What is Health Psychology?

It used to be thought that in order to treat an illness, injury, or any physical symptom, physicians and medications were the only effective resources. While there is no question that we need to consult with a physician and follow through with recommended medical tests and treatments, physicians and medication are not the only resources available to us.

Research in the last 50 years has confirmed again and again the powerful influence our thoughts and feelings have on the way our body functions, as well as the powerful influence our body has on our thoughts and feelings. The mind and body are constantly interacting. We know that people who are hopeful and motivated to improve tend to heal faster from injuries than those who are depressed, angry and demoralized. Research has only just begun to explore the underlying physiological processes that explain this. The most exciting finding is that we can do a lot to help ourselves relieve suffering and promote healing and recovery by using our inner resources.

This is where health psychology comes in. The main goal is to help us alter our thoughts, emotions and reactions to promote better health and quality of life, no matter what the diagnosis might be, and no matter what the injury or symptom.

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