There are 5 major activity zones which you work through systematically.
SYMPTOM IMPROVEMENT MAY BE SEEN AT ANY STAGE
In this zone you move from theory to practice, from knowing about illness and 'story' to working out your own connections. We lead you through a set of exercises over time so that you gradually build up sufficient understanding and insight to move to the next zone.
With the help of Illness Explorer you map your life events around:
You also begin symptom and mood/stress graphing as a way of getting started with the illness/ story connections.
Most patients are surprised to discover how often subtle feelings are connected with the worsening of symptoms.
Even more surprising is how often patients get better as they identify such feelings.
The focus in this zone is on:
Most importantly, by the end of this zone you may be clearer about which of your feelings may be linked with physical symptoms.
The work done to this point will raise many useful questions.
Why does anger cause irritable bowel in me but not her? She’s more angry than I am!
Why didn’t this illness begin two years earlier when I was really stressed?
And many others.
In this zone such questions are addressed so you can move on knowing that the linking of your story and your illness makes sense.
Here you develop a much clearer picture of the patterns in your life, the emotional themes which are typical for you, and in particular you clarify which themes fuel your tendency to certain physical symptoms and illness.
Illness Explorer connects that to your personality type, and your patterns of relationship.
The exercises in this zone are very important. As you become clear about your themes, you will be able to apply this understanding in different aspects of your life, resulting in less difficulty, and less tendency to express feelings in your body in the form of illness.
(Photo courtesy of Artist/Tapestry Weaver Marilyn Rea-Menzies, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Your symptoms may have disappeared by now.
They may have improved but you wonder what extra help you could get if you are stuck on one element or another.
They may not be improved and what does that mean for your illness?
Illness and disease start because of multiple factors.
Illness Explorer emphasises story but strongly endorses the role of many other factors such as genetics, diet, trauma, and social, cultural, and spiritual factors. The best approach favors changing as many factors as possible to allow an upward movement in health.
The exercise in this zone allows you to extend your findings from the previous zones. You draw your discoveries together into your story, and we address questions of 'where to from here?'