Staying Present to Youth with an Unknown Future


  • Susan Poitras Canuck Place Children's Hospice, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



youth, storytelling, terminal illness


The intention of this workshop is to provide an opportunity to explore the various dimensions of clinical practice known to support and enhance coping in adolescents living with a life-threatening illness. The objectives are to: 1) Present recent research findings related to the future thinking activities of adolescents in pediatric palliative care; 2) Acknowledge that these findings stretch us as clinicians to “sit with” and \"create time for\" the youth’s exploration of future in the context of an anticipated shortened life; 3) Discuss several cases and provide experiential activities that can prepare the clinician in ‘being with’ and ‘staying present’ to youth who are exploring their future that remains unknown by virtue of the trajectory of illness.

The workshop will be broken down into three parts. In the first 30 minutes the findings from a doctoral study aimed at examining the future thinking of adolescents living with a progressive life-threatening neurodegenerative illness will be presented and discussed. Secondly, consideration will be given to how clinicians can mindfully prepare themselves for supporting adolescents and to consider aspects of the clinical self in our work with this population and finally, through both storytelling and the facilitation of active experiential activities, the presenters will share stories and ideas that have been integrated into existing practices.



How to Cite

Poitras, S. (2014). Staying Present to Youth with an Unknown Future. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 1(1).