Psychological interventions

Dr Knowles utilises a variety of validated psychological intervention techniques, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Hypnosis. CBT is currently the most popular and effective psychological treatment to date. It has been successfully used to help individuals better adapt to serious chronic illness and associated psychological symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, etc).

In brief, CBT is a short-term therapy that focuses on our cognitions, that is the way we think and its relationship to our feelings (e.g., feeling anxious) and behaviours (e.g., avoiding anxious situations). An important aspect of CBT is the active involvement of the patient in directing and engaging of the therapeutic process. Every week you will be asked to complete a range of homework activities. These activities are designed to help you work toward your goal of reducing your IBD and related symptoms and improving quality of life. While we will cover quite a bit of material in the individual sessions, the majority of the work will be done by you in your own time in-between therapy sessions.

ACT is a recent and modified version of CBT that aims to change the negative cycle of distress associated with illness. Like CBT, its strategies are focused on changing the way in which you relate or react to areas of your life that cause distress. Like CBT, the strategies reviewed in the sessions are designed to help you work toward your goal of reducing your IBD and related symptoms and improving quality of life. More recently core features of ACT such as mindfulness have been found to be very helpful to manage issues associated with having a chronic illness.

Psychological therapy can help by directly addressing:

  • Identify the behaviours, personality factors, and thoughts that can contribute to gut related distress and abnormal functioning
  • The cycle of despair and distress associated with having a chronic condition associated with the gut
  • Anxieties associated with having a chronic gut condition
  • Identify and reduce common concerns associated with gut problems including reduced self-esteem and confidence, poor self-identity/body-image, fatigue, sleeping problems, and concerns related to sexual activity etc
  • Stress management focused on relaxation and mindfulness
  • Pain management