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Nonfiction Book Award Status: Gold


An invaluable reference for parents of sick or hospitalized children by an experienced psychosocial counselor.

To many parents, it is hard to imagine a more upsetting reality than one where their child is hospitalized, severely sick, or terminally ill. In When Your Child is Sick, psychosocial counselor Joanna Breyer distills decades of experience working with sick children and their families into a comprehensive guide for navigating the uncharted and frightening terrain. She provides expert advice to guide them through the hospital setting, at-home care, and long-term outcomes.

Breyer’s actionable techniques and direct advice will help parents feel more in-control of a circumstance that has upended their life. She alerts parents to key personnel in the hospital, gives dialogue prompts to help parents ask for the help they need, addresses the needs of their other children at home, offers advice on how to best utilize friends and family who want to help, includes stories from other families who have been there, and teaches coping techniques to help both parents and children weather the stress of prolonged illness and even death.

When Your Child is Sick is a valuable guide to managing the myriad practical and emotional complications of an impossible situation.

Buy the book at Amazon.

Author Bio:

Dr. Joanna Breyer was a pediatric psychologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), and Boston Chlldren’s Hospital and a supervisor at Cambridge Hospital, between 1984 and 2012. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University and her BA degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University. She was Instructor in the Psychiatry Department at Harvard Medical School (HMS) between 1984 and 2010 and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at HMS between 2010 and 2014. In 2011 she was made a Fellow of Division 53, the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, in the American Psychological Society (APA). She received the Mill award from the Mill Foundation for services to children with cancer.
At DFCI Dr. Breyer provided treatment for pediatric patients and their families. She specialized in behavioral approaches to reduce distress in children and in psychotherapeutic treatment including creative use of play and puppetry with children with cancer. She was Director of Pediatric Psychosocial Training for 14 years. She was staff psychologist in the Pediatric Cancer Survivors Clinic for nine years and a founding member of the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) to improve the quality of end of life care for pediatric patients. She was a member of the DFCI Ethics Committee for three years. Dr. Breyer has presented at local, national and international conferences and workshops over many years. She co-authored a chapter on bereavement in a comprehensive handbook on pediatric oncology. (Brown RT. Ed, OUP. 2006) and wrote a chapter on Communication in ‘Pediatric Psycho-Oncology'(OUP 2nd edition, 2015). Since the publication of ‘When Your Child is Sick’, she has been invited to speak at hospitals, clinics and other public settings. In October 2019 she gave the Medical Grand Rounds at St Jude.

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