The provision of skillful psychosocial care to patients suffering from chronic illnesses starts with an appreciation of what it is like to live with a chronic condition. Definitions of self-esteem may be realigned when patients encounter a prolonged problem, and reliance upon professional help. Getting inside the experience of such illness may be key to understanding patient motivation, noncompliance with therapy and altered patterns of social engagement. Individuals' personal constructs may usefully then be used to explore the extent to which chronic illness sufferers share common problems and needs.
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