Health, Illness, and Psychotherapy

When illness strikes, protecting or restoring emotional well-being may require extra care and skillful support. 

 

 

Medical concerns, such as a new diagnosis of a serious illness, a decline in physical abilities, or the worsening of a long-standing health condition, inevitably present emotional and behavioral challenges as well as physical ones.

Challenges may include:

  • Coping with fear and anxiety….confronting the reality of a changed but uncertain future; day-to-day fears and worries as well as “existential anxiety”.
  • Learning to manage physically and emotionally distressing treatments, such as coping with medication side effects, painful procedures, surgeries, or chemotherapies.
  • Holding on to your identity as a unique individual while having to be a “patient” in a complex and often-impersonal medical system.
  • Deciding what to prioritize when experiencing periods of reduced energy or strength.
  • Figuring out how to communicate with family, loved ones, friends, and the workplace about your health. How much do you want to share, and with whom? What are the benefits and risks of self-disclosure in personal and professional relationships? How to respond to those who say well-meaning but unhelpful (or even hurtful) things?
  • Adapting to temporary or permanent changes in abilities.
  • Accepting and moving through the grief that may be experienced when unwelcome illness intrudes into life.
  • Identifying depression, if it occurs, as more than just grief, and learning to overcome it.
  • Sometimes, there is a need to confront choices about end-of-life, and to have a “safe space” in which to consider the most intimate and profound issues in accordance with your values.

 

Psychotherapy can help you live a more meaningful and satisfying and self-directed life, even in the face of serious illness.
Building on a foundation of a warm and trusting relationship with a professional, psychotherapy provides you with a private and encouraging space and skillful help to assist you in finding your best path toward:

 

  • Coming to terms with unexpected and unwanted changes; moving from sadness and anger to clarity and coping.
  • Crystallizing your values and priorities so that you can use your energy, strength, and time in the ways that are most important to you.
  • Deciding how to navigate changes in relationships, such as changes in intimacy in a primary relationship, or subtle changes in connections to friends and coworkers.
  • Learning specific skills to reduce anxiety so that you can better enjoy the health and wellness you do have.
  • Developing your best strategies for pacing yourself to maximize your well-being and minimize your symptoms and side-effects.
  • Personalizing wellness, that is, determining what makes your life most meaningful and most satisfying regardless of the presence of illness.
  • Facing difficult decisions with clarity and with the emotional strength to be your own best advocate.

I have many years experience in working with men and women experiencing life-changing medical concerns. I welcome the chance to support and accompany you on a part of your journey focusing on some or all of the goals identified above.

If you would like to explore how psychotherapy may be helpful to you, you are invited to contact me by phone for a cost-free, detailed initial discussion.  Telephone: 303-475-7987 or via email through this website’s “Contact” page.

When working with persons with major illness, I strive to maximize the positive impact of psychotherapy by:

  • Communicating with your medical caregivers (to the extent you wish and permit), so that there is clarity and coordination in your care.
  • Providing sessions via telephone or at the client’s home, or if necessary in the medical setting, if your condition limits your ability to visit my office.
  • Keeping your uniqueness and your humanity in the forefront of everything we do. You are much more than any medical diagnosis or treatment protocol.  We will work together to understand your experience of illness in the broader context of your life, your values, your goals, and your wishes. You are never a “cancer patient” or a “diabetes patient” or a “lung patient” in our work together — you are honored and supported as singular and valuable person with a story that includes illness but is about much more than illness.

If you have questions, you are warmly invited to contact me for a cost-free and detailed telephone consultation at: 303-475-7987.
Or, you may reach out by sending a message from the “
Contact” of this website.