Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Families with Illness

  • Amelia WelchEmail author
  • Corina Teofilo Mattson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_490

Name of Family Form

Families with Illness


Medical and psychological treatments have long focused on working with the identified patient in an individualized context. Developments in systemically focused models have implored professionals to consider the relevant family contexts in treating these patients. Nothing occurs in a vacuum, and physical, mental, chronic, or terminal illnesses affect every family.

There have been many hindrances to the expansion from individual to systemic treatment in the medical field. Medicine relies on biologically based disease classification that determines diagnosis and treatment plans (Rolland 2018). In contrast to this method, a common-factors approach to treatment includes family members of patients receiving treatment and at-home treatment resources, addressing needs which exist across many diagnoses.


Caregiving is a central aspect of family functioning. In the case of an illness, the caregiving unit may expand to include...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA