Although pain management and major illnesses are generally considered the domain of medical professionals, the psychological impact on the individual makes counselling beneficial to many patients. It might seem like the physical aspects of the condition are more important, but it’s important to consider the psychological strain that illness and pain place on the individual. They are placed into a situation when they have to confront the possibility of death or deal with their inability to participate in hobbies they once enjoyed. Pain and major illness pervade into all aspects of the individual’s life, so there are significant advantages to talking with a therapist.
Major illnesses obviously cause some degree of psychological stress or even depression. A cancer diagnosis, for example, is often considered as synonymous with a death sentence. Although modern medicine can fight cancer off for some time in most cases, the individual is unlikely to think about their chances so objectively. Chemotherapy is also extremely uncomfortable, and the variety of side effects is causes can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Likewise, the pressures of many other major illnesses may require therapy to overcome.
Pain management is a more ever-present negative stimulus which affects the individual. Not only does it make previously enjoyed activities impossible or considerably more difficult to participate in, it can also contribute to feelings of depression, hopelessness, anger and sadness. It chips away at the individual’s emotional state, making them less likely to enjoy activities even if they’re still able to participate in them. If the pain is going to continue for an extended period of time it must be dealt with by a professional therapist, otherwise it may take over the individual’s existence.
The loved ones of those suffering from serious illnesses or chronic pain may also need support from a counsellor. Seeing somebody you care about deteriorate, possibly face early death or experience chronic pain isn’t easy, and many people feel a pressure to be “strong” for the sake of their loved one. Ignoring emotions isn’t healthy, and counselling sessions can give loved ones a safe place to express themselves without subjecting the affected individual to undue stress. A loved one might also be under increased pressure because he or she has to take on additional household responsibilities. Children and elderly relatives may also be indirectly affected by the individual’s condition.
Psychotherapy gives the affected individual and their loved ones a safe place in which to express their feelings, fears and concerns. The person who is suffering from the illness or chronic pain may feel the need to put on a brave face in front of loved ones, and may consequently ignore their true feelings. These emotions don’t go away; instead they manifest in other ways, such as general irritability or depression. The counsellor will help them deal with the illness, provide them with better stress management techniques and help them adapt their lives to their condition.
If you or your loved one is suffering from a major illness or chronic pain, it’s important to consider the psychological impact it’s having. Although medical treatment is obviously the priority, you shouldn’t ignore the emotional turmoil the condition may bring. If you’re having trouble determining whether counselling would be useful in you or your loved one’s situation, we can help you determine your requirements. We’ll explain the benefits of therapy to you, and will ensure you receive the support you need.
For more information about our costs for pain management counselling services please see the about us page.