Working With Patients With Chronic Digestive Diseases
Psychogastroenterology is the specialty treatment of patients living with chronic illnesses that affect the digestive tract using evidence-based methods, the most often being cognitive behavioral therapy tailored to the digestive illness and gut-directed hypnotherapy. While patients with all digestive conditions are referred for services, the most common are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Clinical interventions target disease processes, including visceral hypersensitivity and autonomic nervous system arousal, while leveraging resilience and coping strategies to enhance patient self-management of their disease. Opportunities exist for psychologists both in integrated gastroenterology clinics and in private practice settings. The protocols and clinical process of working with the patient are described in detail.