Working with People with Chronic Illnesses or Disabilities
One Day Workshop
Facilitator: Julia Segal
This is a workshop which I have offered successfully to many different groups of professionals: counsellors, medical students, social workers, nurses, physiotherapists, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteers, befrienders. It can be extended or contracted, from one hour to one day and modified to suit particpants.
In order to understand clients who have an illness or disability, professionals (and others) draw upon their own ideas of illness and disability, derived partly from their own experience and also from various other sources. ‘Putting oneself in another’s shoes’ is adequate for many situations, but illnesses and disabilities affect people differently, and people differ profoundly in their attitudes, feelings, beliefs and reactions to disability.
Since these are not a common social subject of conversation among people below retirement age, professionals may have had few opportunities to develop and examine either their own or other’s attitudes.
The workshop provides an opportunity for participants to explore some of the many and varied meanings attributed by others to illness and disability, to discover some of their own assumptions and reactions and to appreciate different points of view put forward by others in the workshop.
The workshop begins by drawing out participants’ own attitudes to illness and disability before moving on to consider issues arising from working as a professional with this client group.
The session is run as an educational experience, not a form of therapy.
At the end of the session participants will:
- have considered some of their own assumptions, attitudes and beliefs about some illnesses and disabilities
- have an appreciation of the sources of their own and others’ ideas about illness and disability, and the effect of these sources on their own thinking
- have an appreciation of the wide variability in attitudes, beliefs and assumptions about illness and disability, and the difficulty in knowing how any other person will feel about their own situation
- have an appreciation of the influence of time and the grieving process on feelings about illness and disability
- have considered some of the conflicts which arise for client and professional when either has an illness or disability
Julia Segal elicits thoughts and ideas from the group and works with these in the session. Examples from practice will be used to illustrate issues which arise.
Short talks on specific subjects relevant to participants can be included, if requested.
10.0 Introduction; Understanding Illness and Disability.
10.15 What if you had/have a chronic illness or disability?
- How do you think you would feel?
- What would frighten you/make you anxious?
- What would make a difference to you?
- What would you hate most?
11.30 What if a relative of yours had chronic illness or disability?
- How would you feel?
- What would you want to do?
- What would you actually do?
- Which relative? What difference would it make?
1.45 Discussion: Working as a professional with someone who has a chronic illness or disability
Members of the group are invited to:
- share their anxieties about working with people with disabilities/chronic illness
- bring their own case material
- share their experiences as a professional working with someone who lives with an illness or disability
3.50 close; feedback