Closeness in Crisis: A Proposal for Identifying Resilience in Couples Who Face the Crisis of Cancer in Their Child

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Chute, Maureen
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The research proposal presented in the following thesis paper outlines an approach to couples who parent a child diagnosed and treated for childhood cancer. It is an approach that challenges deficit models and supports recent trends toward strengths-based research paradigms in pursuit of the hypothesis that many couples become closer and demonstrate greater resilience in the face of crisis. A grounded theory approach is outlined, combining narrative externalizing (White & Epston, 1990) and response-based (Todd & Wade, 2007) questions. From these questions a semi-structured interview method is developed which highlights the couples' response in the context of the illness experience (Wright, Watson & Bell, 1996), rather than focusing exclusively on effects. It is proposed that these responses, coded as resiliency factors, may further the work of couple and family counsellors who endeavor to promote we-awareness (Skerret, 2003, p. 70) and relational resilience (Jordan, 1993, p. 1) in their own client populations.
childhood cancer, couple relationship, couple therapy