An exploration of the Impact of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Implications for Psychological Service Provision

Katie Thomas, Bailey Bosch


Modern medical systems are changing to integrate a wider range of health professionals who can work together to manage total patient care. Health care is becoming increasingly based on the biopsychosocial model and incorporating greater focus on the psychological as well as the physical health of the patient. These changes in health care systems mean a larger role for psychologists and counsellors in the provision of holistic patient care. In the past, patients suffering from chronic illness received mostly biomedical
interventions in their treatment programs. Increasingly however, patients with chronic illnesses who present to the medical community are referred for counselling and psychological treatment. This study focused on one chronic illness: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The study examined the psychological and physical impact of CFS on sufferers and on identifying which aspects of the illness impact most on patient’s coping mechanisms. Seventeen participants were recruited in a randomised recruitment procedure and given a semi-structured interview that focused on key events, significant illness effects and their impact. The
results demonstrated that there are particular aspects of CFS illness that can undermine and overwhelm patients’ normal coping strategies and support systems. The implications for the provision of psychological services for CFS patients are discussed.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; CFS; psychology

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ISSN 1832-7931
Swinburne University of Technology