Counseling Before and After Surgery
Surgery has been suggested to you because it is believed to be an appropriate medical choice for dealing with your current condition. Although you may accept that surgery is the best treatment approach, it is very natural to have some thoughts and fears around the “unknown”. It is important that you discuss any questions or concerns with your surgeon and determine whether counseling before and after surgery may be recommended as part of your treatment plan.
You may be relieved to know that there are other things that you can do to prepare for your surgery and also to recover in the best possible way. What your surgeon brings is his/her skill and expertise, which you have confidence in. But what can you bring? You have the ability to bring the most positive emotional attitude and lowest stress possible – to give your body the best environment for surgery and for healing and recovery afterwards.
When we are stressed – our blood pressure goes up, or quality of sleep/rest go down and our brains produce a chemical called cortisol which for short time and infrequent time is pretty normal. But when we stay anxious, afraid or “tense” for longer periods of time or to a larger degree this can spell trouble for our physical health. Any medical professional will tell you that chronic or severe stress complicates recovery and has a directly negative impact on your health. Whether before surgery or in the days and weeks after surgery – high and frequent stress put you at risk.
Only you are in control of your thoughts and in turn the emotions that you will experience and even how your body may respond. The mind and the body are connected in an amazing way and your belief in “yourself” and in the healing process is important for your overall recovery. By taking an active approach to your healing and recovery, you become an important and active team member along with your surgeon and the other health professionals taking care of you.
It can be empowering to know that there are real, tangible ways for you to prepare for surgery and optimize your healing and recovery after return home. Even if you are challenged with an ongoing illness that you must still manage after surgery, there are valuable skills that you can learn that may help you cope better and help you live a full, active and engaged life.
The overall experience and outcome of surgery can be enhanced when you make the choice to take an active role in your healing and recovery. The stress of a diagnosis, an illness or injury, the impending surgery and the recovery process all can have a significant impact on your physical, psychological and social state. From the time a decision is made to have an operation until the recovery is complete, there are major physical and psychological processes that can either enhance or impede healing and recovery.
Your body is an incredible gift and it has within it the wisdom and power to influence your emotional and physical well-being. There is no such thing as failure…health and healing are a lifelong journey. There are times that the goal may not be for a cure or even for complete recovery. Instead, the rewards could come from discovering new aspects of life and your truest, most authentic self, from new lessons learned to the joy of facing difficult challenges, or from the deepening of relationships and the appreciation of the unique preciousness of your own life.
Whether you are dealing with an illness, preparing for surgery or concerned about your recovery, it is my hope that you would know that there is assistance available to guide you along your journey. If you would like to discuss any of the issues addressed above or if counseling before and after surgery may be right for you, please feel free to contact me for a consultation.
Want to learn how you can become an active partner in your recovery process?
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Ben Carrettin is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He is the owner of Practice Improvement Resources, LLC; a private business which offers an array of specialized counseling, evidenced-based clinical consultation, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and targeted ESI-based services to individuals and businesses.
Counseling Before and After Surgery