Wondering what health psychology is and how it might help you? According to the American Psychology Association, Health Psychologists are “experts in the intersection of health and behavior,” who examine “how biological, social and psychological factors influence the choices we make about our health.” (Source)
The following are the top 3 reasons you might consider working with a clinical health psychologist to optimize your health and well being.
- Healthy Recovery
Health psychologists specialize in helping people recover from an illness or injury, such as cancer, sports injury or a surgical procedure. From coaching patients on ways to follow through on treatment recommendations, or using mind-body techniques such as guided imagery to visualize desired health outcomes and boost immune system responses in the field of psychoneuroimmunology, health psychologists can be found in multiple roles throughout the recovery process.
- Healthy Coping
Likewise, health psychologists help patients who are struggling with chronic or acute health conditions or diseases such as chronic pain, brain injury symptoms, or cancer treatment, cope with their symptoms and the effects of their health on their sense of self and relationship to others. This may happen through supportive talk therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), instruction in stress-management techniques, or support groups to help patients process their thoughts and emotions about their illness and make healthy choices for themselves going forward.
- Healthy Prevention
Finally, health psychologists can help people prevent illness and achieve and maintain optimal health. This may involve using evidence-based techniques such as CBT and Motivational Interviewing to change unhealthy behaviors and support healthier habits, such as helping someone with smoking cessation and increasing physical activity, or teaching relaxation techniques to prevent stress-based illnesses.
Wellness is multi-factorial and a health psychologist can help you in many ways to maintain the health you do have, identify healthy goals to increase wellbeing, and to cope with any changes that occur along the way. Consider investing your time in yourself and your health by scheduling a consultation to see how Integrative Psychology and Behavioral Medicine can help you with your goals of optimal health and wellbeing.
“Dr. Sarah Gray is a Harvard Medical School-affiliated clinical psychologist who has a Boston-area private practice: Integrative Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. For more information please visit www.drsarahgray.com“