Any long term IBS sufferer, will do well not to suffer psychological damage as a result of the condition.  A combination of the anxieties and traumas that come with IBS ensure that you mental strength is constantly challenged.

How you deal with these issues, is pivotal to your long term success.  Even if you are successful in overcoming the main physical issues through diet and lifestyle changes, the psychological damage inflicted by IBS will ensure that you still suffer many of your previous issues.  In particular, confidence in your own system is slow to discover.

Once you cease to trust your own body to behave in accordance with your wishes then you will face an uphill struggle.  As a lifelong sufferer, the damage reaped by IBS was quite severe.  I was most certainly conditioned by IBS. Certain stimuli and places would evoke memories of anxiety and it became a self perpetuating vicious cycle.

Clinical Psychology


If you are a long term sufferer, we urge you to look at some kind of therapy.  We have brief explanation of the types available below, however we urge you to look at one.  IBS is so hard to talk about, and can become a deep emotional wound, which rarely receives treatment.

You may not find the right therapist straight away, you need to find someone that you feel comfortable with.  This is a small price to pay for something that in the long term can do you a great deal of good.  Highly recommended for long term sufferers.

The Therapy

After referral to a Clinical Psychologist, I must admit my first thoughts were cynical.  I questioned just what they could do for me, and felt it would be a waste of my time.  These feelings were instantly dismissed during my first treatment.  To say it was not what I expected would be a massive understatement.

The first session involved the therapist explaining a few basic facts about life.  Life is tough, life can be cruel, we have to face those truths to deal with life itself.  It was wonderfully refreshingly honest.  I had feared a session of sitting in a chair, with me dispensing my inner most thoughts to the sound of silence and judgement.  It was nothing like that.

After the first session, there were sessions which involved the opportunity to talk about the things which IBS sufferers struggle to talk about, which is wonderfully refreshing.  Being able to share the very dark moments of IBS,is something that is rarely possible, even amongst our closest friends.

The sessions were varied in nature, and always involved a sense of progression, I never left feeling as those it had been a waste of time.   The one thing I would warn those considering therapy, is the slow nature if progression.  It took some time for many of the lessons to sink in, however when they did they stuck.  It must be remembered that much of the damage caused by IBS happens over a long period of time so to expect this to be undone over night is unwise.

Clinical Psychology

Differences between psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy

There are significant differences between psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy roles and they tend to deal with different types of problems, although there is also considerable overlap in their work.

Below is a brief description of each of the careers and you can visit our pages on psychology and psychotherapy for more information.

What is psychology?

Psychology is the study of people: how they think, how they act, react and interact. Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivation underlying such behaviour.

Psychology is a discipline that is firstly concerned with the normal functioning of the mind and has explored areas such as learning, remembering and the normal psychological development of children. Psychology is one of the fastest growing university subjects and is becoming increasingly available in schools and colleges.

Psychologists deal with the way the mind works and can specialise in a number of areas, such as mental health and educational and occupational psychology.

Psychologists are not usually medically qualified and only a small proportion of people studying psychology degrees will go on to work with patients.

What is psychiatry?

Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders and their diagnosis, management and prevention. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry. They often combine a broad general caseload alongside an area of special expertise and research.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is conducted with individuals, groups, couples and families. Psychotherapists help people to overcome stress, emotional and relationship problems or troublesome habits.

There are many different approaches in psychotherapy, or talking therapies, which include:

cognitive behavioural therapies

psychoanalytic therapies

psychodynamic therapies

systemic and family psychotherapy

arts and play therapies

humanistic and integrative psychotherapies


experiential constructivist therapies

A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional, who has had further specialist training in psychotherapy. Increasingly, there are a number of psychotherapists who do not have backgrounds in the above fields, but who have undertaken in depth training in this area.

Consultant psychiatrists in psychotherapy are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry and then undertaken a three or four-year specialist training in psychotherapy. Their role is in the psychotherapeutic treatment of patients with psychiatric illnesses.

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