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The Solace of an Uncertain Future: Acute illness, the Self, and Self-care
Family Process (2018)
  • Kaethe Weingarten, The Witnessing Project
  • Miranda E Worthen, San Jose State University
“Take care of yourself” may be one of the most ubiquitous phrases spoken to people who are ill or to their caretakers. Yet few people who offer it as a balm consider what the self experience is of the person to whom the injunction is offered. We unravel some of the paradoxes inherent in the phrase, illustrating complexities that arise in the context of a life‐threatening diagnosis. To illustrate the relational nature of the self, we analyze a partial transcript of an interview conducted in 1988 with the authors—a family therapist mother who had recently undergone surgery for breast cancer and her then 9‐year‐old daughter. We also examine the role of time in the interview. We propose that unlike PTSD when the past invades the present, in life‐threatening illness the future is foreclosed, leading to distortions in current perception and behavior. The second author presents a follow‐up to the interview and relates it to her current experience as a mother with chronic health issues. We close with suggestions for clinicians.
  • The Self,
  • Life‐Threatening Illness,
  • Self‐Care,
  • Time,
  • Trauma,
  • el yo,
  • enfermedad potencialmente mortal,
  • cuidado personal,
  • tiempo,
  • trauma,
  • 自我,
  • 危及生命的疾病,
  • 自我照料,
  • 创伤
Publication Date
March 1, 2018
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Kaethe Weingarten and Miranda E Worthen. "The Solace of an Uncertain Future: Acute illness, the Self, and Self-care" Family Process Vol. 57 Iss. 2 (2018) p. 572 - 586 ISSN: 0014-7370
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