Health Psychology is a unique sub-field of Psychology that examines how psychological, biological, environmental, and social factors impact health and illness. While illness is, of course, determined in part by genetics or diseases, psychological factors (such as thoughts and behaviors) can also have a great deal of impact on a person’s health. Health Psychologists can help patients determine how these factors might be affecting their health, and then develop strategies for addressing these behaviors.
A Health Psychologist works with patients to make specific plans to help address psychological factors that affect health. The goal is to create an impact on the patient’s health functioning by making changes in behaviors, coping styles or thought processes.
Health Psychologists can also help patients who are dealing with chronic conditions or disability. Examples of these interventions might include developing:
Asthma patients whose asthma attacks are partly triggered by fears and worries
Enduring medical procedures (such as dental procedures; X-rays, MRIs, or other scans)
Many PsyCare clinicians are well-trained with respect to anxiety management and therapeutic approaches to coping with chronic illness and pain.