Treating Mind and Body

therapy sessionIt is normal for people with health problems to experience sadness, worry, shock, and guilt, but sometimes these feelings can develop into deeper emotional issues that need to be addressed. Our Health Psychology Program is designed to provide this relief to people who are struggling with this combination of emotional and physical pain.

Health Psychology is the study of psychological and behavioral factors in health, illness, and healthcare. It is concerned with understanding how psychological, behavioral, and cultural factors contribute to physical health and illness. Psychotherapy has shown to have a positive effect on people with chronic medical conditions, decreasing symptoms and reducing their impact in your daily life. 

The health psychologists at St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute are very attentive to the mind-body connection, using their expertise and skills to help patients manage the interaction between physical, psychological, and social factors in health management. We have expertise in evaluating and treating the mental health issues that frequently arise from or contribute to medical conditions, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and work/family disruption. We understand how challenging this can be and we are here to work with you and help you through this time in your life.

Our Treatment Approach

We strive to be compassionate and get to know each patient to make needed lifestyle changes. We utilize a whole-person approach to helping patients, designing an effective treatment plan based on physical, emotional, and behavioral needs and goals. We use evidence-based treatment approaches to help lower stress, alleviate suffering, make lifestyle changes, and build resilience. The goal of the health psychology program is to help achieve the highest level of functioning and optimal quality of life.

We provide psychotherapy for individuals with the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Cardiac Problems
  • Chronic pain
  • Conversion Disorder
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Insomnia and other sleep difficulties 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Lupus or other autoimmune disorders
  • Major Accidents/Trauma
  • Myofascial syndrome
  • Obesity/Weight loss or diet change needs
  • Parkinson’s and other movement disorders
  • Stress-related health issues
  • Tobacco use and desire to quit smoking
  • Other medical or health-related issues

Typical treatment might involve cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation or mindfulness skills, insight-oriented therapy, grief or trauma therapy, stress management, biofeedback or family therapy. Therapy helps you develop new thought patterns and manage the emotions that often come with injury or illness. Biofeedback is used in treatment with patients to reduce pain and muscle tensions, as well as stress and anxiety reduction. Stress reduction and mindfulness have a positive effect on blood pressure, muscle tension, headaches, GI problems, and pain. 

When appropriate, family members are encouraged to be part of the process. We also include and consult regularly with any involved medical providers. After completion of treatment, our clinicians remain available for ongoing consultation and continuing care.

Common Questions and Concerns

If my friends, family, or Doctor suggests I see a Health Psychologist, does that mean they think my pain, illness or condition is “all in my head?”
Our emotions, behavior patterns, culture and social interactions all affect our health. People with health issues often experience sadness, worry, shock, and guilt. We are learning more about the mind-body connection and its importance in treatment. Medical research shows the best way to treat a chronic health condition is to pay attention to physical symptoms and life experiences. It is important to treat the whole person and not just their symptoms. 

Will you talk to my doctor?
Absolutely, assuming you would like us to do so. We believe in coordinated, comprehensive care that includes regular communication between your treatment team. The doctor or clinician who refers you here can be assured that we will provide feedback on your treatment plan and progress. As necessary, our team can also provide psychological evaluations for medical procedures to your doctor (such as pre-surgical psychological evaluations for spinal cord stimulators). 

My doctor says I need to quit smoking, lose weight, or learn stress management, but I am having difficulty doing that on my own. Can you help me?
Yes! Making meaningful, lasting lifestyle changes can have a positive effect on your health, but it can be hard to change long-standing patterns, especially when you are struggling physically and emotionally. We have both the compassion and the expertise to help you make these lifestyle changes.

Additional Resources

Recommending Readings
“Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping” by Robert M. Sapolsky (ISBN-13: 978-0716732105)
“Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief” by Jon Kabat-Zinn (ISBN-13: 978-1591797401)

Helpful Websites
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Mayo Clinic

Phone/Tablet Apps for Meditation, Mindfulness and Sleep
CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) Coach

We’re Only a Phone Call Away

If you would rather reach our Intake Coordinators by phone, please call 314-289-9411 to discuss appointment scheduling if you or a loved one may be experiencing a mental health issue. For additional questions about our programs, you can also use our online contact form.

In the case of a medical emergency or crisis, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Help and hope are closer than you think.

Personalized mental health treatment is ready for you. We are here to help.

Contact Us

New patients please call Intake Coordinators at:

City of St. Louis, Missouri (Macklind)

1129 Macklind Ave,
St. Louis, MO 63110
314-534-0200 (returning patients)

Chesterfield, Missouri (West County)

16216 Baxter Rd. Stes 205 and 225,
Chesterfield, MO 63017
636-532-9188 (returning patients)

Fairview Heights, Illinois

331 Salem Place, Suite 225-A,
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
618-825-0051 (returning patients)