Psychological adjustment to a chronic illness: The contribution from cognitive behavioural treatment in a rehabilitation setting

Antonia Pierobon, Anna Giardini, Simona Callegari, Giuseppina Majani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with a chronic illness must continuously revise their lifestyle, adapting it to the behavioural limitations imposed by their state of health. These incessant adjustments of behaviour dictated by the patients' need to adapt to their clinical condition also cause profound psychological changes. The experience of a patient with a chronic illness often leads to a reformulation of self, which the patient may or may not be aware of, but which helps to facilitate successful behavioural adaptation. During the course of their disease, which spans from diagnosis to treatment, some patients have the opportunity to meet a psychologist, who has various tasks: understanding what stage of adaptation the chronically ill patients have reached, evaluating the patients' emotional state, facilitating their acceptance of their clinical condition, stimulating them to redefine their aims, if there are the presuppositions, and supporting their coping capacities and internal and external resources. This article is neither a review nor original research, but rather a "clinical exposition" with educational suggestions. The purpose of this article is to give a voice to the patients' internal dialogue, to what they say to themselves, to their narration of the illness, but also to explain the typical components of cognitive behavioural treatment in the setting of cardiological, respiratory and neuromotor rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGiornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro ed Ergonomia
Issue number1 SUPPL. A
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Chronic illness
  • Cognitive behavioural treatment
  • Psychological adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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