There are many different types of professionals who can help with emotional and psychological health issues. They include:
- Psychologists who deal with the way the mind works. They specialise in particular areas such as mental health, educational psychology and occupational psychology. They include neuro-psychologists and clinical psychologists, who specialise in helping people cope with pain.
- Psychiatrists, who are trained and medically qualified doctors who can prescribe medication, as well as recommend other forms of treatment.
- Counsellors, who are trained to listen with empathy and can help people deal with negative thoughts and feelings.
- Psychotherapists, whose training is similar but more in-depth than that of counsellors. They can help people explore how their personality and life experiences influence their thoughts, feelings, relationships and behaviour in order to deal with things that arise in life. Some psychotherapists specialise in particular types of therapy, for example cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a talking therapy that helps people change how they think and behave, managing problems more effectively.
Some of these professionals are employed by the NHS, some by charities, and others work independently. GPs can make referrals to those employed by the NHS. Your local Neuromuscular Care Advisor will also be able to tell you about the professional support available in your area.
People with muscle-wasting conditions and their families can benefit enormously from this type of support. It is available in one or two local areas as part of multi-disciplinary neuromuscular teams. However, it is currently the exception rather than the norm in the UK.