Medical Illness + Disease
Medical challenges come with a major physical impact, but sometimes it is the emotional experience that is hardest and the least understood by those around us. There is the overwhelm and fatigue that comes with making difficult medical decisions, dealing with insurance, and managing finances. Anxiety or concern about new symptoms you notice, how to classify them, and if they warrant medical follow-up. A sense of isolation and loneliness that sometimes separates you from the people who matter most. Feeling of helplessness and guilt because of your reliance on others to help with daily needs. Frustration and sadness about the changes in your body and how it affects your relationships. Difficult emotions are a given. Some individuals may experience clinically significant depression and anxiety as a complication of their medical challenge.
As a clinical health psychologist, my work has been centered on supporting individuals who are dealing with difficult health issues. I work with individuals who have recently obtained a new diagnosis, have a history of chronic illness, are at high risk for disease as genetic carriers, and are in the role of caregiver. My primary goal with most of my patients is to work towards ways to bring vitality, meaning, understanding, and manageability into their lives.
In therapy we might address:
Increasing your awareness of your emotional experience, so you can more effectively cope with difficult emotions, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.
Prioritizing your own medical advocacy and medical-decision making.
How to pursue a purposeful, meaningful life in the midst of uncertainty regarding the future and persistent symptoms/ side-effects of treatment.
Best ways to communicate with peers, family, and other key players in your life to facilitate the support and connection you desire.
How to initiate and maintain practices geared towards improving your health (e.g.weight management, diet, exercise, smoking cessation, substance reduction.)
I have expertise working with these health-related challenges: