Valuing Chronic Illness

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(10), 712–713. The reviewer notes that this book (see record 1997-97042-000) is an examination of the medical, political, social, familial, cultural, religious, ethical, and moral milieu in which chronic illness is perceived and experienced, both by those who are directly afflicted and those who care for them. In Shuman's hands the traditional notion of healing, returning a person to health, takes on a progressive rather than restorative connotation. Although the body may deteriorate, healing occurs when the mind and the spirit continue to grow. For the chronically ill, healing is emotional as well as physical work that leads to meaning instead of recovery. Shuman provides families, therapists, doctors, and patients with methods for fostering and recognizing meaning. He describes his rules of engagement with the reader at the outset: “I offer neither theory nor proof (p. ix). Readers primarily seeking empirically supported recommendations for working with the chronically ill will find Shuman's text lacking. However, those who agree to meet Shuman on Shuman's terms will find his lyrical style and anecdotal evidence moving as well as informative. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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