interventions for families coping with terminal illness.
Ten years ago my late husband Ronald William Pulleyblank, with the help of his doctor and with a small group of witnesses, had his ventilator turned off, after living on it for seven years. Those years and the ones since then have radically affected my life and my work as a psychologist. Ten years after his death, twenty-five family and friends dedicated a redwood tree in Ron's name. In this beautiful event, after so long, we were able to place his illness and death back in what Lawrence Langer calls chronological time.
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Ellen Pulleyblank CoffeyEllen Pulleyblank Coffey, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in family and community practice in Berkeley, California. She specializes in working with families facing illness. She consults for local community agencies and is a member of the Kosovar Family Professional Education Collaboration developing mental health services in Kosovo. She is part of a group of AFTNC members establishing a postgraduate program in Family and Community Practice. You may contact her at: 510-849-1608 or by email: [email protected]
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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

• Recognize assumptions and dilemmas faced by families facing catastrophic illness.
• Consider how principles of psychotherapy can be applied to working with issues of death and dying in the present.
• Understand some needs that can be addressed in therapy which are common to many families coping with these issues. 
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