Gutted Interview with Dr Catherine O'Leary
Dr Catherine O'Leary is a consultant clinical psychologist specialising in chronic health conditions. For many years she has worked with people who live with chronic illness, from heart failure to cystic fibrosis, and she has learned a lot about how to help people cope with poor health and differences in appearance.
Catherine has also had psoriasis herself for 30 years.
In her blog, Coping with Psoriasis, she focuses on the psychological aspects of the condition, covering some interesting topics including psoriasis and sleep, psoriasis and pain and psoriasis and shame.
Catherine talks about how psoriasis causes physical and emotional pain, but also how we respond to the pain determines how much suffering we will experience. Some ways of reacting to psoriasis-related pain can actually make the situation worse, and in the podcast we chat about what therapies can be employed to reduce suffering.
We also discuss a study shared in her blog, a study of over 900 people with psoriasis that found that shame was one of the most common emotions experienced (Sampogna et al, 2012). Shame is clearly having a serious impact on the lives of people with psoriasis, and participants in the study didn’t seem to get used to having psoriasis: the longer they’d had the condition, the more shame they reported.
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