What are Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS)...
Focusing on unconscious processes
Have you ever felt pain in your chest, only to have doctors tell you they can’t find any physical cause? Or perhaps you’ve experienced recurring headaches or migraines that don't respond to conventional medical treatments? These may be symptoms of underlying psychological issues that need to be addressed. Research has shown that one way to deal with such problems is through Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP).
A significant portion of emergency department visits, internal medicine visits, and medical specialist visits do not yield a medical explanation (i.e., a diagnosis that explains the root cause of the symptoms). People often leave their medical appointments with a diagnosis of “Chest pain”, or leave a primary care office with a diagnosis of “Fibromyalgia” or “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”, or what the medical profession has leballed a "Functional Disorder". These diagnoses describe the symptoms, but do not help us understand the cause or the best treatment for the symptoms. Often, treatments are recommended, such as changes in diet, exercise, or medications, and these may reduce the symptoms. However, if emotional factors are the true cause or are a major contributor to the symptoms, those treatments will have only limited effects. This can have a frustrating emotional impact on patients and doctors, which can actually lead to a worsening of symptoms.
Fortunately, ISTDP employs diagnostic and therapeutic techniques that are able to detect and treat emotional processes at the root of such problems. There is evidence that these methods lead to reduced healthcare costs and symptom improvement, even after a very brief treatment course of ISTDP.
In ISTDP, the therapist is a far more active agent of change. Your therapist will help you to feel emotions that may have become avoided without knowing. Your therapist will help you embrace this change as a means of recovery by directly helping confront any resistance to change you may exhibit.
Perhaps most importantly, ISTDP is driven by results. This treatment has been extensively researched and shown to be effective with a wide range of presenting problems that often co-occur for people suffering from medically unexplained physical symptoms that are driven by emotional factors.
The Melbourne Centre for ISTDP can provide:
Differential Diagnosis: helping you determine whether emotional factors are contributing to your MUS
Effective Treatment: helping you overcome the emotional factors that are contributing to your physical symptoms and any other emotional difficulties you would like to address
Collaboration: working with your current medical providers to develop an optimal treatment plan based on our understanding of the role of emotional factors and physical factors in your symptoms