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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Why Seek Counseling or Therapy?

There is no cookbook approach to working with a chronically ill child and his/her family. The counselor will work in partnership with you, your child, and family members to respond to your needs. All counseling services are confidential and can be discussed with others only with your consent or in situations required by law. You and the counselor should map out the focus for the counseling at the first session.

Counselors and psychotherapists can help families

  • Assess the strengths and needs of individual family members and your family as a whole in meeting the challenges of the chronic health condition.
  • Treat emotional, behavioral, or social difficulties.
  • Develop coping skills, which are how people think, behave, and feel when reacting to stress. A counselor can work with you and other family members to develop healthy coping strategies in response to a given problem.
  • Deal with pain your child may experience during medical procedures or during the course of the health condition. Many techniques are available to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and decrease pain awareness.
  • Assess and treat academic difficulties.
  • Consult with the child’s medical team and promote communication with medical staff.
  • Consult with your child’s school. A counselor can help with educational planning and issues that arise as a result of the child’s chronic health condition, and work together with school staff to support your child.
  • Promote positive family interaction to ensure healthy relationships and reinforce family strengths.
  • Enhance communication skills. The counselor can help family members talk to one another, to friends, and to employers about chronic health conditions.
  • Facilitate social support and skills. Remember that your counselor can offer ongoing support throughout the course of the condition as needs and adjustments change.
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