For many years, psychotherapists focused on trying to fix what was wrong with their clients. In recent years, it has become more common to focus on a client’s strengths and use them to help deal with their problems, such as depression.
Scientists in recent years have developed ways to measure biological age by tracking chemical changes in DNA that occur naturally as people age but occur at different times in different people. These so-called “epigenetic clocks” have proved to be better predictors of lifespan and health than chronological age.In a new study, Yale researchers used one such clock, appropriately named “GrimAge,” to ask two questions: How much does chronic stress accelerate that biological clock? And are there ways to slow it down and extend a healthy lifespan? Subjects in this study who scored high on two psychological resilience measures — emotion regulation and self-control — were more resilient to the effects of stress on aging and insulin resistance, respectively.
Chronic pain is physically and psychologically stressful and its constant discomfort can lead to feelings of anger and frustration. While the medical community may be able to provide treatment for the physical aspects of chronic pain, psychologists are uniquely trained to help manage the mental and emotional aspects of this often debilitating condition and can offer many avenues for pain relief and management. Counselors can help to re-frame negative thinking patterns about pain that may be interfering with normal daily functions such as work, and relationships.
Creative activities like art-making are mindful practices, allowing patients and caregivers to stay in the moment, which by definition can free them from the stress that cancer brings. Caregivers experience stress, which can affect their own health and the patient’s outcome. A recent study showed coloring and open-studio art therapy benefits stressed caregivers of cancer patients.