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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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