Looking through both sides of a window, an adolescent's journey living unto death

Kate Eastman (1997)

This long term case study of an adolescent battling cancer presents a holistic model of care that provides coping strategies for the psychological, emotional, physical and spiritual needs of adolescents with life threatening illness. The model is a patient-centered, relational approach that views the various stages of the disease process as opportunities for psychological, emotional and spiritual growth. The role of the mental health professional within the proposed model is one of assisting the adolescent to attribute meaning to these various aspects of his/her experience. The study compares and contrasts traditional and contemporary medically-oriented models with the proposed holistic model of care, highlighting literature relating to adolescents with cancer and its impact on development, as well as literature on coping and resilience. From the vantage point of a doctoral student reflecting upon her personal and professional growth working with this family, the author presents her initial professional approach, how the approach failed, and the development of a new approach.