Medical psychology

From ArticleWorld

Medical psychology is a practice of psychology that considers the mind and the body to be one and so all ill-health must involve both whether the problem be mental or physical. It was an idea originally put forward by Socrates, but was replaced in popular theory by Rene Descartes’ theory of dualism. ie. that the mind is a thinking thing and so immaterial. The body is a material structure and so the two are separate.

The resurgence of the former theory is said to be partly due to the ineffectiveness of the treatments of some conditions such as migraines and cancer where it was thought that mental processes were just as important as the physical. It was also proposed that supposedly incurable diseases had a psychological aspect that needed to be treated as well.

Treatment philosophy

The aim of medical psychologists is to combine the knowledge and practice of all aspects of psychology and medicine in the treatment of disease. This involves everything from studying personality and coping style to the determination of genetic, biochemical and physiologic influences in ill health. After a further examination of the psychosocial aspects contributing to the disease, behavioural methods are applied which match the patient’s management skills to their abilities and character.

Patient education

Central to medical psychology is the premise that patients and their families be educated about the disease that afflicts them. The idea is that they then follow the treatment process more faithfully. Some of the conditions successfully treated in this way are asthma, heart problems, spinal cord and brain injuries, headaches and addictions.