Some people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) may choose to see a counselor during the course of their disease. Seeing a counselor may be an option for you when living with MS.
Counselors are licensed professionals. Some have clinical counseling backgrounds while others have clinical social worker backgrounds.
Counselors may work with you in the following ways:
Some people with MS may seek counseling on a short-term basis. In this case, specific identified goals are typically created between the client and counselor. The sessions are highly structured around the goals. Usually a set number of sessions are agreed upon when therapy first starts.
Since MS is a chronic disease, some people may decide to see a counselor on a more long-term basis. There are still goals that are typically created, but there is room for unstructured time to talk about a broad range of things. Since MS can be unpredictable, long-term counseling may be an additional option.
People living with MS may be struggling with mood disorders. A counselor may help if your mood is affecting your current quality of life. The counselor may explore many things, including your:
Counseling alone may not be an effective tool to manage depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. In this case, your counselor may recommend that you see your doctor for a medication evaluation.
Coping tools or mechanisms are things that we do as individuals when we feel stressed, anxious, sad, or angry. These are usually described as things that we do to help us feel better. Counselors can help you explore what you currently do as a coping mechanism. They may also help you identify more positive coping mechanisms if needed.
Some positive coping mechanisms may include:
One of the most rewarding things a counselor may be able to do for someone living with MS is to help identify an MS-free zone. It’s a part of your life or a passion that MS may not interfere with. A counselor may help you find ways to continue to do things that you love.
If you’re interested in finding a counselor to work with to help manage the emotions of living with MS:
Keep in mind, only you can decide if counseling is the right option for you. Consider talking to other people who have tried counseling if you have any questions.