Counselling for a healthy body and mind
28th July, 20110 Comments
While counselling has been well known for many years as an affective therapy for depression, few are aware of how counselling and psychotherapeutic intervention can help to heal or prevent an array of disorders, both mentally and physically.
Working as a medical secretary for many years before becoming a counsellor gave me a valuable insight into the medical histories of thousands of patients. Over time it became very apparent that those who suffered either ongoing stress or some sort of mental disharmony eventually fell pray to physical disorders too.
To me the evidence was glaringly obvious, where there had been some kind of prolonged or very involved emotional disturbance so down the line there was some kind of physical disorder. However, within the very scientific space of a medical practice it seemed that what I could see was going unnoticed by the doctors. In the end I cornered one of the doctors and asked him what percentage of the disorders he dealt with could be due to stress. His answer, said swiftly and definitely, was a staggering 98%. So with all of his scientific training and with all of his many decades of prescribing drugs, in affect this doctor believed that most disorders the average GP sees can be treated with counselling.
It’s a very small step to take to understand how it is possible that so many physical and mental disorders are due to stress. At the physical level we are all aware of how when the body is under stress it releases a hormone called cortisol, however it has been found that this is also produced in those who are depressed. When cortisol is produced for extended periods of time it can lead to numerous physical disorders such as suppressed thyroid function, decrease in bone density, high blood pressure, fatigue, lowered immunity and inflammatory response.
Undertaking counselling through particularly stressful times or when depressed can be invaluable in helping in alleviating this increase in cortisol. When I say stressful times I don’t just mean during times of extreme anxiety such as a divorce, but organising and planning a wedding can also be extremely stressful. Sometimes daily life, such as juggling a full time job with childcare can be very stressful.
Many may not realise that organs can actually store emotions. People who suffer with recurrent indigestion can often be treated with counselling, because it is the locked-in emotion that causes the discomfort. With the help of a counsellor, by focusing on parts of the body that feel painful or blocked in some way, emotions can often rise to the surface that have been locked-in, sometimes for years.
The digestive tract seems particularly susceptible to emotions and in fact science has now proven that we have billions of neurotransmitters in our stomach, similar to the brain. Studies have shown that small doses of antidepressants can quickly clear up irritable bowel syndrome. Of course those that prefer a more natural approach could choose counselling.
So visiting a counsellor can be invaluable to anyone suffering from various forms of ailments, both physically and mentally, that may be stress related.
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Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
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