"When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." Viktor Frankl
Long-term conditions and quality of life
If you live with a chronic illness, 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. Indeed, living with a chronic illness can be stressful! You may even grieve for the life you once had but are no longer able to live and you may worry about future uncertainties.
Dealing with health care services can also be really frustrating, even upsetting, especially if you have been diagnosed with a poorly understood condition. In addition, your healthcare provider may tell you to lose weight or exercise more but these things are sometimes difficult to achieve for various reasons.
If you feel you are struggling with any of these issues or something else related to your illness, and you want to improve your quality of life, 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 condition and its symptoms 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 health psychology theories and scientific evidence, I use various evidence based and established therapeutic interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Pain Management, stress, anger, trauma and grief work. The aim is to restore daily functioning and minimize the many consequences of chronic illness on your quality of life.
I incorporate and teach practical and simple mindfulness techniques based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum. Mindfulness is proven to help people tolerate difficult emotions and also helps people cope more effectively with their daily lives, reducing pain and anxiety among other things.
Support and validation!
Let's not forget about the importance of having your experiences validated, not minimized and to feel a sense of acknowledgement and support. Unfortunately, concerns by people with a chronic illness are all too often dismissed leaving patients feeling unheard, frustrated and even stupid. Understandably, this, in itself, can create a lot of emotional reactions like anger, shame and hopelessness making symptoms seem worse and reducing your quality of life.
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 weeks or months. Some may see me for longer but 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 telemedicine service that is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, easy to use and is available free of charge. It's basically similar to a Skype call.
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 they may simply not be well enough, or in a position, to leave their homes.
For those who are interested in learning comprehensive and evidence-based pain management skills, I also offer a client-centered, Pain Management Program that usually consists of approximately 12 sessions over a period of three months (with plenty of support and home-work!). It's important to remember that adding psycho-social and educational approaches to pain management doesn't mean your pain is 'all in the head'. Far from it! It's about learning new skills to manage your pain better. Indeed, chronic pain can be very unpredictable, stressful and hard to manage, bringing with it a multitude of emotions such as anxiety, frustrations, anger, hopelessness and depression. We know from scientific research (and I also know from personal experience) that chronic pain is best targeted from different angles; medication, medical interventions (e.g. radiofrequency ablation, botox), complementary therapies (e.g. acupuncture, massage) and physical activity (e.g. physio, yoga) but also by providing pain education, exploring coping strategies, adding stress, anger and behaviour management approaches (ACT, CBT), visual imagery and mindfulness techniques among other things. You'd be surprised how that can improve your experience of pain no matter what is causing it. Basically, it's about re-training your brain to respond more appropriately to pain signals.
I charge $160 per session (about 120 British Pounds).
Payments are to be made by bank transfer, TransferWise or via PayPal 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.
"Acceptance doesn't mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there's got to be a way through it." Michael J. Fox