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Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Disease and illness will inevitably affect every person in some way, whether it be directly (self) or indirectly (friend or family member). The onset and existence of medical health issues and illnesses may lead persons to feel sad, anxious, depressed and/or angry. Whether a medical condition or health issue is expected or unexpected, its effects may be negative and create feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

How Psychotherapy Can Help with Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Using psychotherapy for health-related problems can help with existential issues, such as facing our own mortality, loss, aging, relationships, and the corresponding anticipatory grief that is associated with these issues. It may provide a new perspective for clients to understand and effectively cope with the symptoms and effects of their health, medical issue, or illness. The process of psychotherapy may assist clients in learning more about their health or medical issue or illness, and come to terms with what it may entail. In addition, therapy may help some people alter their lifestyle choices and habits to produce positive changes in their physical well-being.

 

Managing a Personal Illness

Having a physical illness can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, and has the potential to completely undermine the daily routines and comforts that have sustained us over the years. It is important to know that such debilitating illnesses do not have to be faced alone. If you have HIV/AIDs, cancer, or any type of illness or health condition, speaking to a mental health clinician may be an important step in maintaining a sound mind and taking care of yourself. Some studies indicate that certain conditions improve with stress-reduction techniques and mental health treatment as part of the treatment protocol.

 

Caring for a Loved One

Coping with a loved one's illness can be just as stressful as coping with a personal illness. Whether it is a temporary or permanent situation, being a caregiver to another person who is experiencing health problems occasionally becomes an isolating experience, and can lead to complicated feelings of guilt and depression. Such feelings can be mitigated with the help of a mental health professional, and lead to a better quality of life for the caregiver and the loved one they are caring for.

 

Dealing with Arthritis - Case Example

Peter, 56, began to develop symptoms of arthritis and found it hard to keep up with many of his favorite activities, including sports and playing with his grandchildren. The pain made him feel as though he was entering a stage of life that he was not ready for, which depressed him and led to a self-imposed isolation from his friends. In therapy, he learned to accept the changes his body was going through, and realize that although he was no longer twenty and arthritis-free, he could still focus on a few things he liked most, and work to make them part of his life. He began to understand that compromise is not defeat, but survival.

 

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Last updated: 12-13-2013

     

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Presented by Deborah Klinger, MA, LMFT

   

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