Physical disabilities are certainly not 'all in the mind', but psychology and in particular the psychological approach taken towards a disability, or a physical symptom, have been shown to be crucial in how well people overcome their disability to achieve their life goals.
Everyone copes with physical disability differently. Those born with disabilities tend better adjusted and able to cope than those whose disabilities came later in life.
Feeling annoyed, sad or depressed, terrified, ashamed, frustrated, confused, helpless, inadequate, embarrassed, numb, are just some of the feelings someone with a disability or chronic illness can have. All these feelings that can lead to an individual becoming socially isolated. To be able to work through these feelings with a professional allows you create strategies to deal with these feelings and consider how to focus on the future.
Another effect of the disability is pain-related fear of movement, or 'Kinesiophobia' and contributes massively to disability in a variety of physical conditions. These include the spine, knee and shoulder, foot and ankle. Kinesiophobia is as a debilitating fear of activity arising from sensing vulnerability to painful injury or re-injury. The 'Fear Avoidance Model', or FAM, of hurting, argues that, for example, pain-related fear of movement over the longer term exacerbates chronic tenderness and disability.
The sensation of soreness can be catastrophically misinterpreted, producing fear of pain, Kinesiophobia, avoidance, and hyper vigilance. Psychologists feel there are basically two categories of people based on their response to pain: confronters and avoiders. Confronters view pain as non-threatening, as a direct result they tend to experience less interference with daily activities, and thus have a quicker recovery. Avoiders see aches as threatening and resort to avoiding movement associated with hurting. These avoidances in turn lead to further pain and disability.
Exploring attitudes to disability and psychological coping strategies don't mean having to 'talk about your childhood'. Instead problem-solving and pragmatic approaches aim to help maximize recovery from physical disability using the most powerful tool – the mind.
Clinical Partners have a team of Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists and family therapists who are trained in this area and will be able to offer support and help.
By calling our Team on 0203 326 9160 you will be able to talk in confidence about your situation and we can recommend a specialist to assist you.
If you're struggling with an emotional or mental health problem, call us now to make an appointment face-to-face or online - and take the first step in getting the support you need.