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Counseling/Chronic medical problems and mental illness

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Question
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.

Answer
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 http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm. It's about personal healing. It also may help if you educate yourself on "psychosomatic illness" via the Web.

See this for perspective: http://sfhelp.org/gwc/m_illness.htm

Questions = welcome - Pete

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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