I am a student at Mount Royal University in the Bachelor of Child Studies program. My prior occupation for over twenty years was a Registered Massage Therapist. In my daily routine in my clinic, before I would attempt to give my client any type of therapy, they would have to fill out a patient medical history form. Information that was disclosed to me was anything from ailments, diseases, conditions, and any types of medication. I worked with various medical personnel, and I had to know and learn the implications of various drugs on the body; especially on soft tissue.
I believe working with other professionals in the medical world is paramount to the well-being of the individual. For example, if a client exhibits a low thyroid problem, their behaviour and conduct is a certain way; likewise, the muscular and skeletal system are also affected with certain symptoms.
My question is, in the field of counselling, I would like to know some opinions on counselling with medical personnel. Not to say, that I can't talk to you without a medical clearance, but rather, to what extent should someone be counselled before medical intervention? In other words, does anyone practice with a medical-model approach to healing in combination with counselling ?
I approach things a little bit differently, but not what I believe is altogether incompatible with what you are talking about.
I do believe that working ecologically would mean that we would take into account medical conditions if they were disclosed to us and seek to understand the impact that they have on the young person and how they are presenting.
I recently set up a private practice that is working almost exclusively with young people with chronic health problems or disabilities/their families. It was really important because navigating the medical system as a young person can be quite overwhelming. Especially for many young people who live away from their parents, or have other marginalizations and are lacking a lot of the support that might otherwise help them manage all of this. A lot of my work is advocacy work and case management. Pointing them in the direction of services and supports that can help meet their medical needs, and helping them become self-advocates in the medical system. There is also of course counselling involved with that too, particularly grief work for many young people who have had to come to terms with a different vision for their future than the one they grew up with. I think the mental health system generally, unless you are lucky enough to find someone who has had personal or close lived experience of chronic illness, doesn’t do a very good job understanding the toll that chronic illness takes on people (and the medical system doesn’t really address it either) and so often young people with chronic illness have a lot of feelings of shame, guilt, uncertainty about their future, frustration, depression, and all kinds of things that people often tell them that they should just get over.
Yet meanwhile we recognize that mental health and physical well-being are intrinsically linked and that we need to provide services that takes into account both of those things.
So, I do certainly believe that having an understanding of a young person’s medical circumstances is important, and also that we should seek to truly understand what young people are hoping to gain from medical interventions so that we can help them advocate for their wishes and desires. But, I do also think that it’s really important that we see work within this field, and particularly our role in it, being to help address the specific challenges and potential developmental issues that can arise from being a young person with a chronic illness. And especially working systemically where we can to help advocate for systems that reduce the barriers to developmentally appropriate medical care for young people with chronic illness as well.
I could certainly talk about this all day, so if you’re interested in further discussion feel free to reach out :-)