Health Psychology focuses on disease prevention, the treatment of health problems through behavior modification, the promotion of health, and the identification of psychological and social causes of illness and disease. It is “devoted to understanding psychological influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they do get ill” (Taylor, 2006). This emphasis on everyday stress-related and behavioral concerns marks a shift from focusing on more severe mental illnesses.
Examples of people who may benefit from Health Psychology include:
- A person experiencing chronic, work-related stress who is diagnosed with heart disease.
- A person whose marital problems have apparently led to insomnia.
- Someone with migraine headaches that seem to worsen the day after she consumes alcohol.
- Someone who reacts to stress by overeating, causing weight problems.
A practice within the WellStar Medical Group, Health Psychology is comprised of doctoral-level clinical psychologists specializing in treatments for the following:
- Headache Treatment
- Insomnia Treatment
- Neuropsychological & Rehabilitation Psychology Services
- Pain Management
- Smoking Cessation
- Sports & Performance Psychology
- Weight Management
We provide evaluation, intervention, consultation, behavior modification, and psychotherapy to patients in cooperation with WellStar physicians. We collaborate with various service lines and medical specialties, including cardiology, oncology, pulmonary, psychiatry, neurology, and the bariatric (weight loss) surgery program.
Many referrals to Health psychologists are because of patients' emotions, like depression and anxiety. Others result from behavioral issues like treatment noncompliance, unhealthy eating, smoking, sleep disorders, or stress that causes somatic symptoms like headaches.
A Health Psychology evaluation is generally brief, usually a single meeting of 30 to 60 minutes, during which you will be asked about how long you have been dealing with the problem, how it has affected your life, and how you have attempted to deal with the problem in the past. After the assessment, interventions will generally consist of individual or group discussions of how to manage your problem more effectively. Most often, treatment involves cognitive, behavioral, and psychophysiology interventions.