Doctor’s Bag of Coping Skills
The purpose of this activity is to assist clients in developing numerous coping skills that can be used when they are faced with challenges associated with their illness or disability or that of a family member. The activity can also be used with families to demonstrate their capability to cope appropriately with challenges posed by illness or disability. This activity can be used in conjunction with treatments prescribed by medical professionals. Rationale for Use
Illness, loss, or disability can be stressful for patients and their family members because of the sometimes complex and/or unpredictable changes and challenges they can pose. Realigning family roles and understanding the loss of functioning due to the illness, loss, or disability can be stressful because of the adaptation it requires (Rolland, 1994). Any event (such as a medical diagnosis) can be perceived as stressful by a family because of the variable amount of change it can require in the family’s system. Any change to a family’s sense of equilibrium can result in an increased level of stress (McKenry & Price, 2000). The sense of a loss of control over one’s health or the health of a loved one can be very stressful and result in unhealthy coping mechanisms. Parents can feel stressed when their child is diagnosed with an illness or disability because they want to “fix it” or protect their child and they may be unable to do so due to the nature of the diagnosis. Siblings can feel stressed because they feel ignored by their parents or other family members when the attention is on the ill or disabled family member.