Giving Psychological Support to Seriously Ill Children
Nady Van Broeck is a doctor in psychology. She teaches clinical psychology at Louvain University, after working in hospital paediatrics.
Jacques Van Rillaer is a doctor in psychology and a professor emeritus at Louvain University. He practised Freudian psychoanalysis for ten years before adopting cognitive behavioural therapies.
It is now acknowledged that thoughts, emotions and actions have a major impact on children’s (and adults’) ability to maintain and recover health. Over the past thirty years this awareness has incited extensive research, broadly covered by the term “behavioural paediatrics”.
In paediatrics, to an even greater extent than in adult medicine, it is crucial to treat patients in the context of their lives as a whole and not simply in function of the organ that is unwell. A sick child is first of all a child, whatever disease he or she suffers from.
Psychological support has been recognised as fundamentally positive in treating diseases — but unfortunately paediatric psychology is poorly developed in France.
• An indispensable work for parents so they can follow and accompany their sick child, but also for caregivers who need a better understanding of the particular challenges that sick children face.