Wednesday, October 21, 2015

HOW OUR HEALTH PSYCHOLOGISTS CAN HELP YOU

Dr. Dino Zuccarini, C.Psych.


Our health psychologists can help you to cope with a wide range of health concerns.  

Chronic Illness: Individuals experiencing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, HIV, hypertension, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), suffer from debilitating physical symptoms that influence how they function in everyday life. Management of these medical conditions requires medication and lifestyle modifications. A psychologist can support individuals to adapt to the lifestyle changes required to manage chronic illness, including adhering to treatment regimens as well as dealing with the psychological and emotional aspects of the debilitating side effects of treatment or the disease itself. Often overlooked is the importance of our psychological and emotional well-being in dealing with a chronic illness. Depression and anxiety can emerge as we adapt to our new medical realities. Our psychological and emotional functioning can exacerbate or worsen our experience of a chronic, manageable illness.

Life Threatening Illness: Individuals experiencing life threatening illnesses experience physical health issues associated with the disease process and treatment that can influence their emotional well-being and psychological functioning. Being calm and relaxed and maintaining a positive sense of emotional well-being during medical treatments, while challenging, can buffer clients from the distress associated with medical procedures and hospitalizations. Making sense of, and coping with, the negative emotional reactions associated with uncertainty can alleviate our emotional distress during these difficult life moments. Adapting to treatment regimens and medical appointments can create emotional distress. Treatments can also affect our psychological functioning, which alters our sense of self and the world around us. Anxiety and depression can also grow out of the uncertainties of our medical circumstances.
Terminal Illness: Facing a terminal illness precipitates a wide-range of emotional reactions, including fear, anger, sadness, and grief. Moving toward acceptance is an internal journey. The disease process and treatment of the disease can bring about debilitating side-effects, and can also affect our emotional and mental health status, and our psychological functioning. Making sense of our circumstances and lives, and dealing with the emotions associated with a terminal diagnosis can be overwhelming.
Smoking Cessation, Weight Concerns, Healthier Lifestyle: Whether you’re looking to quit smoking, lose a few pounds, or make healthier lifestyle choices, there are several stages one goes through to change behaviours. Whether contemplating change or actively attempting to change, maintaining healthy behaviours requires us to be attentive and mindful to the self and environmental triggers that stimulate us to engage in these behaviours. Learning how to maintain healthy behaviours, including adopting new coping strategies to address underlying stress and emotions, is an important component of behavioural change. When motivation to change an unhealthy behaviour wanes, deeper issues associated with self-esteem, self-worth, trauma, and abuse may also be present. Sometimes unhealthy behaviours serve as a source of soothing the self and dealing with difficult emotions from our past and present-day life. 

HOW WE HELP YOU

You don’t have to be alone while struggling with the physical and psychological aspects of your condition. A CFIR health psychologist can meet with you for a free consultation to help you better understand how he or she may support you through your journey with a health-related or lifestyle adaption. We offer clients comprehensive assessment and psychological treatment to address the psychological aspects of managing chronic, life-threatening or terminal illnesses or promoting healthy behaviours. CFIR clinical and health psychologists work with clients to address a wide range of psychological issues that may emerge as we encounter challenges in our efforts to manage our physical health concerns or face life threatening or terminal illnesses. We provide you with knowledge and emotional support to diminish your sense of isolation and to assuage distress associated with fear and hopelessness as you face challenges associated with health and illness. In terms of lifestyle adaptations, we can help you manage these stages of change, deal with underlying self and relationship, or past traumatic issues, and help you to find more adaptive coping mechanisms for the purpose of allowing you to live the healthier life you desire.

Read more about our Neuropsychology, Rehabilitation & Health Psychology Treatment Service.