Got a question from a counselor recently, here is the gist of what she said, “I am not a physician and do not practice medicine, why do I need to know about thyroid disease? I’m interested in mindfulness meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery.”
Good question really. (In case you didn’t know, the topic of the first session in NICABM’s free summer teleseminar series is on A Holistic Approach to Thyroid Disease and that’s probably why she brought it up.) At first it might not be so obvious, but NICABM is recommending that it’s critical for the psychotherapist to know something about the thyroid (and topics like it).
But let me answer that question with a question: Have you ever treated someone with depression and you just didn’t make much progress? Maybe they weren’t resistant, maybe they had some underlying medical issues going on.
For instance, here is just one possibility – did you know that symptoms of thyroid problems can be very similar to symptoms psychotherapy patients complain of? Symptoms like:
- weight gain
- brain fog
Optimal functioning of the thyroid is essential for proper metabolism, a balanced hormonal system and optimal health.
And I have good news – there are many physicians who treat the thyroid holistically. Nutrition, for instance, can be a major tool in the treatment of thyroid disorders.
Have you ever treated a patient (or a couple maybe) struggling with infertility? that also could be related to a thyroid problem.
Have you ever treated a patient who was going through chemotherapy? Chemotherapy often disrupts thyroid function. But, there are steps that the properly trained practitioner can take to protect the patient’s thyroid from the damage this regimen might cause.
If you are a psychotherapist, you wouldn’t necessarily do that yourself, but you would still want to know about it so that you can make a proper referral.
It’s time for psychotherapists to think of themselves as a part of the medical team.
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What’s most important to us is to get these ideas out. Choose the option that’s best for you.