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Keywords:

  • Chronic illness;
  • disability;
  • trauma;
  • family;
  • child;
  • counselling

Background: A therapeutic model for supporting families of children with a chronic illness or disability is described. The model presupposes that the chronic illness and/or disability of a child constitutes a trauma for the entire family.

Method: This paper describes a therapeutic model currently in practice and links it back to psychological dynamics addressed through the clinical interventions and the principles that underlie the model of service.

Results: Service delivery comprises the interventions; counselling, psychological first aid, projects, peer groups, parent mentoring, social events and community education. The model is family centred, non-illness specific, preventative, non-linear and flexible.

Conclusions: The interventions offered in the model aim to address the psychological dynamics of hope, empowerment, reconnection, coping/resilience and reframing.