What substantiates the “comprehension” in the “comprehensive approach”? Therapeutic efforts are now honoring hormonal factors, proteins, and chemicals in the bloodstream by looking at metabolism and inflammation. This means that the level of the whole body and how those components filter into the brain will change both the structure and the function of that organ. 

This is thinking about the context in which the brain is functioning, directly and indirectly going in and changing what is happening there in relation to the rest of the body and person. Yes, that includes thoughts as well as what are increasingly other essential components of proven treatments. This is where the field is and will increasingly be headed. It’s essential that clinicians start acting on, if not contributing to, this research.  

What is different now is the value of stopping the practice of dividing functions into primarily biologically driven states versus those that are driven by psychological processes. We get into trouble when we don’t treat them together. A new field of research has come from the idea that we must treat biology and psychology as two sides of the same coin. 

Fascinating research includes the work on microbiomes and demonstration of the effects of gut bacteria on mood, thereby influencing our selection of treatment for anxiety and depression. Who would ever have imagined that a mental state could describe a relationship between what we eat and the bacteria that respond to the same? Biological factors can alter how a brain functions in a way that produces hope or despair, creating patterns of thought and emotional tendencies that were earlier viewed as abstract or conceptual, not so concrete and physical.

I am talking about the power of underlying physiological states in shaping the mind. The importance is to now identify and address ground-related underlying bodily states. This change means that there is one mind-body system with many points of access, “psychological” and “medical” not “or.”

What I am talking about is a field in which more attention is placed on individual history. This change is one that impacts our functioning as a profession unlike ever before in such a short period of time.

By addressing bodily states as problems that are attempts at solutions, framing adaptive coping responses in a way that empowers our patients. What hasn’t changed is the importance of telling the truth: what a difficult problem it is, how many underlying factors there are, and that no one is necessarily to blame. 

We’re moving into a psychoneuroendocrine immunological package of attention on the big picture regarding how factors affect states. Our immune system is one in which systematic inflammation affects emotions. No matter what the initial trigger is, our immune systems can be changed by experiencing social defeat or grief, real-life contexts that need to be dealt with. 

We are talking about a significant change in a client’s physiology that will continue to sustain a reciprocal, possibly increasingly detrimental relationship with the psychology unless they are both addressed. I support my statements with a reminder that the following research is not new: in the first six months that people grieve, functions drop in their immune systems.

I am not proposing that we play or that we have to play the role of the physician. What I am saying is that we have to educate ourselves regarding the basics necessary to carry on a therapeutic conversation with those physicians as well as to be able to include the physical health elements in our thinking and therapeutic planning. The purpose of both is to make sure, from our checklist, that as much is being done to strengthen the full-body health of our clients as possible. That means working closely with medical staff is now a professional obligation: “integrated behavioral health.”

(720) 772-8022

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.