Chronic Illness & CBT For Mental Health: An Introductory Guide

Whether you recently received a diagnosis of chronic illness, or are years into your journey, you’ve likely wrestled with the intense mental health challenges that can follow a diagnosis. It’s not surprising that the uncertainty, lifestyle changes, and costly or even painful treatments often come with emotions such as depression, grief, sadness, denial, and anxiety.

When working through living with chronic illness, it can be common for doctors and caregivers to focus primarily on your physical health, and to forget to lean into your wellness on a mental and emotional level. While there is a growing awareness of the clear connections between mental and physical health, a lot of chronic illness patients require more quality care and support as they navigate the ups and downs of their mental health every day. In fact, taking care of your emotional health is critical to improving longevity and quality of life, especially for chronic illness patients. 

Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Chronic Illness 

With 45% of our population now living with chronic illness, it’s more important than ever to seek out quality mental health care that works. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is fast becoming a helpful form of psychotherapy relied upon by those living with chronic illness to improve their stress management over time. This type of therapy focuses on adjusting the way an individual living with chronic illness thinks about their experience, limitations, and future. 

How CBT Can Help

CBT helps to significantly reduce the anxiety and depression that can accompany life with chronic illness, targeting changes in thoughts, feelings, and habits that can vastly improve the patient’s perception of their quality of life. For those experiencing chronic pain, for instance, James L. McAbee, Ph.D. states “The overarching goals of CBT [for chronic pain] are to promote … coping by increasing self-efficacy in the management of pain, reduce avoidant behaviors… reduce negative or unhelpful beliefs about their pain, reduce negative mood symptoms, increase physical activity, to shift the perspective.

If you’re struggling with your chronic illness diagnosis or know someone who is, CBT do just that: helping to provide an objective perspective and encourage problem-solving, mindfulness, stress mitigation, and other self-management skills. Working with a CBT therapist in online group therapy can be the first step toward a mental health management plan and the improvement of your emotional wellbeing over time. CBT can be the tool you need to regain a sense of emotional empowerment over your present day, and your future living with your diagnosis. 

Group Therapy for Chronic Illness

Grouport’s Chronic Illness online therapy groups provide a sense of understanding, belonging, support and community along with licensed therapist-led CBT. Members of our private Chronic Illness groups are guided by their therapists through a series of key steps which help to diminish both the negative mental and physical side effects of living with a Chronic Illness.

The primary therapy goals for those living with chronic illness are to:

  • Help them understand it
  • Maintain a healthy sense of independence
  • Connect to their community
  • Pursue things that bring pleasure back into their lives

If you’re ready to rediscover hope with group therapy for chronic illness, START HERE. 

April 28, 2022

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