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Counseling/Chronic medical problems and mental illness


I have several medical problems including Idiopathic Hypersomnia.  I have been unable to work since February 5th 2014. These problems have really affected my depression.  I am in therapy and have a psychiatrist. I have searched  for a support group ffor folks with medical and mental health challenges but have not found anything local or in a 50 mile radius. My therapist and doctors have not located anything either.  I am a member of a couple of support groups online but really want a face-to-face group.  Do you have any suggestions about where to look for such a group?  I appreciate your willingness to help.

Hi Leigh - My experience is that often, chronic medical and "mental health" conditions are linked and promoted by psychological "wounds" inherited during early-childhood trauma. Most medical doctors are untrained in this. To see if this may be true of you, I encourage you to study the free online "lesson" at It's about personal healing. It also may help if you educate yourself on "psychosomatic illness" via the Web.

See this for perspective:

Questions = welcome - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.


I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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