Chronic illness and quality of life
If you live with long-term health issues, you know that it can affect the quality of your life in a number of ways; it may cause you chronic pain and fatigue, impact on your sleep, reduce your mobility, affect your ability to work, cause you to become less independent and more socially isolated, affect how you see yourself, e.g. your identity, body image and self-esteem and cause feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, anger and spiritual distress. You may even grieve for the life you once had but are no longer able to live and you may worry about future uncertainties.
You may also have difficulties with those around you such as lack of support from family members or even health care professionals. Indeed, dealing with health care services can sometimes be really frustrating, upsetting and even traumatic. In addition, your healthcare provider may tell you eat a certain diet, lose weight or exercise more but these things are sometimes difficult to achieve for various reasons.
Or you may have not been diagnosed with an illness at all but with chronic pain of no known cause and feel overwhelmed and at a loss in how to deal with it.
If you feel you are struggling with any of these issues or something else related to how you cope with your illness or situation, you may benefit from some extra support.
Improving adjustment and self-management
The main focus of Health Psychology in long-term illness is to improve your quality of life; to support you and provide you with skills to manage your situation more effectively and enable you, with guidance, to generate solutions to your issues that are realistic but more helpful than those you have used so far. You may be given small practice tasks between sessions as appropriate to you and your situation and you may also be guided towards resources that you may find useful.
In relation to biopsychosocial theories and scientific evidence, I use various established therapeutic interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Writing Therapy and Pain Management. I also incorporate and teach practical and simple mindfulness techniques based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum. I often use an Integrative Therapeutic Approach that adapts to the unique needs of each specific client as opposed to using one method alone. The aim is to restore daily functioning and minimize the many consequences of chronic illness on your quality of life.
A supportive relationship with a therapist is also just as important as the actual methods used to foster change. Indeed, let's not forget about the importance of having your experiences validated and to feel a sense of acknowledgement and support. Unfortunately, concerns by people with long-term health problems are all too often dismissed. Understandably, this, in itself, can create a lot of emotional reactions like anger and hopelessness. I always aim to provide a supportive environment where concerns are not minimized, where my clients can find solutions to their problems, find ways of coping better and feel empowered to eventually manage their own health effectively, alongside that of their health care providers.
How many sessions do I need?
Typically, sessions are weekly and last one hour. The number of sessions may vary but they usually take place over several months. Some may see me for longer, sometimes at less frequent intervals. After our sessions have finished, and if you begin to experience new issues that you need support with, please don't hesitate to contact me!
Where do the sessions take place?
Our sessions will take place online and in the comfort of your own home. I use a secure Telehealth service (SimplePractice.com) that is HIPAA and GDPR compliant and easy to use (you are sent a link before each appointment that takes you straight to the Telehealth). It's basically similar to a Zoom or Skype call but of higher quality. If you feel a bit intimidated by the technology, don't worry! I'm more than happy to guide you through it.
Effectiveness of online therapy
We know from scientific research that conducting therapy online has the same therapeutic effect as those carried out in person. Using this approach allows me to reach people further afield, people who may not be able to see me in person but may need support. An online therapy option is indeed very helpful for people with a chronic illness as many may simply not be well enough, or in a position, to leave their homes.
I charge £120 / $160 per session. Payments are to be made by debit or credit card before sessions are delivered online. The full cost of the session will apply for cancellations made with less than 24 hours' notice.
I am currently not on any insurance panels. Self-Pay only.