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Counseling for Chronic Disease, Chronic Pain, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

The doctor’s diagnosis detonated a bomb in your life.

No one told you what to expect when they handed you the stack of prescriptions and treatment instructions.  There was no mention of how difficult it would be to do simple things you’d taken for granted. Or all the time you’d spend in and out of medical appointments.  How insensitive people would be because you don’t look sick.  Or the frustration, isolation, and worry you’d feel.

Now you’re anxious and depressed on top of having a chronic illness, chronic pain, and/or chronic fatigue.

Your family tells you to stay positive.  Your friends say you should stop thinking about it and just push through. Your doctor just hands you another prescription when you explain how you’re feeling, emotionally. But another pill and “snapping out of it” aren’t going to help you deal with:

  • The mental fog
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Fear of things you enjoyed because they might trigger your symptoms
  • Mourning the loss of your health
  • Feeling isolated because making and keeping plans is hard
  • Worrying about your next episode will happen
  • Worrying you’re worrying too much
  • Feeling useless and unproductive while you sit at home

Counseling can help you cope with chronic disease, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue.

It’s normal for anxiety and depression to follow chronic disease, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue. Our team of licensed psychologists uses a variety of treatment modalities to help you achieve a high quality of life despite your diagnosis, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Meditation & Mindfulness, Neurofeedback, and Hypnosis.  They understand the psychological effects of and the medical science underlying these chronic conditions, allowing them to work effectively alongside your medical team.  Centrally located in Miami, Florida, they offer psychotherapy in both English and Spanish to help you and your family members cope after diagnosis of:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Lyme disease
  • Hypertension/high blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart attack & stroke)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g. Hashimoto’s)
  • Hyper- and hypo- thyroidism
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Neuropathy
  • Persistent sports injury
  • Headaches/migraines

You probably have more questions about therapy for chronic disease, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue.

Here are some of the most common questions that people seeking treatment for chronic illness, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue frequently ask us.

Some people feel better after a couple of sessions and it takes longer for others  It really depends on the severity of the anxiety and/or depression, the presence of one or both those conditions, and how well medically managed your chronic condition is.

No, we’re psychologists (not psychiatrists), so we don’t prescribe medications. (You can click here to learn more about the difference).  We respect whatever your decision regarding medications, and we’ll do our best to provide you with the support you need to achieve your goals in therapy.

Absolutely.  Dr. Martinez-Mesa welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with your team of physicians to make sure you get comprehensive care.  As a trained physician himself, Dr. Martinez-Mesa is able to communicate effectively with other physicians about your medical diagnosis and mental health (not every therapist can do this with such ease). 

You’ll need to sign an authorization for him to communicate with them about your treatment, and he’ll be all set to work with your treatment team.

Counseling can definitely help you better communicate with others about your chronic illness.  Our therapists can teach you different communication skills and assertiveness techniques so you can advocate for yourself.

Yes.  Dr. Frank Martinez-Mesa is a double doctor – he’s a trained physician (MD) and a licensed psychologist (PsyD).  His medical knowledge is extensive, but even if he doesn’t know about a particular diagnosis, his learning curve is quick.  He’ll be able to help you address the mental health aspects of your diagnosis and confer effectively with your team of doctors.

Yes, we offer telehealth sessions because we know that some days you just can’t, much less to go to more doctor appointments. Just keep in mind that online therapy can’t replace the powerful effect of being face-to-face with your therapist. Additionally, some insurance companies will not reimburse you for telehealth sessions.

Absolutely.  It takes a village, right? Chronic disease, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue can significantly affect relationships between partners/spouses, among family members, and with friends – especially if they play a caregiving role in your life.  They can participate in your therapy as appropriate.

It can.  In therapy, you can learn ways to advocate for yourself with people that don’t understand chronic conditions.  Additionally, your therapist can help you learn different ways to cope with such people because let’s be real…they may never fully get it.  If it’s appropriate, your therapist may also speak with them to educate them further about your chronic condition, their role in your treatment, and make suggestions about ways they may be able to support you.

Click below if you’re ready to explore how therapy can help you improve your quality of life when you’re living with chronic disease, chronic pain, and/or chronic fatigue.

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Still not sure if counseling’s for you?  Check out the FAQs others have asked about therapy.

This post is also available in: Spanish