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Airing Pain 60: Pain in the Family: Young adults 2 of 2

How pain affects the rela­tion­ship between adults and young peo­ple and tips from a fam­i­ly therapist

This edi­tion has been fund­ed by the City of Edin­burgh Coun­cil and NHS Lothian’s Self-direct­ed Sup­port Inno­va­tion Fund.

In the sec­ond of our two pro­grammes focus­ing on young car­ers for peo­ple in pain, we hear about the effect of pain on rela­tion­ships between par­ents and children.

Fam­i­ly ther­a­pist Liz For­bat explains how pain can dis­rupt tran­si­tions from child­hood to inde­pen­dent adult­hood, espe­cial­ly dur­ing those dif­fi­cult teenage years. She dis­cuss­es with pre­sen­ter Paul Evan’s his ‘mar­tyr­dom’ approach to man­ag­ing chron­ic pain – he recalls keep­ing his chil­dren at a dis­tance from it – and the dan­gers of build­ing bar­ri­ers between fam­i­ly mem­bers in a bid to pro­tect them from the effects of the pain.

We hear the young person’s per­spec­tive from Kim Radtke, who grew up with a father often made irri­ta­ble and emo­tion­al­ly unavail­able by his anky­los­ing spondyli­tis. The sit­u­a­tion was exac­er­bat­ed, Kim says, because she and her broth­er did not ful­ly under­stand the con­di­tion and were there­fore unable to empathise and com­mu­ni­cate with their father about it. Only as an adult has she been able to make the step – so impor­tant, accord­ing to Liz For­bat – of sep­a­rat­ing the pain from the person.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Fam­i­ly ther­a­py, chil­dren and young peo­ple, rela­tion­ships, par­ents, young car­ers, anky­los­ing spondyli­tis, psy­chol­o­gy, com­mu­ni­cat­ing pain, sib­lings, school, anger, frus­tra­tion and feel­ings of martyrdom.


  • Kim Radtke
  • Liz For­bat, Fam­i­ly ther­a­pist andRead­er in Can­cer and Pal­lia­tive Care, Uni­ver­si­ty of Stirling.

More infor­ma­tion:

  • To find a qual­i­fied fam­i­ly ther­a­pist or for more infor­ma­tion vis­it the UK Coun­cil for Psy­chother­a­py web­site:


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