Respiratory psychology

Patients experiencing breathlessness and/or a respiratory illness can be affected in multiple ways. You may develop negative feelings such as stress, worry, anxiety and/or low mood as well as unhelpful thoughts. This in turn may lead to poor health management and an exacerbation of respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Our respiratory psychologist works with you to explore any unhelpful thoughts, feelings and problems that can arise from living with a respiratory illness and/or experiences of breathlessness. You will initially be assessed to help the psychologist understand how psychological interventions could be of help to the patient. Psychology sessions often involve the psychologist and patient working together through concerns or issues and identifying coping strategies in a non-judgemental space.

Some of the reasons that you may be referred to a psychologist may include:

  • difficulty in coming to terms with and managing a respiratory condition
  • learning to adapt to limitations caused by your condition
  • helping you to cope better with emotional triggers of asthma, such as stress, low mood and anxiety
  • helping you to cope with health anxiety regarding your condition, including managing panic attacks
  • modifying unhealthy lifestyle behaviours that impact on your breathing.

Respiratory psychology clinics run on Thursday afternoons at the Royal Free Hospital and on Friday afternoons at Barnet Hospital. To contact the team please email rf.respiratorypsychology@nhs.net.