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Four-Phase Model

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Four-Phase Model (FFPM)



Four-Phase Model (FFPM)™ Overview

Research supports the concept that four phases of adaptation occur in chronic illnesses and trauma. These phases describe a predictable passage that patients navigate on their way to defining a new self and a new life after the onset of chronic illness. The Fennell Four-Phase Treatment (FFPT)™ provides a framework for understanding this critical process, as did Kubler-Ross' work regarding stages of death and dying.

  • In Phase 1, Crisis, the individual moves from onset of illness, which may be specifically detectable or may happen gradually, to an emergency period when the patient knows that something is seriously wrong. The task of the individual, caregivers and clinicians during this phase is to cope with urgency and trauma.

  • In Phase 2, Stabilization, the individual discovers that he or she fails, sometimes repeatedly, to return to normal regardless of interventions or behavior. The task in this phase is to initiate stabilization and life restructuring.

  • In Phase 3, Resolution, the individual recognizes deeply that his or her old life will never return. Early in this phase, most people experience profound existential despair. The task of this phase is to begin establishing an authentic new self and start developing a supportive, meaningful philosophy.

  • In Phase 4, Integration, the individual defines a new self in which illness may be an important factor, but it is not the primary one in his or her life. Integration of the illness into a meaningful life is the goal the individual seeks.

Within each phase, the Fennell Four-Phase Model addresses three domains: the physical/behavioral, the psychological and the social/interactive. The experience of chronic illness does not remain the same over time. The physical, emotional and social needs of a patient in the early stages of the chronic illness experience can be considerably different from the needs of the patient who has been ill for several years. In addition, changing social, medical, psychological or other circumstances that may be unrelated to the chronic illness may cause the patient to move backward or forward within the Phases multiple times over the course of his or her lifetime.

The Fennell Four-Phase Treatment (FFPT)™ can help clinicians treat patients more effectively and can greatly reduce practitioner frustration. The Fennell Phase Inventory (FPI)™ is an instrument that can be used by researchers or clinicians to assess an individual's Phase placement and measure movement within the Phases in response to interventions or changing circumstances.

Questions & Answers About the Fennell Four-Phase Treatment (FFPT)™

Publications on the Fennell Four-Phase Model and Treatment

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