Research has shown the strong impact that our psychological health has on our physical health and well being, and vice versa.  Because our mental and physical health work so closely together, it’s important to pay attention to both in therapy and address them in a holistic and  complementary way. Dallas CBT provides specialized health psychology interventions using cognitive behavioral therapy that target a wide range of health concerns, from specific health behaviors (e.g., eating; smoking) to medical diagnoses (e.g., adjustment to cancer diagnoses; terminal illness).  CBT can help improve your physical and mental health by improving health behaviors, preventing illness or the worsening of a medical condition, improving stress management, and helping cope with a medical condition.

At Dallas CBT, you will work with a health psychologist with an extensive background in the intersection of physical and psychological health.  Cognitive behavioral therapy for health concerns is often a shorter-term treatment that involves hands-on strategies to improve overall health, increase your understanding of the different factors impacting your health, and ease anxiety, stress, and sadness about medical problems.

Therapy can help if you experience any of the following:

  • Adjusting to a new or changing medical condition
  • Becoming preoccupied with symptoms or perceived changes in your condition
  • Trouble staying consistent with your medical treatment
  • An ongoing quality of life change following a medical diagnosis
  • Symptoms that are impacted by your stress level and vice versa
  • Difficulty maintaining healthy lifestyle choices
  • Having tried to stop (or start) certain health behaviors repeatedly without success

Therapy for Health Concerns

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective, research-supported approach to treating a variety of health concerns: 1) Improving health behaviors and overall health and preventing illness, 2) adjusting to a medical diagnosis, and 3) improving stress management to enhance health outcomes.  CBT for health problems targets unhelpful patterns of thoughts and behaviors to improve motivation, stress, and, ultimately, physical health. Aspects of this therapy includes 1) increasing awareness of how your stress and mental health impacts your physical health, 2) changing ways of thinking that are interfering with your wellbeing, and 3) hands-on strategies to improve health.

Read more about therapy for specific health conditions:

Obesity/Weight Loss: CBT for weight loss involves learning effective lifestyle changes to improve your eating and physical activity habits as well as your mood and stress management strategies to help you reach your goals.  Exploring the factors that contributed to the weight gain and discussing previous unsuccessful weight loss attempts helps to provide direction for your new approach. You will learn how to effectively monitor your daily routine to identity unhelpful patterns that your therapist will then guide you to adjust.  This includes working on changing your relationship with food, developing healthy eating habits, addressing unhelpful thought patterns about food and body image, learning to navigate social and family pressures surrounding diet and exercise, and finding enjoyable ways to increase physical activity in your routine.  Working with our health psychologist offers you the opportunity to incorporate a holistic approach into cultivating your new lifestyle, as factors such as anxiety, depression, and stress play a significant role in weight loss success.

Insomnia: CBT for insomnia focuses on addressing unhelpful beliefs and thoughts about sleep and adjusting habits that interfere with your ability to obtain not only enough sleep, but also good quality sleep.  The interventions are geared toward helping you to increase the amount of sleep you are getting over time in an effective approach that enables you to get your sleep cycle back on track in a healthy and sustainable way.  Your therapist will also guide you in modifying daily habits in your sleep routine to increase the restfulness of your sleep. Factors that contribute to your sleep difficulties such as depression, stress, and anxiety can be seamlessly addressed along with the insomnia to further your success of improving your sleep.

Cancer:  The various phases of the cancer process come with different influences on your emotional wellbeing.  Our health psychologist can help you cope with the initial impact of a new cancer diagnosis on both your mood, physical health, lifestyle, and relationships.  You will be provided with the support you need to address the stress, sadness, and worry that can occur as you endure the medical treatments you receive from your oncology team.  Therapy can also be beneficial for navigating fears about cancer returning after treatment is completed and to explore thoughts about the meaning behind your cancer experience.

Terminal Illness/Palliative Care:  Therapy can help individuals process and navigate the adjustment to receiving a terminal medical condition diagnosis, as well as provide support for those who are approaching end of life and seeking palliative care.  CBT can provide you with coping strategies for responding to the sadness, stress, and worry that can accompany this phase of life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) will help you to focus on a values-based approach to living fully and with meaning.

Smoking Cessation:  Therapy for smoking cessation helps you give up your smoking habit for good by helping you discover and define your motivations for quitting.  You will learn coping skills to overcome cravings and avoid relapse. You will be provided with alternative approaches to managing the stress that may trigger your desire to smoke and develop strategies to help you sustain a healthy lifestyle free from tobacco.

Chronic Pain:  Chronic pain results in both physical and emotional discomfort, and both physical and emotional factors can influence your experience of pain.  Therapy will increase your understanding of the factors that contribute to your unique pain experience. This will enable you to adjust your lifestyle to decrease the factors that increase your pain intensity, such as depression, anxiety, and unhelpful thoughts about pain, and increase the factors that lower your pain levels, such as improved mood management and increased engagement in hobbies and social life.  You will be provided with tools that enable you to adjust your lifestyle in a way that allows you to feel more capable and in charge of your daily routine, increases your functioning, and improves your quality of life.

Other medical conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes:  Stress can play a major role in the course of a wide variety of medical conditions, including high blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, and pain.  This works both directions, as the stress can have an unhelpful impact on the medical condition, and the medical condition itself can influence your stress and mood.  Working with our health psychologist can help you to address this cycle in the context of your unique medical condition. You will learn effective coping strategies to deal with the stress that accompanies managing a medical condition.  Unhelpful thought patterns that cause a barrier to reducing your stress will be addressed. Therapy will help you to move toward increased overall wellness so that more of your time and energy can be spent on the other things in your life that bring value and meaning to your days.

Therapy with a health psychologist can help you:
  • Understand and improve factors that influence your condition
  • Learn positive lifestyle changes to improve your wellbeing
  • Gain helpful coping skills to enhance your mood and health
  • Change unhelpful beliefs related to your health
  • Practice behaviors to help you live more fully and meaningfully