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Complementary Medicine – DrPullen.com – Medical and Health Blog

Category Archives: Complementary Medicine

Psychotherapy: Improving Coping Skills for Cancer Patients

 by Melanie Bowen guest contributor.  The stress of a cancer diagnosis or the rigorous aspect that treatment places on a patient can be damaging to their mental health, causing depression and anxiety.  Fortunately, psychotherapy can help these patients cope with their illness and harness any negative thoughts so that a mental well being can be established.

Whether facing a mesothelioma diagnosis or undergoing bone marrow treatment, cancer patients will learn and take control of their feelings and behaviors during psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy may be administered by a variety of licensed mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, counselors, or social workers.  While psychotherapy is commonly perceived to exist strictly between a professional and a patient, group therapy with family members or other patients may also take place and provide positive results.

Therapy for cancer patients may focus on a variety of tasks, including the development of coping mechanisms, self-exploration, and personal assignments to keep the patient focused on their therapy.

A particularly helpful type of psychotherapy is cognitive therapy.  Cognitive therapy is aimed to change certain behaviors or negative thought processes, similar to those that a cancer patient may possess when undergoing a rigorous treatment.

The therapist achieves this goal by redirecting those thoughts and creating an internal dialogue that is positive rather than harmful, such as by encouraging positive self-talk during a therapy session.  The therapist may also ask the patient to complete “homework” assignments between sessions, such as having them create a list of things that they like about themselves.

Family psychotherapy may also be helpful to the patient and their loved ones as it should address any relationship strains and the devastating impact that cancer can have on a family.  To be successful, all family members need to actively participate in this type of therapy so that the patient can communicate with their family more effectively and address any feelings that have remained unresolved.

One type of psychotherapy that every cancer patient should partake in is group therapy.  There has been widespread evidence that group therapy can improve mood and adjustment levels and strengthen coping skills in those with cancer.

These groups are facilitated by a mental health professional and may meet on a regularly scheduled basis, providing a support group for the cancer patient and a sense of stability. Group therapy has been found to reduce anxiety for those with cancer as it is an atmosphere where patients can express their feelings and learn how others deal with similar feelings as well.

While psychotherapy is not intended to cure cancer, it is a powerful way to improve the quality of life and provide coping skills for those who are going through a diagnosis or treatment of cancer.  Cancer patients often experience depression and anxiety, so it is important to find ways to alleviate this stress and enjoy life on a higher level.

Whether you are battling breast cancer, on a bumpy ride with leukemia or simply trying to get through your mesothelioma treatment, remember a successful road to recovery is always easier when one has a positive mindset. Talk to your doctor today and alleviate some of your everyday cancer stressors and get out there and feel better about yourself inside and out!

Melanie Bowen: I joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2011 as an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives. You will often find me highlighting the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. I also assist in social media outreach in my efforts to spread awareness.  http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/melanie/

Health Benefits of Meditation

Health Benefits of Meditation by Jenni Sunde, guest author Meditation, when used as a health tool, can significantly increase an individual’s sense of well-being, while simultaneously reducing stress.  Abundant research has shown that meditation can lower blood pressure, ease chronic pain, reduce stress and depression, improve concentration, and even boost the immune system.  All of… Continue Reading

Que She: Neither Natural Nor Safe Says the FDA

The FDA released a warning about an over the counter product called Que She marketed as an “all natural” herbal supplement to help with weight loss.  The FDA states that this supposedly all natural supplement actually contains four drugs, one of which have been previously marketed by prescription but withdrawn from the market because of… Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana – The Wrong Patients Want it.

I frequently have patients ask me about using medical marijuana.  Unfortunately they are not the patients I think would benefit most from its use.  I found a very good article in Psychiatric News that discussed the issue in detail and with good balance.  The evidence is scant, but suggests some usefulness of medical marijuana for… Continue Reading

Celebrity Advice – not necessarily helpful

This article originally published in KevinMD.com addresses the issues related to celebrity medical advice.  Even celebrity physicians sometimes seem more interested in personal notoriety  than giving helpful advice.   If you have a couple of minutes, click through to the original Slate article. By: Kevin, M.D.  |  January 14, 2010 Celebrities are given an increasing number… Continue Reading