Chronic Illness: The Role of Attachment and Somatic Perspectives in Therapy
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The objective of this study is to gain an in depth understanding of chronic illness, and offer guidance on how counsellors can assist those who deal with it. To begin, a literature review is conducted which explores the connection between chronic stress, nervous system dysregulation, and trauma. It is suggested that these factors are germane to the understanding of chronic illness and as such, should be incorporated into therapeutic models. The role of early attachment relationships is also explored; in particular the homeostatic functions of dyadic interpersonal co-regulation and the impact of that on chronic illness outcomes. Based on the literature review, several recommendations are made as to how therapists can incorporate somatic and attachment approaches in therapy, so that clients can expand their capacity to tolerate distress and live their best lives despite the difficulties that chronic illness inevitably brings.