Self-care is always important. At times of personal crisis or excessive stress, when ability to function well may be severely compromised, it is even more important. ere are, as we all know, bountiful examples of either personal crisis or excessive stress (e.g., the serious injury of one’s child, a sudden loss of family income, a major geographic move, the death of one’s parent, the emergence of a chronic disease for oneself, the loss of one’s intimate partner, destruction of one’s property because of the force of nature). Following are two examples of a serious family illness that have had an impact on the practitioner. First, Schorr (1997) discusses how the personal crisis aected his ability to listen to his counseling clients:

In my sessions with clients, there would be frequent reminders of our black cloud [my wife’s diagnosis of leukemia]. One man complained about a woman he knew-she was weird but that was because she had cancer. Another client had a son who killed himself after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Another came in numb with grief over the recent cancer death of a housemate. When clients would tell stories in which the mention of disease was a minor note, I had to restrain myself from asking questions merely to satisfy my own insecurity. Or to let my mind drift o into worrisome tangents. (p. 57)

Pollack (1988) describes her own experience as a person in the caring professions who experienced extreme stress*:

e timing was right when I entered graduate school. e youngest of my three children had reached age 10, my husband’s career was stable, and I was 37 and ready for a new challenge. I was going to explore my long-time goal of working with adults, with an emphasis on older adults. Two years later, during my spring break, I found myself facing the severest challenge of my life. At rst we thought it was the altitude of the Colorado ski resort that was making my husband … ill. When the doctor said it was colon cancer we were totally shocked. …

Immediate surgery provided temporary relief. Although we were far away from family and friends, the hospital had become like a cocoon, with its kind and caring sta. I felt a sense of terror when we left. Back at home in Maryland, I felt nearly unbearable anxiety while waiting for the results of further surgery. I will never forget my feeling of devastation when the surgeon told us the cancer had metastasized and the prognosis was poor.