What is Health Psychology?

Health psychology is a specialty area that applies the principles of clinical psychology to the prevention of disease, adjustment to illness, and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

Health psychology is concerned with understanding how biological, psychological, and social/cultural factors are involved in physical health and illness prevention.

Clinical health psychologists provide education, evaluate individuals’ readiness for and risk factors related to medical procedures/surgeries, and provide psychological treatment to assist in areas such as behavior change (i.e., smoking cessation, weight loss), adjusting to illness (i.e, pain management), and health promotion (i.e., exercise and diet adherence).

Meeting with a health psychologist can help a person understand how psychological factors affect medical conditions, and can help the individual learn new techniques to minimize the negative impact of a medical condition, improve mood and reduce stress.