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The 5 benefits of going to the psychologist when suffering from a chronic illness

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Chronic diseases are a reality that, many times, we insist on observing only from the biomedical point of view.

However, we cannot forget that the experience of having developed a pathology of this type goes far beyond what occurs in patients. organs and cell tissues of our body: there are both causes and consequences of this that are psychological, behavioral.

So that, so that a person with a chronic disease can preserve their quality as much as possible of life and ability to live independently, in many cases you must have support psychotherapeutic combined with medical assistance. In this article we will see why.

  • Related article: "10 signs that tell you when to go to the psychologist"

What are the benefits of going to the psychologist if you have a chronic illness?

Under the concept of "chronic disease" it is possible to find a great diversity of pathologies. Although we usually associate this term with severe health disorders, we must not forget that there are chronic diseases with mild symptoms or that hardly damage the quality of life of people, and there are even cases in which these disappear after a few months or years. Technically, a chronic disease does not have to last forever, if it progresses towards worsening.

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However, in practice, the most damaging and persistent chronic diseases are those that attract the most attention in the field of health, of course. And it is in this group of pathologies, among which we even find some that increasingly deteriorate the health of the person until death, in which they are clearer the benefits of having support in the context of psychological therapy.

The advantages of combining treatment with psychotherapy in cases of chronic diseases can be classified into two main categories:

  • Intervention on behaviors that reinforce or weaken the disease
  • Intervention in how the patient experiences the disease

These two major focuses of psychological intervention reflect the way in which psychotherapy works both on part of the causes or triggers of the disease and on its consequences. On the one hand, we must not forget that what participates in the maintenance and evolution of pathologies is not only of a biological, but also behavioral (our life habits and behavior patterns influence the pathology), and on the other, The experience of having this disease can vary greatly depending on how we process the emotions and thoughts linked to is.

Going beyond this basic distinction between areas of intervention, we can specify several benefits that psychotherapy brings to patients with chronic diseases. They are as follows.

1. It allows to adopt a lifestyle adapted to the reality of the disease

Both behaving as if the chronic disease did not exist and assuming that it totally annuls the person who suffers it are harmful alternatives. For this reason, in psychotherapy the patient is "educated" in behavior patterns associated with habits that help to adapt to the disease, without adding or diminishing its importance.

In addition, psychologists can work in a coordinated way with the patient's family members to make them understand what is happening and support the person in internalizing these routines.

2. It helps to understand the origin of the discomfort

Chronic diseases, due to the fact that they are, are associated with a greater or less degree of discomfort, which can occur in many degrees of intensity. However, the simple fact of having developed one of these pathologies does not imply a good understanding of which aspects of it cause significant discomfort.

In psychotherapy, the patient is helped to look beyond the abstract concept of “chronic illness” and to understand what are the concrete experiences that cause subjective discomfort. These elements change depending on each person, and the fact of being aware of them through self-knowledge processes supported by the psychologist allows you to better manage these negative emotions and limit their power, without letting them totally overwhelm the person working in the acceptance.

3. It intervenes on the duel

Being diagnosed with a chronic disease can be a severe emotional blow. East It is associated with a feeling of loss, in this case of loss of health or even of one's own identity.

That is why in many cases these cases are addressed as is done with the psychological grief of those who have lost a loved one. What it is about is to enhance the capacity for acceptance and not to remain anchored in nostalgia and standards of living in which all references about "what should be" point towards the past.

  • You may be interested in: "Grief: coping with the loss of a loved one"

4. It allows to maintain sources of motivation and incentives

Just as important as managing and limiting the negative emotional impact of chronic illness is helping the person find ways to be happy, maintain a life with the ability to offer exciting experiences. For this reason, self-knowledge and self-motivation development techniques are used in psychotherapy. when detecting interests compatible with the pathology and that provide medium and long-term incentives term.

5. The appearance of psychological disorders is prevented

In therapy, work is also done so that an incorrect management of emotions leads the person to a chronic illness to develop disorders such as depression, dysthymia, a conduct disorder food, etc.

Do you want to have the help of a psychologist?

If you suffer from a chronic illness and are interested in having psychological therapy to improve your quality of life, get in touch with our team. Since Vibra Wellbeing We carry out both psychotherapy and emotion management training programs through meditation courses, Mindfulness, and other therapeutic resources. You will find us in Madrid.

Bibliographic references:

  • Aguilar, N. (1997). Counseling the patient with chronic illness: strategies for the health care provider. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 9 (4): pp. 171 - 175.
  • Deter, H.C. (2012). Psychosocial interventions for patients with chronic disease. BioPsychoSocial Medicine, 6: 2.
  • Elliot, T.R. & Johnson, M.O. (2008). Counseling Psychology and Chronic Health Conditions: A Call for Action. The Counseling Psychologist, 36 (1): pp. 118 - 126.
  • White, C.A. (2001). Cognitive behavioral principles in managing chronic disease. Western Journal of Medicine, 175 (5): pp. 338 - 342.
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