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Patients & Visitors

Respiratory Services


Health Psychology Support

Health Psychology

Having a respiratory condition not only impacts on physical health, but can also affect psychological wellbeing such as thoughts, feelings, behaviours and relationships.

Managing the psychological aspects of a respiratory condition is considered to be equally as important as managing the medical aspects.

A health psychologist is part of the respiratory team to help improve psychological adjustment and overall quality of life.

Examples of the kinds of things a health psychologist might be able to help with are: adjusting to a new diagnosis or changes in a situation; making difficult decisions; managing treatments; managing the demands of daily life; changing lifestyle behaviours; coping with worries about the future; managing difficult feelings such as breathlessness, fear & panic, frustration, low mood, loss of confidence or anxiety; managing medical procedures as well as learning relaxation strategies and working out effective ways to talk to other people about the condition.

Living with a respiratory condition often involves dealing with feelings of breathlessness which can be challenging, frustrating and tiring. We know that there is a close link between body and mind in that bodily states such as changes in breathing can lead to changes in emotional states. Conversely, the experience of everyday emotions such as stress, nervousness and excitement can have a direct impact on our bodies and our breathing. A psychologist can help people understand this link and find ways of managing breathlessness and emotions.

People often wander whether seeing a psychologist means symptoms are "all in their mind" or that they are "going mad" or "weak". This is not the case.  A psychologist helps people manage normal, understandable emotional feelings associated with challenging physical symptoms. Seeing a psychologist is not a sign of weakness, rather the opposite, it is a proactive way of making positive changes in life and maintaining resilience.

People under the care of the respiratory service may be introduced to a psychologist during a hospital admission or at an outpatient clinic appointment as part of the multi-disciplinary team.

Referrals for psychological input on an outpatient basis are currently made via members of the respiratory team. A short number of outpatient sessions can be arranged.

Psychological input is offered for psychological needs related to a respiratory condition.

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