208. Coping with Illness with Liz Stuntz

When it comes to serious illness, we might assume that medical treatment is where it’s at. And of course, when it comes to medical illness, medical treatment is central. But research also shows that talk therapy can help improve health, extend life, and make it easier to tolerate many of the challenges of illness. On today’s episode of POTC, Yael and Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, co-author with Marsha Linehan of Coping with Cancer, discuss the usefulness of one such talk therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT offers concrete, simple skills to deal with serious medical illness. From managing pain to communicating with providers and loved ones, Liz offers on-the-ground strategies that you can put into action today to help manage health, prolong life, and make meaning. Listen in for an expert-breakdown of evidence-backed skills and practical advice you can put into practice to help yourself or loved ones struggling with serious illness.

Listen and Learn:

  • Yael and Debbie discuss the usefulness of skills like emotion regulation for extreme, stressful, or scary health-related situations 
  • The role of evidence-based psychological interventions in the world of medical treatment
  • Why DBT is particularly useful for managing severe medical illnesses
  • Expert definitions and explanations of DBT basics 
  • The DBT practices Liz has used in her personal life
  • Practical advice for dialing down emotions when they become too intense 
  • How to use your Wise Mind to make values-rich choices
  • How you can wisely and flexibly select from a menu of useful skills
  • Expert-advice for those who struggle with self-critical narratives that interfere with interpersonal functioning
  • Liz’s favorite DBT skills for practicing self-kindness and helping others 
  • How to be effective in relationships with medical providers and loved ones
  • Connecting with meaning while struggling with illness 
  • DBT training resources for clinicians, patients, and loved ones 


About Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz:

Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, LCSW-R, trained in social work at Smith College prior to earning her psychoanalytic certification. After this, she studied Zen, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and the application of neuroscience to psychotherapy, integrating these perspectives into her clinical practice and the ways she teaches coping with adversity. She frequently presents on topics related to coping skills, psychoanalysis, and DBT. Liz currently works as a psychotherapist and teacher in Mamaroneck, New York. Make sure to grab a copy of the book she co-authored with Marsha Linehan, Coping with Cancer: DBT Skills to Manage Your Emotions–and Balance Uncertainty with Hope

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Episode 208