Mental health recovery
Why would I call Dr U a recovery service?
“Rehabilitation service” is an umbrella term. It points towards the teamwork of multiple professionals and it points towards each professional’s ability to draw expertly from various therapeutic models. All are needed to help the client and patient in their healing process. In my private practice, it means that I draw on my training in five therapeutic modalities: acceptance and commitment therapy; cognitive behavioural therapy; mindfulness-based therapy; existential psychotherapy; and grief therapy.
A rehabilitation service is a form of holistic working
In short, the rehabilitation service I offer helps our clients and patients to develop healing, hope and empowerment so that the impact of their suffering or illness is limited. Rehabilitation is often linked to restoring health. Wholistic rehabilitation works with a multidisciplinary team and incorporates psychological therapy, physical training or physiotherapy and occupational therapy. In our psychological rehabilitation therapy, we work with elements of grief therapy, ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy), mindfulness and compassion and existential psychotherapy.
How do different therapies contribute to rehabilitation services?
Grief therapy and compassion allows the client or patient to adjust to the new normal. For example, clients and patients who have been diagnosed with chronic pain will have to adjust to life in a body that hurts, even during non-strenuous work or pleasurable experiences. Giving up on a normal of a painless body can require the client or patient to grieve for a lost self.
Mindfulness is important to empower patients and clients to become aware of their life in the here and now. An illness that requires rehabilitation can leave a heightened vulnerability in people. For example, at least 50% of people who have overcome their first episode of depression will face another depressive episode in their lives. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy empowers the client and patient to notice early warning signs, to detach from unhelpful reactions and to respond mindfully to these signs.
The more serious the illness, the more likely it is that we will become aware of our own mortality. This is often not an easy realisation to bear. Whilst we all know that dying is part of living we often do our outmost to forget it. When illnesses, such as cancer, hit we might painfully realise how inauthentically we have been living. This is when existential therapy can come to the forefront of our rehabilitation work. It allows us to step back from the frenzy of who we think we must be, and seek to move towards embracing who we are.
Acceptance and commitment therapy can be used in our rehabilitation work too. It allows us to formulate the direction of your life and create a behavioural analysis and plan for how to achieve this. By utilising ACT we can create a space that we call “creative hopelessness”. A space that allows us to recognise that it is ok to not know all the answers now and that we might have to discover them bit by bit. It further requires transparency from me, the psychologist, to allow the client to understand that we might not be able to change an unwanted illness yet we can work with its impact.