Due to advances in the medical field, medical problems that previously carried considerable mortality risk can now be managed more effectively. As a result, medical illnesses have become more prevalent than in recent years. With the increase in life expectancy comes a set of psychological challenges. Chronic disease is associated with high levels of uncertainty. There are patterns and habits that often need to be changed as part of a new lifestyle of self-care. Often debilitating and demanding treatments make adjustment to medical illness psychologically demanding.
At least 25% of patients with chronic medical problems have clinically significant psychological symptoms. In some cases, these psychological symptoms themselves are associated with increased medical problems. Clients often get unhelpful feelings about their unhelpful feelings: anxious about being depressed, depressed about being depressed or anxious about being anxious which often impairs their ability to best handle their medical problems impacting their body, behaviors and thoughts.