There is life after the diagnosis : a comparative exploration of two mothers' experiences of having sons with Tourette syndrome

No Thumbnail Available
Duffy, Susan
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
Items in Esource are protected by copyright. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/copyright holder.
The current research study explored the experience of two mothers of boys who suffer from Tourette Syndrome. It looks at the impact of the diagnosis on them and their families, touches on the question of how they are affected by social perception, what feelings are evoked around the issue, and how they feel supported by their son’s schools and the medical system. It also briefly takes into account whether there is a place for psychotherapy within a supportive structure for them. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to elicit the richest themes from the in-depth interviews conducted with both women. While many of the same emotions were evoked on the diagnosis of their sons, both families reacted differently, one acting as a unit or system and the other appearing to separate into individuals coping with the impact. Both women found support from the families they met through The Tourette’s Association of Ireland and both became a support for newly diagnosed families. One mother had a very positive experience with her son’s school, teachers, psychologist and the medical system in general, the other did not. One woman has been attending psychotherapy as a support for herself, and the other had not ever considered it. This research suggests that treating the diagnosis as ‘family diagnosis’ rather than an individual’s diagnosis may be a beneficial approach for all involved. It also suggests that psychotherapy could be a support for the care-givers who bear the worry, responsibility and at times the sense of isolation associated with Tourette Syndrome, for their children. This study is exploratory in nature, looking at the lives of two mothers in a specific situation, in the hope that the findings will serve as a basis of authentic knowledge from which to develop further Irish studies into what might be supportive to these women and families. ‘sometimes we simply have to keep our eyes open and look carefully at individual cases – not in the hope of proving anything, but rather in the hope of learning something!’ Hans Eysenck (1976: 9) Author keywords: Tourette syndrome, parents, caregivers, support