Emotional, Social and Spiritual Support
The team members we have talked about so far provide physical support. There are many healthcare team members who provide emotional, social and spiritual support.
Mental Health Professionals help with the emotional aspect of living with a chronic disease.
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD’s) who diagnose and treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. This includes disorders of the brain, nervous system and drugs or chemical abuse.
- Psychologists deal with mental processes, especially during times of stress. They are not medical doctors, but have a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a doctor of philosophy degree (PhD). Most psychologists do not prescribe medicine, but treat patients with counseling and psychotherapy (“talk” therapy).
- Social Workers in a clinical or hospital setting help patients and families cope with emotional, physical and financial issues related to an illness. Depending on a patient’s need a social worker may help coordinate services such as housing, transportation, financial assistance, meals, long-term care, or hospice care. Social workers may also refer patients to mental health professionals for emotional or substance abuse support. Social workers have a master’s degree and are licensed by the state.