When To Seek Psychological Consultation
Initial Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a complicated medical illness or condition can bring with it disbelief, emotional distress, and even shock. Uncertainty regarding prognosis and type of treatment needed can feel overwhelming initially. Brief psychological consultation can help alleviate distress and assist you with developing a coping plan. Psychological care at the time of initial diagnosis also establishes a platform to return to if psychological treatment is necessary again at other times throughout the illness continuum.
Impact of Treatment

Cancer treatment and medical treatment for chronic illnesses can bring with it disruption to quality of life. Psychological care aimed at enhancing coping and stress management can reduce the negative impact of treatment side-effects and arm you with effective strategies to diminish disruption in physical, social, and emotional functioning.

Disease Recurrence

Regardless of disease prognosis fear of recurrence can feel overwhelming and consume your thinking. Whether you are fearful of future recurrence or have experienced an actual disease recurrence psychological care can help you learn ways to manage intrusive thoughts and can help you keep a present-day focus and regain a sense of control.

Survivorship Issues

Patients are often surprised that emotional distress can increase after treatment is completed and disease is cured or in remission. Yet this is often the time that psychological treatment is most indicated. Once treatment is completed social support and follow-up with the medical team decreases which can be anxiety provoking. Psychological consultation at this venture can assist you to increase your confidence in coping more independently as you move forward. Also it is at this time that some patients may benefit from exploring the meaning of their illness experience.
Palliative Care

Invasive medical treatments and advanced-stage disease often cause difficult physical side-effects and emotional distress. Symptom management that includes psychological care ensures that the whole patient along with their family are being supported. Psychological interventions can assist with pain and symptom management, enhance communication between loved ones, and allow for exploration of challenging thoughts and feelings in a supportive confidential environment.

Loss

Medical illness can of course bring with it a deep sense of loss. Loss of physical and social functioning; loss of employment or financial security; and loss of a sense of future. Progressive illness or discontinuing medical treatment also can trigger loss and concerns over possible end-of-life. Emotional processing in the form of psychological care can help increase insight around these issues and provide a caring and useful arena to discuss your thoughts and feelings. And for those who have lost a loved one to cancer or other terminal illness assistance with bereavement and grief are available.