Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Easing Resistance to Psychological Intervention

This has proved the most effective introduction of the psychological referral:

Your physician knows that it is difficult to adjust after an injury. Pain and other limitations are difficult to accept and tolerate. Many patients would prefer not to take pain medication for extended period of time. And most patients would like to learn other ways of managing their pain and concerns without relying upon narcotics. Becoming anxious or depressed is not unusual following an injury. While there are medications to help with both, they alone are not the solution. You may have concerns about your future, how you will survive financially, how well the marriage is managing this period of your life and how your family is going to adapt.

Additionally, before some surgical procedures and even before trying some medications, your physician may want to know your capacity to cope with what is surgically planned for you.

The reason you are being referred to a psychologist is so that you and your physician may better understand your needs and how best to meet them. In order to do that, a psychological consultation is requested. With the information you provide the psychologist, a more effective treatment plan can be established which takes into consideration your unique and specific concerns. By having a better understanding of you, your history and your specific needs and concerns, it is then possible to outline a course of action that is more direct and targeted.

This may also be an opportunity for you to decide if you feel that you need return appointments with the psychologist to help you understand strategies to deal with your pain and limitations. It may also be a chance to have someone who helps you put into perspective what all of this means in the course of your life at this time and to help you sort through all of the emotions you are having right now.

A psychological referral is not a statement of your inability to cope, but it is an exploration of your strengths that will allow you to succeed. The first visit to the psychologist is a diagnostic session in which he determines your needs. No treatment occurs at that time, and it is much like getting an MRI or an xray; it is an opportunity to determine all the ways in which you are being emotionally impacted and how best to assist you. If you feel that you may wish a return visit, that can be decided after all the diagnostic data are examined.”

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