How can Counselling help in Healthcare?
How does one feel that he has been diagnosed with a disease or a disorder? How the family would feel? Have you ever experienced or witnessed someone close to you being diagnosed with a problem? The feelings and emotions that the people go through is simply subjective, but how can they feel better about it and how can the person feel better about the situation? These are few questions that can make us jump to an answer that doctors are there for that, they guide and do the things that are required. But do you think that we all perceive and interpret things on the same level? No we don’t. Let us consider 2 people, both of them just got diagnosed with diabetes, then the reactions of both them are likely to be different, one might feel okay about the situation whereas the other person might start having anxiousness about it or simply feel extremely sad about it. Again it differs, every situation is different for each and every individual. It could also be possible that the person who was okay with the situation at the beginning might start having emotional and mental disturbance while managing or coping with the problem in day to day life. There could be multiple possibilities if you look at the reaction aspect. But the main question that arises here is that, how can these issues and disturbances be managed in a healthy and professional way? You all might have guessed the answer from the title, yes, you are right, a Counsellor. There is a lot of misconception when it comes to understanding who is a counsellor as well Counselling. According to American Psychological Society, Counselling psychologist help people with physical, emotional and mental health problems, improve their sense of well-being, elevate feelings of distress and resolve crisis. According to APA, a Counsellor is someone who is professionally competent in relevant psychological skills and knowledge and seeks to assist the client. It is not just a mere process of talking and listening.
When you look at the chronic diseases and the process of the same, there is a lot more to it. Naming few aspects that one could be experiencing are fear, stress, and anticipation, waiting for the results, hoping for a positive outcome, panic, shock and relief. These are just a few things that constantly originate in the minds of the people and their family members. The degree of it can vary as understood earlier. It is the process that occurs before the disease being actually diagnosed. What happens next? How do they react and accept it? There is a large population in the world who face a chronic illness and they find it very difficult to adjust with it and their inability to adjust and accept the situation produces emotional and behavioral changes. If we look at the numbers, according to the figures provided by live mint, over 20% of India’s population suffer from chronic disease. The most common chronic diseases are heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, kidney diseases, and lung diseases. These diseases or for that matter any other disease not just brings in a lot of stress but other emotional as well as adjustment issues. One has to make so many changes in their lifestyle, habits and behaviors. It takes a certain amount of will power and dedication to change yourself and inculcate new behavior that one has to learn in order to make the functioning smooth and efficient. It gets very important for the patient as well as the family members to have a positive perception on the disease. The way they perceive and gain education about it plays an important role, because the degree of emotions that they will show holds high chances of influencing the perception and mood of the patient. Slight changes in a normal lifestyle can be uncomfortable but just imagining how stressing it could be for in dealing with the changes one has to make because of the disease. This is the time where a Counselor can help the patient to deal with it effectively and efficiently. There is not a clear picture of the numbers of Counselors for Counseling the patients with diseases apart from mental health disorders. The point that needs to be noticed is that they can bring a major change in the life of the patient as well as the family members by providing them the extra helping hand which sometimes they cannot get from the doctor.
Stress is the most common development that can be seen in patients with chronic diseases. Better do they know that it can hamper their condition and make them more ill or worsen the situation. Untreated stress can hinder with the treatment and management of the disease. It can also lead to extreme conditions like depression if it goes untreated for a longer period of time. Most alarming fact here would be that stress can reduce the efficiency of the immune system. It can be understood that it has some serious consequences and it needs to be tackled in order to bring a healthy change. Counseling for patients who has been diagnosed with the disease or has been fighting with one can make the patient more aware about his/her condition and not only that, the fact that they have a disease can be accepted. Enrolling in counseling sessions could have multiple benefits for the patients and even the members of family. The person with disease gets an environment which is non-judgmental and respects the degree of their vulnerability. Sometimes it can happen that the person is not fully aware about the disease and what exactly it is. Gaining knowledge about it can help in reducing their worries because they understand that it is not what they thought it is and will be. Even for normal people, there are multiple perceptions of a disease that are not always correct and when they share it, a wrong meaning and perception is spread about it. A Counselor can truly help in educating about the problem. This is can be considered as a first and important step. Counselor can help the person to accept the disease, which in itself is a major aspect because most of the people deny their condition and find it really difficult to accept, but when they accept the reality it becomes a bit easier for them to proceed. Counselor can help with the management of the disease and add activities that are going to help the person manage the disease in a healthy manner. There are a lot of things in a lifestyle that people don’t agree to change no matter what, but a Counselor can help in making those changes and that is ultimately going to impact the individual. Counselor can help in stabilizing the emotional disturbances in the family because of the illness. Overall if you look at it in most basic sense it helps in providing the patient with hope, motivation and will power to fight against the disease. Not everything related to the disease can be in your hands but you can definitely change those aspects and gain a sense of control. Any disease can bring a lot of challenges which cannot always be tackled by an individual. It is better to seek help from someone who can calm the individual and the family. Not only this you can share your experiences with others and encourage them to generate willpower and motivation that is required. You can experience Counselling, observe the positive changes it brings in you and then spread the word to bring about a change in the society.