Coping With The Emotional Residue Of A Life-Threatening Illness with Cheryl Krauter

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There are many stages one goes through when facing a life-threatening illness. First is the initial diagnosis when decisions are being made regarding treatment. Then there is the treatment stage: depending on the course of treatment, this stage can be quite brutal. These stages are followed by the post-treatment stage which has no expiration date. When going through a catastrophic illness, a patient is usually surrounded by a team of health professionals and, if they are fortunate, family and friends. The stage of post-treatment is rarely acknowledged and is often experienced as a wall of silence. There are no more appointments and schedules to keep. Friends and family may not want to remind us of our recent ordeal and they may be exhausted by their efforts at caregiving. This can be a very lonely time and one of hypervigilance. Krauter gives practical advice for coping with the residue of living beyond the illness. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Cheryl Krauter, MFT is a marriage and family psychotherapist with almost 40 years of experience in the field of depth psychology. Her own voyage through cancer combined with her experience as a therapist brings a unique perspective to her clients. She conducts talks and workshops on living with the uncertainty of life-threatening illness. 

Cheryl Krauter is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Cheryl Krauter go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How to work with a “new normal” after treatment of life-threatening illness
  • How to work with living with uncertainty
  • Why does Krauter use the term “survivor”
  • What is the power of telling and writing our story and working with fear, depression, and grief
  • What can we say to someone even long after treatment of a life-threatening illness
  • What are the different layers we may go through when surviving a life-threatening illness
  • What are some questions we can ask our doctor about the diagnosis
  • Why is it important to have someone go with you to your doctor’s appointment in the early stages of diagnosis
  • What should we be aware of after treatment
  • How can we be more compassionate towards health care professionals when certainty is not guaranteed
  • What is her advice for working with both professional and non-professional caregivers
  • What is her advice regarding the tyranny of positive thinking
  • What is her advice regarding researching on the internet and consulting “Dr. Google” 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 8/24/2017   Program Number: 3620

Music Playlist

From CD: Hidden Sky
Artist: Jami Sieber
2004 Out Front Music

Opening Essay: Track 01 Maanam
Music Break 1: Track 02 Out of the MIST
Music Break 2: Track 05 Red Mood
Music Break 3: Track 09 Hidden Sky