The importance of the psychologist in the hospital context

The importance of the psychologist in the hospital context

Unlike what happens around the beginning of the century, when infectious diseases represented the preponderant cause of mortality, the most serious health problems that medicine faces today are chronic-palliative diseases. Currently, morbidity and mortality rates are increasingly present and related to health behaviors and life habits.

Psychology is the science whose object of study includes the analysis, prediction and modification of factors that affect behavior. Aiming to promote and maintain physical and emotional health, the prevention and treatment of diseases and the identification of etiological correlates and health diagnoses. In a broader sense it may promote some analysis, training and improvement of the health system. This discipline can be likened to the photography where all aspects, even those who are seen as not related to each other, are involved. As a photographer you may have to consider the temperature and level of lighting along with the selection of the best mirrorless camera. Similarly, when you work as a psychologist, you must understand how the interrelated elements form a conclusion.

The psychologist’s own insertion into the hospital unit is one of them. Therefore, one of the goals of the psychologist who works in the hospital area is to try to minimize the suffering of the patient and his family. The work is focusing on the suffering and repercussions that the patient suffers from illness and hospitalization, associated with other factors such as life history, the way he assimilates the disease and his personality profile.

When talking about an inpatient, one should not exclude emotional and social processes in an attempt to understand and diagnose the illness from its inception to its development into medicine that had a dualistic view that the body and mind were separate identities. In the same way, a physical illness is often associated with emotional and psychological disorders that, if untreated, may contribute to its aggravation or even its chronification.

What we have observed, still, is that some diagnostic techniques make some doctors great experts who do not have time to listen their patient in their needs. Some professionals must maintain an accurate understanding of some issues and evaluate the patient’s subjective data, thus contributing to the flexibility of medical treatment and allowing him to participate actively in the hospitalization process. In the process of rehabilitation of the patient, it is necessary to encourage him to invest in the quality of life, even if his habit of life has to be modified.


It is necessary to help the patient recover his functions according to his style of being and being.

It is not possible to attend to everything else we must delimit where we will act and over time expand the field of work. Another reference always present refers to the psychologist taking care of the multiprofessional team. This is possible as long as he is not confused with the hospital psychologist.

The clinical and administrative staff do not always know what to ask for; and the psychologist can and should adequately score the field.

The therapeutic setting in hospital reality is peculiar. The psychologist should expand his performance including some non-related acts such as taking flower photography on the patient, since the spaces and other hospital conditions are very different from what is idealized in the clinical practice, in the office. The doctor enters the infirmary to evaluate the patient; at the same time, the nurse calls the patient for an ultrasound examination, the family does not want to leave the side and we have to attend the patient in the middle of another eight in a large infirmary, where there is the inability to maintain confidentiality.

The important thing is that to provide care to the patient, it is necessary to know the disease, its evolution and its prognosis, besides the routine by which it will be submitted. The news of the health status of the patients, even the news of the death is the responsibility of the doctor. The psychologist should be available to monitor the emotional reactions that occur during and after the news.

Psychologist activities

The idea that still many people have is that the psychologist has a “good talk,” or that he is there to convince the patient to accept some medical procedure, or to help the family to convince him of the proposed treatment.

The patient brings in addition to the complaint of the disease, personal, family and professional problems. In this work, the psychologist should be a continent to the complaints of the patient, should seek to understand if there are other problems besides the disease that need care and seek to make the patient able to readapt as close as possible to normal conditions of life, with some autonomy, try to make him accept the disease and not fight it and help him live with it without additional suffering, beyond what is necessary, is the challenge we have every day in the patient’s accompaniment. The disease can still be used to gain gains, which in most cases brings problems for those who live with patients.

It should also be according to the need and possibility, to follow the family of the patient, helping him to deal with the problem of the disease. Regarding the family, it is important to understand if the family joins the patient, if there was a redistribution of roles in the family context, if there is an overprotection of the patient, which often occurs due to guilt, not only in the adult, elderly and child. The psychologist will host the patient’s hospitalization, what it means for the patient and his family, and try to know a little about his life history and his illness. It is he who will seek the patient, offer help to him and will be available also for his family.

In hospitalization, the patient loses his individuality, feels a sudden rupture with his suffering, feels attacked by the hospital routine and his rigid schedule, which leads him to the well-known process of depersonalization.

The fear of permanent disability, of depending on the other, brings about an important change in relation to its self-image, beyond the perception of being vulnerable and finite. Fear of physical pain, anesthesia in cases of surgery and returning home after a hospitalization bring consequences to your emotional state. The hospitalization period encourages the patient to become more introspective and move to a process of reassessment of life and values. If your hospitalization is elective, emergency, or repetitive, it will make it different from how you experience the situation.

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