Psychosomatic medicine is rooted in the idea of a mind-body connection, which
believes that what a person experiences emotionally and mentally can affect his
or her body. The medical community now fully recognizes the value of
psychotherapy: today, state of the art Western clinics offer patients
complementary counseling or psychotherapy if they have to deal with severe
diseases like cancer, genetic diseases, Parkinsonís disease, cardiovascular
diseases and other serious disorders, or if patients require difficult surgical
procedures. Often, therapeutic counseling is also offered if someone has to deal
with infertility, psychosomatic illness, allergies or other burdening physical
problems where psychological factors might play a part.
Psychotherapy has been shown to improve compliance and reduce
fears and phobias related to treatment procedures. It can further help reduce
anxiety and depression and improve communication with the physicians.
Observational studies evaluating the psychosocial status of patients with severe
diseases like cancer even showed that patients with low levels of social and
emotional support, or that suffered from chronic depression were more likely to
die from cancer. Studies by the American oncologist Susan Levy, for example,
demonstrated that breast cancer patients that had poor adjustment and lack of
social support had lower natural killer cell activity (natural killer cell
activity predicts disease progression and disease recurrence).
Since some results of similar studies have proved too
insignificant, there are still lots of research to be done to find out about the
exact correlation of emotional well-being and physical recovery when having to
face disease. However, as complementary counseling or psychotherapy during
treatment and recovery can improve quality of living remarkably and contribute
to a more balanced emotional state, this kind of support should always be
considered as an important part of a holistic treatment approach. Way too often,
patients recovering from surgeries or severe diseases develop depression or
anxiety, and often enough it is on us - good friends or relatives - to help them
do the necessary steps to regain their mental wellbeing and strength as well.
Live the happy life you planned! Richard L.
Fellner is head of the Counseling Center Pattaya in Soi Kopai and
offers consultations in English and German languages after making an
appointment at 0854 370 470.