Health Psychology Committee Report


Recovery from illness is the principle objective of health institutions. Slow recovery from illness and non adherence to medications is a major challenge to these institutions. Slow recovery become costly to those taking care of the patient and also adds pressure on hospital facilities. Most of the slow recovery have no objective medical findings but result from psychological factors. Health psychologists use finding from psychologist theories to execute their roles and promote health. Health psychologists work alongside other medical professionals to improve the overall health state of the patients. They work on behavior change by encouraging thoughts and feelings which result to better health condition of the patient.

Role of Psychiatry department

Research has shown that there is a major link between medicine and psychology. Evidences have also been seen for relevance of personal psychological variables to their health and recovery from illness. It has been shown that personal, social and cultural factors influence the health behavior of the patient. Different categories of patients such as children, adult, substance abuser require psychological health services. These services can be made available through the psychiatry department (Broome, Llewelyn, 1995). Do address the psychological needs of the different patients there is need for enough qualified health psychologist. The health psychologist would work directly in the clinical setting and would help individual or groups to promote health behavior. They would also understanding the patients and their special need, and, with cooperation with physicians help in improving the overall health of the patients (Broome, Llewelyn, 1995). Each psychologist would be assigned a certain group patients so as the need of those group could be fully addressed.

By the advantage accrued from health psychology department there is need for implementing it in the hospital. A health psychology department of five psychologists would be sufficient as a

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start. Each of the health psychologists would be assigned role under these categories: Substance abuse councilor, inpatient-only psychologist; child psychologist; adult psychologist and outpatient and terminally ill psychologist. The health psychologist will however cooperate to bring overall improved health of the patients in the hospital and together they would help reduce the overall recovery time of patients (Taylor, 2008).

Substance abuse councilor

Substance abuse is a major health problem in the world today. Drug, alcohol and tobacco use cause illness and even death than any other health condition. It contributes to hospitalization of many patients. Patients who are under the influence of the substance abuse need a lot of care both medically and psychologically (American Psychological Association. Division of Health psychology, 2001). Although differing from one individual to another this problem is mostly a bio-social and psychological. The social and psychological influence on substance abuse differs from one individual to another. Hence, treatment of substance abuse patients ought to be tailored to the individual. This would be important so as to determine what factors are most influential in the abuse.

The health psychologist under this category would deal with the substance abuse patients and assist them in their recovery. Initially substance abuse was thought as a disease based or genetically based, but the psychologist hold that it is learned by behaviors that are acquired with time. Being a learned behavior, it can be unlearned or changed through behavioral models of treatment. Since most of the substances abused have addictive character these patients usually have problems in overcoming the substance abuse (Ogden, 2000).

Health psychologist under this category will offer counseling session to the patients. By the counseling session they would try to help the patient to understand his or her state and the condition that could have contributed the state. He/she will also assist the patient to understand the risk and negative effects of substance abuse. Since substance abuse is behavioral, the psychologist will offer the patient advice and necessary help of how the behaviors can be unlearned (Ogden, 2000). The psychologist will help the patient understand the social states that could have led to adoption of the behavior and thus help the patient stop the social

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Health Psychology Committee Report

behavior and may be learn other social behaviors that would promote recovery. Through the counseling session the psychologist would unearth the psychological and historical information that would assist in the treatment of the patient (Taylor, 2008).

For long term recovery of substance abuser, the health psychologist would address other factors that could be peculiar to the patient. Through this the best approach based on the patient would be used. Such approach could be: individual skill based treatments, motivational enhancement approach, and environmental and relationship based treatment approach (Taylor, 2008). The health psychologist will also address other psychological problems associated with substance abuses. Such problem could be depression, stress, anxiety, low-esteem and other similar personality issues

Inpatient-only health psychologist

Patients whose conditions require hospitalizations are usually extremely ill or requiring special treatment within the hospital. These patients are separated from there family and loved ones and instead spend their time in the hospital. In the hospital they live with other patients who could as well be in bad condition. The hospital condition is usually challenging to cope with especially for first timers in the hospital (Ogden, 2000).

Inpatient health psychologist will be responsible of assisting inpatient to cope with the hospital conditions. They will offer psychological help inform of advice, counseling and psychological therapies when necessary that will enable the inpatient to adhere to medication and assist in recovery. The psychologist will monitor the recovery and psychological state of the patient and will be able to cooperate with other practitioners to intervention. Patients who do not cooperation, such as those who does not adhere to medical regimens, would be offered counseling and other psychological assistance. The psychologist will make the patient understand and accept their illness (Herbert, Penny, 1994). For patients who are awaiting medical procedure, the psychologist will offer psychological assistance that would boost the patients hope for recovery. He would be able to assist the patient understand the procedure and its need (Herbert, Penny, 1994). To the visiting relatives the psychologist will ease their tension and anxiety by offering necessary counseling.

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The inpatient health psychologist will be assigned to the wards and will monitor and interact with the patients. Any patient who would need the need of this psychologist will be referred to him. The psychologist will work closely with the physician and would offer or receive advice to the physicians working with patients in the wards.

Child health psychologist

The underlying progression in life cycle; physical social and psychological has influence on the persons experience of health and illness. Although there are health issues common to all development stage, each of the development stage has its peculiar health concerns. Thus the development stage would affect the understanding and the ability to cope with certain health issues. There is thus need for address of heath concerns for every stage of life (Taylor, 2008). Children are especially vulnerable to psychological effects of illness. Having little knowledge and experience the children would need care and assistance during their illness. The child parent may provide a lot of emotional and psychological assistance to the child but the services of a trained child psychologist would very essential.

The child health psychologist will be responsible for offering psychological assistance to children and adolescent at different stages. The psychologist will observe and monitor the child and take note of the psychological needs of individual children. The psychologist will offer advice to both the physicians and to those talking care of the child when needed. With the skills, the psychologist will observe the effects of physical environment on the health behavior of the child. Counseling and advice will also be given to those taking care to the child on how they can contribute to fast recovery and overall health of the child (Taylor, 2008). The psychologist will also liaise with other institutions or individuals such as the child school so as to bring overall fast recovery and health state of the child. To the expectant and parenting mothers psychological assistance would be given since the behavior of the mother directly or indirectly affects the wellbeing of the child.

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Adult health psychologist

Like any other stage of life, the adult have their social and psychological issues that affect their health and influence on the response to health services. Although they have their general needs, adults at different stage of adulthood would require special care peculiar to their stage. The social state such married, single, divorcee, occupations would also influence their response to medical care (Broome, Llewelyn, 1995).

The adult psychologist will be responsible for addressing psychological issues of this group. The psychologist would observe and monitor adult patients and offer concession where necessary. He will also assist them to understand the medical procedures and the need for them. Those expecting or undergoing special treatment will be offered counseling so as to boost their recovery. The psychologist will also address the special psychological needs of these patients such as their relationships, their occupations and advice on the right change that would boost the patients’ recovery. The adult psychologist offer psychological assistance to the elderly patient and enable them to adopt better attitude that would boost recovery.

Terminally ill health psychologist

Patients suffering from terminal illness usually have poor response to medication. Such patients as cancer patients need special assistance that would enable them endure and prolong their life (American Psychological Association. Division of Health psychology, 2001). The Terminally ill health psychologist would monitor and counsel these patients. He would assist them understand and accept their state and instill in them the vigor for life despite their states. He will also arrange and for chronic pain treatment.

Rationale for assigning duties

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Health Psychology Committee Report

Each patient has his or her special needs depending on his/her illness, social background and stage of life. Each of the needs could well addresses by a special psychologist assigned to that special group (Herbert, Penny, 1994). For example the needs and treatment of the substance abuses could be addresses independently than generally. Likewise the need of a child differs from those of an adult and the treatment approach would as well differ. The psychologists were assigned address these special needs but would cooperate so as to bring overall improvement in health states and recovery of all patients.

Importance of implementing the program in the hospital

Health psychologists help to address the psychological factors to patients’ wellness and recovery. The psychologist not only help the patients understand their treatment but offer them psychological assistance to accept and adopt behaviors that would promote health. The patients, clients and community at large ought to educated and warned about the impacts of certain medications and the risk of certain substances and behaviors. The warning should however be offered in a manner that would bring positive results than in those manner that may lead to rejection of the advice or warning. Health psychologists use their skills to bridge between the physician and the patient (Broome, Llewelyn, 1995). With the services of the health psychologist the psychological hindrance to health recovery would be addressed and there would be overall improvement in attitude toward medication. With improved attitude patients would adhere to medical regimens and their recovery period would be lowered. Unlike when these services are not available, patients will view health services positively and would have overall improved recovery (Ogden, 2000).


The overall recovery of a patient does not depend only on the medication received but it also depends on the individual’s attitude, feelings and emotions. Health care should therefore address the psychological effects to recovery by using the services of health psychologists. The psychiatry department in the hospital would an important boost to the overall performance of the hospital by coordinating psychological services and treatments.

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American Psychological Association. Division of Health psychology (2001) Health psychology: the official journal of the division of health psychology, American Psychological Association, Volume 20,   Issue 3:-Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Broome, Llewelyn (1995);-Health psychology: process and applications;-Nelson Thornes

Herbert, Penny (1994):-Health psychology: a lifespan perspective:- Psychology Press

Ogden (2000) Health psychology: a textbook:-Open University Press; 396

Taylor (2008) Health psychology;-McGraw-Hill 576