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Chronic Illness and Cancer Care

Does Your Life Feel Like It’s Been Turned Upside Down?

Are you or someone you care about struggling to cope with a chronic health condition or cancer?


Have you been struggling to deal with the shock, grief, and emotional overwhelm of receiving this life-changing diagnosis?


Do you feel isolated from others who may not understand the challenges you face with undergoing treatment and/or living with this illness?

Perhaps you’ve experienced medical trauma related to your care or diagnosis, often feeling dehumanized or traumatized after interacting with certain medical staff. If you are a caretaker, you probably feel burnt out by the constant demands of caregiving. Or maybe it has become increasingly difficult for you to prioritize your mental health and self-care.

Your deepest desire is to be healthy or to make your loved one healthy again. Though I can’t undo what already is, I want to help you understand that it is possible to live a meaningful life that brings you joy without discrediting the pain and difficulty that you are living with.

Chronic Illness Goes Far Beyond Physical Discomfort

You may be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions like sadness, grief, anger, frustration, and a profound sense of isolation. The smallest of things can trigger intense emotional responses. Physically, the burden extends beyond managing your own symptoms. Caretaking responsibilities can take a toll leading to profound fatigue and a constant need for rest and rejuvenation.

Socially, you may feel adrift, finding it challenging to connect with others who may not fully understand your problems. This sense of isolation may lead to withdrawal from relationships, exacerbating feelings of abandonment and creating a strain on the relationship when support is needed most.

Having a chronic illness or caring for someone who does is a significant life shift and is not easy to come to terms with. Learning to adapt to this strange reality is emotionally taxing. Counseling can provide support as you adjust to coping with new challenges.

Facing Obstacles In Life Is Normal— But They Do Not Have To Prevent You From Experiencing Joy


Chronic illnesses, including cancer, are more common than you may realize. Cancer diagnoses, in particular, are widespread, with a significant portion of the population either experiencing it firsthand or having a loved one affected.

The nature of cancer can vary widely, influenced by factors such as age and the type of cancer. Additionally, genetic predispositions, such as the BRCA gene, mean that some people have to live with the possibility that cancer will emerge at any time. Moreover, chronic illnesses extend beyond cancer, affecting people throughout their lives or developing later in life, a trend that is becoming more prevalent as people live longer.

Though chronic illnesses are common, it's vital to recognize that life can still be fulfilling. While these conditions may present challenges, they don't define one's entire existence. It can be difficult to do this without help, which is why seeking out a therapist who is experienced in working with chronic illness is one of the best decisions you can make for yourself, your health, and your peace of mind.

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Societal Expectations Can Have A Detrimental Impact On People Who Struggle With Chronic Illnesses

Modern society is laser-focused on efficiency, ability, productivity, and capability. This doesn’t work anymore if you are diagnosed with a chronic illness or cancer. One of the challenges is learning to adjust to this new reality.

Being perceived as sick over an extended period may result in feeling invisible or disregarded. When someone has a chronic illness or cancer diagnosis, this can profoundly impact your self-perception and may lead you to believe that you aren’t capable. You may internalize a sense of inadequacy or inferiority compared to others.

Regardless of the chronic illness or whether you were diagnosed or are the caretaker for someone who suffers from it, counseling can help you process and accept the changes you are experiencing.

A Chronic Illness Therapist Can Help Get Your Life Back On Track


Therapy gives you a safe space to explore your new reality, as either a person with a chronic illness or a caretaker. Sessions allow for validating, open, and honest conversations where you can feel free to express your emotions—especially the ones that others may consider socially unacceptable.


As a chronic illness therapist, I encourage my clients to explore the ways that their lives have changed. This involves making space for the grief and anger that may emerge, processing those emotions, and identifying the ways that those feelings need to be honored and acknowledged.

A Tailored Approach To Chronic Illness Therapy


During chronic illness therapy sessions, I will guide you through a holistic approach to help support your journey toward healing and a better quality of life.

Meditation and mindfulness skills serve as foundational tools, fostering self-awareness and inner peace amidst daunting health challenges like cancer. Through therapy, you will explore what brings meaning to your life and align your actions with your values and aspirations.

You will explore how to navigate the complexities of living with a chronic illness like cancer and acknowledge the trauma it may entail through trauma-informed care.

With relational cultural theory, you will learn the importance of connection. Chronic illness can be an isolating experience. However, you can explore in great depth and detail your connection to your experiences, your environment, and to others in this healing space we have created. By identifying what is most important to you, you can engage in creating a meaningful and fulfilling life.

You May Be Considering Chronic Illness Therapy But Have More Questions…

This is my life now, how is counseling really going to change anything?

All of us need support when we go through hard things. And while counseling cannot change your diagnosis or your loved one's diagnosis—it can change how you approach the situation. Mental health support for cancer patients or people with any other chronic illness is important. Supportive talk therapy can help you clarify your goals, consider what you want in your life, and offer accountability as you work on making changes to your life.

My emotions are everywhere, and I just want to stop feeling out of control.

It's very normal to have overwhelming emotions in the face of a difficult health diagnosis. You might not have previously been someone who cried openly in front of others or felt out of control. Counseling can help you to get some space to express your feelings and figure out what's happening for you emotionally. It's common to feel like your emotions are on a rollercoaster while you are processing this new information. Support from a therapist who specializes in chronic illness therapy can help you make sense of all your emotions and feel validated as you process them.

What if I never get better? How am I going to live like this?

That's an important fear to explore. Fear and uncertainty are normal in this situation. In chronic illness counseling, we will talk about what it means to create a meaningful life in the midst of challenges. You may not be able to control the outcome of your health but you can engage in emotional and cognitive skill-building that will help you respond with flexibility and resilience.

You Can Have A Purposeful Life With A Chronic Illness


Being diagnosed with cancer or any other chronic illness is one of the hardest pills to swallow. Whether you are enduring a chronic illness yourself or seeing someone go through this difficult time as a caretaker, this period can feel overbearing and frustrating for everyone involved. Having a therapist who specializes in chronic illness therapy can make this uncertain time more manageable. You can experience the life you’ve always wanted amid the challenges of chronic illness.

Call (708) 381-0634  or use the contact form to reach out for a free 15-20 minute consultation or to schedule an appointment to see how my approach as a chronic illness therapist can help you cope with your diagnosis.

Kara E. Wolff, PhD
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