Review: The Chronic Illness Workbook

Mar 25, 2017 by

The Chronic Illness Workbook by Patricia Fennell


Title: The Chronic Illness Workbook
Authors: Patricia A Fennell
Year: 2001

Quick Summary:
This workbook is built around helping a person cope with a chronic diagnosis and the many changes that such a diagnosis can bring to a person’s life.  It focuses primarily on recognizing where you are in your growth and acceptance, understanding your limitations, and learning to build new relationships and sources of fulfillment.  As opposed to discussing the medical aspects of any particular condition, it stays connected to the mental and emotional journey involved with this change in life.

I was incredibly impressed by the accuracy with which this book described the process (the loooong process) that I went through from diagnosis, to acceptance, to living a fulfilling life with my chronic condition and the many hurdles and steps along the way.  Considering that I was reading it in retrospect, this really stuck out to me.  The author is a social worker that specializes in helping people cope with chronic diagnoses that are very disruptive to their everyday lives, and she actually created her Four-Phase Model to describe these stages of coping based off of this work.  She places strong emphasis on the importance of taking care of yourself and not blaming yourself for your limitations, while also recognizing the impact that your diagnosis can be having on those around you.

For the most part, I would say that this book was very strong in what it set out to do.  It is a workbook, so there are a number of worksheets included within it.  I thought that these were a little bit limited and overly simplistic in nature.  They were also somewhat difficult to apply to the average person’s life because there was not much discussion on how to analyze what went into the worksheets.  However, the concepts behind each one were sound, and if nothing else, they should always get the reader thinking about what was just discussed.

Final Word:
A great resource for anyone that is recognizing some significant mental and emotional impacts from their chronic diagnosis and would like very specific guidance on how to manage this change in life for their own sake and for the sake of those around them.

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