If you haven't read it yet,please look at the page 'All in the mind?" before reading this. This will explain how, even though your symptoms are not 'all in the mind' it may be helpful to look at any psychological angles to treatment.
Psychologists and psychiatrists who are familiar with the area can have a lot to offer patients with functional and dissociative symptoms.
Psychologists working in general hospitals, rehabilitation, pain clinics or in a chronic fatigue service are likely to be familiar with this area. Liaison psychiatrists or Neuropsychiatrists will definitely be familiar with it.
There are a number of reasons why patients with functional and dissociative symptoms may not want to see a psychologist / psychiatrist
1. "Im not crazy!"
For some people, being sent to see a psychologist / psychiatrist, carries an implication that their physical symptoms problem must be 'all in the mind', or that they are 'crazy/loopy/mad/nuts". There is more about this on the 'all in the mind" page.
2. "I'm not stressed"
One area where doctors and patients come unstuck with is the relationship between functional symptoms to stress. There is more about this on the 'Causes' pages.
The bottom line here is that many patients develop functional and dissociative symptoms without being stressed. The symptoms may have happened out of the blue or in relation to a physical injury, and the only thing thats stressful is having the symptoms!
There are also many people who develop functional symptoms at times of stress. But this does not mean the stress was the only factor or even the main one.
Of course life stresses makes everything worse, and it can be a major cause of functional symptoms, but in many people it is not that important. Stress about the symptoms is much more common and worth addressing.
3."I'm not the sort of person that sees a psychologist"
Do you really think that everyone who sees a psychologist/psychiatrist is crazy? Probably not. Many people understand why other people may need to see a psychologist / psychiatrist, but have trouble thinking of themselves as being someone that ever would. If you want to 'pull out all the stops' of treatment, you may have to leave aside your prejudices to do so.
4. "I don't want to be psychoanalysed"
Many people think that if they see a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the discussion and 'treatment' will be like old fashioned psychoanalysis. The classic, (and mistaken view) is that the psychiatrist says ' tell me about your childhood' , you spill the beans on every secret you've ever had and then the psychiatrists tells you how you've ended up this way.
Seeing a psychiatrists or psychologist is rarely like this. Most health professionals in this area will want to get to know you, but they will be more interested in the things that are stopping you getting better now, than the reasons in the past why this has happened.
As has been explained on the 'causes' page, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the reasons why people get functional and dissociative symptoms. Sometimes its enough just to say, 'You have a vulnerability to functional symptoms, lets try to work out how we can get you better'