Physical Health Problems
Physical Health Counselling, Therapy and CBT in St Albans/Hertfordshire and Online
Many individuals encounter a variety of physical health issues, encompassing conditions such as pain, persistent fatigue, diabetes, and cardiac problems. These difficulties can manifest in different ways, ranging from mild to severe and fluctuating in intensity. Some physical ailments arise abruptly following an injury or illness, while others develop gradually over time. The experience of these physical challenges can be distressing and demanding in itself. However, what further complicates matters is the necessity for adjustments in one's daily life and the inability to engage in activities as before. Understandably, accepting these changes can be challenging and may evoke feelings of frustration, anger, irritability, stress, and sadness. Moreover, relationships with others may be impacted, adding to the overall stress and strain.
I recognise that it may seem like you are facing your struggles alone. However, you don't have to face them on your own. My expertise lies in working with individuals who experience physical health problems, and I have accumulated over fifteen years of experience in this field. I am here to assist you in acquiring coping strategies to manage your physical difficulties, to explore methods of adjustment, and to empower you to regain control over your life. Together, we can work towards improving your overall quality of life.
What Physical Difficulties Can I Help With?
I provide support to people experience various physical health challenges such as:
Pain (Chronic Pain)
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E./CFS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Skin conditions, such as Psoriasis and Eczema
This is not an exhaustive list. I can provide assistance in managing any physical health challenge you may be facing. Whether you have received a definitive diagnosis or are still awaiting one, many individuals experience debilitating physical symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, that medical professionals find difficult to diagnose. There are several reasons why certain conditions can be challenging to identify. The complexity of the human body and the involvement of multiple bodily systems can contribute to the diagnostic difficulties. Additionally, in some cases, no abnormalities can be detected despite thorough physical investigations (it is important to note that this does not invalidate the reality of your physical symptoms). Dealing with such physical health difficulties can be incredibly frustrating for individuals.
The Challenges Of Living With A Physical Health Problem
Coming to terms with physical health conditions and determining the best ways to manage them can be challenging. It can feel like you have little control over your circumstances. These conditions can give rise to various emotional difficulties, including depression, anxiety, stress, frustration, low self-esteem, and anger. The impact of physical health difficulties, coupled with the resulting emotional challenges, can negatively affect all aspects of your life, including relationships, leisure activities, and work. It is understandable that life may become restricted, further impacting your emotional well-being. Moreover, some physical health conditions can worsen in response to heightened distress. It is important to note that this does not imply that your physical health problems are imagined or solely psychological; they are real and have a physiological basis.
Physical difficulties have the potential to undermine confidence in various ways. For instance, certain conditions can alter one's appearance, leading to a lack of confidence in one's attractiveness. Other difficulties that affect mobility or cognitive functioning can diminish confidence in situations such as visiting new places or socialising. Concerns may arise about managing unfamiliar settings, especially if symptoms intensify, and there may be worries about appearing capable to others while grappling with cognitive challenges.
One common issue faced by individuals with physical health conditions is the lack of belief or understanding from doctors, family, friends, and colleagues. Because conditions like pain and fatigue are not visible, they may be dismissed or attributed solely to psychological factors. However, seeking psychological therapy for your struggles with physical health does not mean that I view your difficulties as imaginary. I recognise that they are very much real and have a physiological basis. As demonstrated above, physical health difficulties have wide-ranging impacts beyond the physical realm. Psychological therapy can offer a supportive space to explore these challenges and help you develop effective coping strategies for both the physical symptoms and their broader impact on your life. My aim is to support you in gradually reintegrating valuable activities into your life, thus expanding your horizons in a manageable way.
Individuals with physical health difficulties may internalise the belief that they should be strong and not burden others with their needs or keep their struggles concealed altogether. This pressure to maintain appearances can be stressful and lead to overexertion. In some cases, this can exacerbate physical symptoms. It is important to recognise that seeking support and asking for help when needed is not a sign of weakness but an act of self-care.
Treatment for Physical Health Problems
During the initial stages of therapy, it can be valuable to dedicate time with your therapist to gain a deeper understanding of your difficulties, their impact on your life, and how you have been coping thus far. The therapeutic space offers a supportive and non-judgmental environment where you can freely express and share your challenging experiences. This process can be beneficial in unburdening yourself and finding relief.
Learning effective coping strategies is another aspect that can greatly assist you in managing your difficulties and regaining a sense of control. There is compelling evidence indicating the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in helping individuals with physical health difficulties. These therapeutic approaches provide valuable concepts and coping strategies that can be tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.
By drawing from CBT and ACT, I can introduce you to practical tools and techniques that have proven helpful to many people facing similar challenges. Together, we can work towards empowering you with the skills and insights necessary to better manage your physical health difficulties and enhance your overall well-being.
How Long Does Counselling Last For Physical Health Problems?
The duration of therapy is influenced by the severity of your struggles and individual circumstances. The number of sessions can vary, with some individuals finding benefit in as few as six sessions, while others may require support over a more extended period of time. As a general guideline, a range of six to twenty-four sessions can be helpful, taking into account the severity of your struggles and your specific needs. It's important to remember that therapy is a personal journey, and the duration can be adjusted based on your progress and ongoing evaluation of your therapeutic goals.
Benefits of Counselling For Physical Health Problems
Extensive research and clinical experience have demonstrated that counselling for physical health problems offers a variety of advantages, such as:
Enhanced self-assurance in effectively managing physical symptoms
Decreased negative impact on one's life
Improved overall quality of life
Enhanced emotional well-being, including reduced anxiety, depression, anger, and stress levels
Improved relationships with others
Increased ability to engage in meaningful activities while minimising physical symptoms
When I Should Get Help For My Physical Health Difficulty?
Seeking therapy for your physical health difficulties can be beneficial at any point, considering the immense challenges they pose both physically and emotionally. However, many individuals turn to therapy when they experience a sense of despair, having exhausted medical options, struggling to cope, feeling a lack of control, and witnessing a significant negative impact on their lives. These signs clearly indicate that therapy can provide valuable support. Moreover, reaching out for assistance in the early stages of your condition can also prove beneficial.
If you would like therapy for physical health difficulties in St Albans/Hertfordshire or online please email me at email@example.com or complete the webform below.
St Albans Rooms
21 Victoria Street