People Struggling with Chronic Illness
Find Couples Counseling and Family Counseling
with the HelpPRO Therapist Finder

by Mary-Jane Donovan

As we age, chronic illness often plays a central role in the array of difficult issues that we confront every day. These days, virtually no one is left untouched by the effects of chronic illness, whether it be themselves, a spouse or a family member who is suffering. Often the sole source of support for a person with a chronic illness is a spouse, a partner, or a grown child. For everyone involved in these situations, the burdens can be enormous.

Often, the chronic illness threatens family supports. For instance, if one of the grown children lives near an ailing parent, he or she may take the brunt of the caretaking, while others who live farther away may feel guilty and be resented by the care-taker sibling. Family Counseling can relieve the tension between siblings who are struggling, foster cooperation and support, and restore a sense of balance to family relationships.

Sometimes the care-taking spouse is suffering from an illness of her or his own, while trying to attend to the needs of a sick loved one. Couples Counseling, Marriage Counseling and Care-Giver Support Groups often provide the "missing link" to these circles of support.

While every experience with chronic illness is different, the question always remains the same: "How do I find the right kind of help for me and my family?"

HelpPRO's Therapist Finder has recently increased its efforts to find answers to that question. HelpPRO is currently collaborating with several national organizations that specialize in chronic illnesses, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease and Autism. The HelpPRO Therapist Finder is fast becoming an invaluable tool in the call centers and help-lines of these organizations. HelpPRO's goal is to maximize the number of Family Counselors and Couples Counselors listed in its Therapist Finder, who have expertise in working with people who are effected by chronic illnesses.

Below is an illustration of how people find resources at

Martha is living in Ewing, NJ, with her aging husband, Luke. Luke has suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for the last five years and is now beginning to wander out of the house when Martha's asleep. Unfortunately, Martha has suffered with Diabetes for ten years herself so that walking the streets looking for Luke has become a serious challenge for her. Martha and Luke have two grown daughters, Denise, who lives with her family in the adjoining town, and Kara, who lives in Chicago.

Kara, worried about her father's wanderings, her mother's inability to protect him, and her sister's capacity to care for their parents as well as her own small children, decides to use the HelpPRO Therapist Finder.

After choosing the “Advanced Search” option, Kara first looks for a Family Counselor who specializes in Alzheimer's and can make home visits. Her plan is to make several trips to Ewing so that she, her sister and both parents can all be seen in Family Counseling. Kara comes up with a list of seven Family Counselors within twenty-five miles of her parents’ house who specialize in Alzheimer's. Two of the seven are able to make home visits. After checking with Denise, she calls both of the Family Counselors and sets up a home-visit for one week later with one.

Kara tells Denise about her success with HelpPRO's Therapist Finder. Denise goes on-line to check it out. In minutes, Denise is able to find a Care-Givers Support Group for herself, a Diabetes Support Group for her mother, and a Couples Counselor for herself and her husband, who has become resentful of the time Denise is spending caring for her parents.