Psychological Intervention

A patient’s coping mechanisms, stresses, health habits and substance abuse (including analgesic overuse) all affect his or her headache condition. During sessions with a trained professional, the patient discusses life problems, relationships, emotions, disturbing thoughts, experiences and more. The goal is to help the patient solve the problem or, if this is not possible, help him or her deal with the problem in a constructive way.

Psychologists and psychiatrists often see a particular problem in headache patients: a fear or anxiety related to the headache pain itself. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective in treating this negative reaction and as a result, reducing the pain itself. Another issue that our patients may experience is emotional upset and ineffective coping behaviors caused by the intense and frequent headache pain. As emotions become regulated and more effective coping strategies are implemented, the headache condition is often brought under control.

If you are admitted to the Diamond Headache Inpatient Unit at AMITA Saint Joseph Hospital, your clinic physician may order sessions with a Behavioral Health Specialist who will evaluate your condition. Group sessions on the unit are also provided to instruct patients about active pain management strategies. Group sessions and biofeedback are both provided on the until to help patients learn active pain management strategies.  These types of therapy offer other non-drug alternative treatments that can help patients.

Treating Headaches with Psychological Intervention