If your primary care physician has recommended that you meet with an orthopaedic surgeon for any acute or chronic injuries or conditions you may have, it can be helpful to know what to expect during the initial consultation. You and the surgeon will be discussing the specific condition, the course of treatment, and the projected rehabilitation process. The surgeon will likely want to perform an examination and some tests to get a clearer sense of the issue. The doctor will likely ask you about your general health, past health conditions, family medical history, and other existing conditions that you may have. They will particularly want to know about conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, anaemia, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, because these issues may influence the treatment option that the surgeon provides. You would have probably discussed any and all pain that you are currently experiencing with your primary care physician. You’ll likely discuss it all again in detail with your surgeon. Before your consultation, it may be helpful to keep a pain journal where you can record activities and positions that cause pain anywhere in your body. Be sure to bring the journal with you to your consultation and share it with the surgeon.
What is counselling/psychotherapy?
Though most people will be aware of the term ‘counselling’, you may have come across the term ‘psychotherapy’ and differentiating between these terms is useful when understanding which therapy will be best suited to you. Both counselling and psychotherapy involve talking to someone who is trained to listen and there is no definitive distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. However, in general, counselling is a talking therapy which allows individuals to deal with specific life issues, whereas psychotherapy is used to deal with ‘deeper’ issues, most commonly with those whose past experiences are still causing them distress. It may be helpful to think of counselling and psychotherapy as being at either ends of a scale. At one end would be brief counselling to deal with a specific problem, at the other end would be intense psychotherapy to deal with deep rooted problems.
However the main factor that usually determines how successful the therapy is does not lie with the technique used, but with the actual counsellor or psychotherapist. How you connect with the counsellor or psychotherapist you choose is likely to determine how successful the treatment is. It is also helpful to have a little knowledge on the different therapies that may be used when deciding upon a counsellor or psychotherapist. There are many different therapies that can be used by counsellors and psychotherapists, some involve looking at past relationships and experiences to make sense of them, and others involve looking at the ‘here and now’.
What are the different therapies used?
Psychological therapies generally fall into three categories. These are behavioural therapies, which focus on cognitions and behaviours, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, which focus on the unconscious relationship patterns that evolved from childhood, and humanistic therapies, which focus on looking at the ‘here and now’. This is a generalisation though and counselling and psychotherapy usually overlaps some of these techniques.
How do I know if I need counselling/psychotherapy?
Only you can decide whether you wish to try counselling or psychotherapy. Just talking to someone confidentially who is not a friend or family member can make all the difference. Counselling or psychotherapy provides a regular time for those in distress to explore their feelings and talk about their problems. A counsellor can help you develop better ways of coping, allowing you to live the life you deserve.