Patients undergoing medical treatment may benefit from supportive counseling. This may involve meeting with a clinician to develop behavioral change plans for the work, home, finances, and health. During each session, the counseling will use the following techniques:
- Active listening
- Informed perspective
- Validation of patient concerns
Implementing Coping Strategies
A trained clinician will work with the patient to implement problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies:
- Gathering facts
- Adopting problem-solving techniques
- Identifying and replacing negative thoughts
- Participate in activities that are:
The clinician will work with the patient to identify a few strategies that will align with their personality and lifestyle. The patient will then be instructed to track the use and effectiveness of the coping strategies for the next few days or weeks. During the next appointment, the clinician will assess the patient’s coping abilities and make suggestions for the necessary improvements.
Who Needs Supportive Counseling?
Patients diagnosed living with the following health-related challenges may need supportive counseling:
- Chronic pain
- End of life
- Mental illness (such as anxiety, depression, and mood disorders)
- Stroke or heart attack
- Alcohol/drug/substance abuse
- Asthma and other respiratory disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
Who Provides Supportive Counseling?
Mental health professionals collaborate with medical professionals to provide supportive counseling. To provide effective counseling, mental health clinicians must understand the physical effects of an illness. Mental health clinicians also communicate with medical professionals to describe the emotional and mental effects of an illness on a patient’s physical body. This collaboration ensures patients receive effective care.
Levels of Supportive Counseling
The approach to supportive counseling will vary depending on which of the following levels applies to the patient:
- Primary Prevention: This form of counseling is done to prevent an illness. For example, individuals at risk of obesity-related illness may receive guidance to minimize their risk and implement healthy practices, such as healthy eating and exercise. Counselors at this stage work with groups to prevent poor health outcomes. Examples of primary prevention include: smoking-cessation programs, exercise and nutrition programs, dental hygiene, and wearing helmets and seat belts.
- Secondary Prevention: Patients experiencing life-impacting symptoms need supportive counseling to prevent their condition from worsening. For example, patients experiencing high blood pressure need counseling to prevent cardiovascular disease or stroke. Patients living with HIV need counseling to encourage them to keep taking medication. Examples of secondary prevention include: dietary changes, portion control, and weight loss programs.
- Tertiary Prevention: At this level, patients diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness need counseling to manage pain and improve their quality of life as much as possible. Patients living with a spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or late-stage renal disease need support through their difficult treatment journey. Examples of tertiary prevention include: existential support, assistance navigating the medical system, identifying and implementing coping strategies, and access to tangible resources to help patients maintain a level of independence.
Active Plus Home Health Care, Inc. has a team of clinicians trained to provide supportive counseling to patients diagnosed with a range of conditions. Contact our team to learn more.