What is Health Psychology?
“Health Psychology is the aggregate of the specific educational, scientific, and professional contributions of the discipline of psychology to the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness and the identification of etiologic and diagnostic correlates to health, illness, and related dysfunction.”
(Matarazzo, 1980, p. 8150)
Health Psychology uses scientific and professional contributions from the discipline of psychology to understand the cause of illness and to enhance the effectiveness of treatment. It takes into consideration the biological factors of illness such as genetic predisposition and the psychological factors such as a person's stress levels, lifestyle and health beliefs as well as the social context - an individuals, culture, social supports and family relationships. It works on the principle that mind and body are one and the same, therefore what affects the body must affect the mind and vice a versa.
As a Health Psychologist I utilize my knowledge and understanding of the discipline when working with clients seeking my help. A person might seek support coming to terms with a recent diagnosis or when coping with a chronic health issues. While working with a Health Psychologist one can expect to gain a deeper understanding of different coping mechanisms available both internally and externally. It has been shown that gaining this awareness has a beneficial effect on both health and treatment outcomes. Our sessions together will allow such insights to foster and grow.