Many parents who have children suffering from some form of chronic illness or mental disorder may experience chronic stress reactions of various types. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proved to be effective in reducing stress-related problems, but there seems to be no study to date in which CBT has been tested on this specific parent group. Two case studies were therefore performed. Case 1 centered on a 47-year-old married woman, who has lived in Sweden for 12 months. She described how she had become increasingly exhausted, and she wanted help to find strategies enabling her to cope with everyday life. Case 2 featured a 45-year-old single mother, who had been on part-time sick leave due to depression and stress. She described how she had always been anxious and worried and had had two episodes of depression. Both women had sons diagnosed with autism/Asperger syndrome. One of the women met the criteria for pathological burnout, while the other woman was just below the limit. The focus of the therapy for both women was on exhaustion, depression, and sleeping difficulties. In addition, therapy in Case 1 involved under-stimulation and in Case 2, anxiety. When the therapy ended, genuine improvements were registered for both clients. The results show that CBT can be an effective treatment of symptoms for this group of parents so that they can provide adequate support to their children, thus facilitating everyday life for a child with a chronic illness or disorder.
Anclair, M., & Hiltunen, A. J. (2014). Cognitive behavioral therapy for stress-related problems: Two single-case studies of parents of children with disabilities. Clinical Case Studies, 13, 6, 472-486.