Relating to illness in therapy A pilgrimage through uncertain terrain

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Catherine Lynn Richardson/Kinewesquao

Abstract

In this article, I explore the subject of supporting clients living with illness in the context of my counselling practice. I weave this approach to clinical practice, informed by response-based practice and the use of metaphor, together with my personal story of illness and recovery. I contextualise my own history as a Metis woman and therapist into the life of my family, living in Canada’s north. There, my maternal family lived in the midst of uranium extraction, a form of mining that resourced the Cold War and fueled the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Canada’s implication in militarism had devastating effects on Indigenous community members. I explore the use of metaphor as a form of co-constructed meaning in therapy. I present my own symbolic journey through cancer and treatment as a sacred pilgrimage in Spain. The various key points in treatment parallel significant stops along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. As well, I explore how clients negotiate medical systems, impositions and negative social responses, as well as how they resource love, strength and care from family and friends. I apply a framework of response-based practice, seeking to understand the ways in which people preserve dignity and try to maximize safety and well-being. This includes the ways in which patients manage unsolicited advice and undesirable procedures with courage and grace.

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How to Cite
RICHARDSON/KINEWESQUAO, Catherine Lynn. Relating to illness in therapy. Murmurations: Journal of Transformative Systemic Practice, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 2, p. 14-26, oct. 2018. ISSN 2516-0052. Available at: <http://murmurations.cloud/ojs/index.php/murmurations/article/view/34>. Date accessed: 15 nov. 2018. doi: https://doi.org/10.28963/1.2.3.
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