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. These feelings may make it more difficult to manage your health and can lead to 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 we could be of help. Psychology sessions often involve you working together with the psychologist to explore 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. If you would like to be referred please discuss this with your respiratory doctor or specialist nurse.