How Therapy Can Help People Cope With Terminal Illnesses

Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is an incredibly traumatic event, and it marks only the beginning of a difficult journey. After receiving the worst possible news, a terminally ill patient has to process the truth and then find a way to share it with family and friends. Soon, they’ll have to wrestle with treatment decisions and juggle responsibilities like medical bills and end-of-life preparations.

It’s a lot to deal with, as anyone experiencing it can tell you. But it’s not something that patients need to go through alone. Choosing to seek therapy can make a world of difference to a terminally ill patient. Here are a few reasons why.

Therapy is good for trauma and grief

Therapy means many things. Among other things, therapy means having a space to work through your own thoughts and emotions. That will be all the more important during this difficult time, where stress and trauma overlap with existential questions and life-changing new realities.

Therapy is more than just a sounding board for a person’s thoughts and feelings, of course, but allowing space for those things is an important part of mental health care. With the guidance of a therapist, patients can take time to grieve for themselves and their circumstances, and that’s an important part of moving forward. On the flip side, avoiding therapy could have negative consequences. If left unaddressed, traumatic events can lead to worse mental health outcomes.

Therapy can help you get organized

A terminal illness diagnosis can be incredibly disorienting — and that’s a particularly frustrating thing given how many responsibilities patients have to deal with after such a diagnosis. It’s important for patients to get organized and examine their plans for treatment, the legal status of their estate, and their options for keeping their finances in order.

For instance, if you’re terminally ill, you may choose to sell your life insurance policy and use the funds to cover medical bills — or just to enjoy your life to the fullest in the time that you have left. That can be a sound financial move, and it’s one best made with the assistance of a financial planning professionals. Making appointments, crunching the numbers, and getting in touch with a broker who can make the sale aren’t overwhelmingly difficult tasks, but they can feel that way under these circumstances.

To handle chores like this, terminally ill patient need to keep a clear mind. Therapy can help with that. Therapy can also give you strategies for clearing your head, keeping negative thinking at bay, and staying productive and upbeat in the face of adversity.

Therapy is good for families

When most people think about therapy, they think about individual therapy sessions with a counselor, therapist, or psychologist. That is certainly a valid type of therapy, but it’s hardly the only kind there is. Therapy frequently involves couples, families, and other duos and groups.

A terminal diagnosis affects the whole family. Why shouldn’t therapy address that? This is a good time to head to family therapy, where a professional setting may aid communication and bring out important feelings, thoughts, fears, reassurances, and more.

Therapy is for everyone

A terminal illness diagnosis is a traumatic life event, and traumatic life events are good times to turn to mental health experts, say pros who offer therapy in Washington, D.C. But therapy isn’t just useful for those dealing with big changes and upsetting events. Residents of the city head to DC talk therapy to deal with the stresses of city life and fast-moving careers. Couples head to couples therapy to sustain and strengthen relationships. Therapy is great for addressing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. And therapy can improve your mood, mental health, and relationships even if nothing is wrong whatsoever.

So, yes, therapy is a particularly wise choice for those dealing with a terminal illness diagnosis — but that’s not the only reason to seek it out. Therapy has something to offer virtually everyone, and it’s a good idea under virtually any circumstances — including yours, whatever they may be.

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