Many people including health care providers, are not familiar with how a psychologist can help with the recovery from physical conditions like chronic pain. However, more health care providers (physicians, nurses, physician assistants) see the value in a psychologist helping a person with the psychological struggles typically involved in dealing with short-term or long-term physical conditions. For example, the physicians I consult with at the University of Colorado Hospital have learned how I can help them treat people with chronic pain. My hope is that even though your doctor may not see the benefit that you will. And ideally, you inform your physician about my services.
Below are examples of conditions I treat:
- managing chronic pain as a result of an injury, illness or a disease process
- adapting psychologically (i.e. loss of identity) to a chronic illness (i.e. head injury, lupus, arthritis, cancer, peripheral neuropathy, multiple sclerosis) because your level of functioning has changed
- helping with sticking with the physical medicine treatment plan (i.e. certain diet, exercise, self-monitoring, taking medications)
- dealing with grief, loss, anger, irritability, impatience, resentment, regret, frustration, rage, jealousy, self-pity and the other emotions associated with injury or illness
- developing the ability to identify strengths vs. limitations that will enhance the healing process
- finding ways to identify a “healing mode” that will facilitate the change process
- assisting the family cope with the medical condition(s)
I have learned never to underestimate the capacity of the human mind and body to regenerate – even when the prospects seem most wretched. This life-force may be the least understood force on earth…Protecting and cherishing that natural drive may well represent the finest exercise of human freedom (pg. 48).
~ Norman Cousines – Anatomy of an Illness (1979)