Hey All - I just published a book called: TEAM POSITIVE: How to Build Support for Someone Coping with Chronic Illness!
I am an integral psychotherapist and clinician (completing Dr. Forman’s Certified Integral Therapist program (CIT)) and have put together this book for that moment when you, or someone you are close to, become chronically ill. A dread diagnosis of cancer, a debilitating disease like Parkinson’s or Crohn’s, or any other life-altering challenge which upends the world for all involved once it became known.
This book is about what to do at the initial onset of the challenge (as well as what not to do), how to build a support team (for yourself or for another), and the emotional, mental, and physical self-care skills needed to navigate such a challenging situation with flexibility and resilience.
As I went through laying out the book, I made sure to include all the integral elements, not only in the tools that I use in working with patients in such a situation but in the actual structure of the book itself. That is I made sure that each chapter hit on one of the four quadrants to ensure all bases were covered, I utilized different writing styles to address state and stages (levels and lines), and I fit in types wherever they presented themselves.
Team Positive is a three-part manual for how to build support for a serious diagnosis.
The first part looks at the immediate effects of getting a diagnosis or dealing with chronic health symptoms before a diagnosis is assigned. The latter often being worse emotionally and mentally then the previous since knowing what needs to be addressed is better than not knowing how to proceed at all.
This section includes suggestions on what to do or say and what not to do or say . It is not uncommon for people to react, unconsciously, to the situation with a wide range of interactions. Some are highly supportive and appreciated, some are negligible and are over-looked, yet some responses, while meant to be supportive, are often painful in what is implied and misinterpreted. Some statements are also just downright mean and not supportive at all.
There are also two techniques introduced which are meant to help alleviate the emotional strain which often accompanies the early stages of dealing with the chronic health challenge. These skills are complemented throughout the book, especially in part three, tools for the long haul.
The second part of the book looks at what supports are there, how to build further supports, and how to include those who want to help support . The concept of the Pyramid of support is laid out in a simplified manner, giving the overall structure and labels for each person involved in the support effort. Then these titles are explored in more depth helping all those on the team know exactly what they can expect from the team and what is expected of them.
The two biggest benefits of this section are in knowing where your place is on the pyramid of support and understanding what your role is so that there is little worry about what you should do, whether you are the person with the challenge or one in a support role. Much less anxiety or uncertainty when it is all spelled out for you in an easy to understand format.
The final section of the book presents several concepts and skills for how to manage anxiety, depression, and create greater psychological flexibility. This includes techniques that address physical sensations, emotional states and repetitive thoughts that are often experienced as overwhelming. This section also outlines guidelines for becoming more clear on what truly matters most in your life to help you stay motivated and commit to actions even when moving towards them prove difficult.
I have been wanting to write a book for some time, primarily to be able to hand out as a type of road map or field guide with my patients. Several years back I did begin to make short videos of the techniques, concepts, and skills I use in session that were meant to reinforce what was done in session by having a place to review these topics and increase the efficiency of the session. There is a great deal of “treatment” that happens in between sessions which I was aware of and wanted to enhance.
By far though, the greatest influence for me in beginning to write this book came from both my professional experiences in working with those with chronic health issues and those that supported them and my own personal experience with family members. My father was a major influence here in that when he was writing his memoir of surviving cancer, I thought it would have been useful to have some sections in his book that would complement his more personal viewpoint with some clinical support tools. However, I did not want to detract from his publication or personal experience. Instead, we began in late 2018 to lay out an outline that eventually became this book.
The final influence that inspired me to write this book was the sheer number of people that I would run into, specifically those in a supportive role, who were outlining their frustrations and anxiety in having to deal with the challenges associated with a chronic illness. I would often find myself giving suggestions and with the person, I was speaking with asking me if I could write it all down for them to review later on. I could only have so many conversations and I can only see so many patients per week. I eventually came to believe that the best thing I could do was to write this book so that I could reach and help so many more people than I could do otherwise given the restrictions of time.
You can learn more about the book (or who I am) by visiting my website www.BeTeamPositive.Us
If you have any questions, please post them here. I will do my best to reply as timely as possible.