When a parent or parental figure is diagsed with an illness, the family unit changes and clinical providers should consider using a family-centered approach to care, and t just focus on the patient coping with the illness. Helping Children and Families Cope with Parental Illness describes theoretical frameworks, common parental illnesses and their course, family assessment tools, and evidence-supported family intervention programs that have the potential to significantly reduce negative psychosocial outcomes for families and promote resilience. Most interventions described are culturally sensitive, for use with diverse populations in diverse practice settings, and were developed for two-parent, single-parent, and blended families.
Maureen Davey, PhD, LMFT, is an associate professor in the Department of Couple and Family Therapy at Drexel University. She has 20 years of clinical and research experience working with individuals, couples, and families coping with parental and childhood illnesses. Karni Kissil, PhD, LMFT, is an AAMFT licensed clinical member with 20 years of experience as a clinician working with individuals, couples, and families in diverse practice settings. Laura Lynch, PhD, is the Collaborative Healthcare Clinical Practice Educator in the Department of Couple and Family Therapy at Drexel University. She has worked with individuals, couples, and families within multiple medical and outpatient mental health settings, and most recently completed the Families, Illness, and Collaborative Healthcare Fellowship at the Chicago Center for Family Health.