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The importance of psychological support for Long COVID and ME/CFS

Chronic diseases such as Long COVID and ME/CFS have not only a physical but also a significant psychological impact on those affected. Overcoming these challenges requires a holistic approach that takes both physical and mental health into account.

The basis of accompanying psychotherapy is constant contact with your body and possible overload. Your body sets the pace of the therapeutic process. Many people are also allowed to strengthen this connection at the beginning of therapy.

1. Loneliness: man as a social being

Loneliness is a common side effect of Long COVID and ME/CFS. The limited energy often leads to social contacts being neglected. In psychotherapeutic support, space is created to develop strategies to maintain social relationships and reduce loneliness despite limited energy.

2. Meaningfulness: the relationship to the illness

Those affected often ask themselves questions such as "Why me?" or "Does life still make sense like this?". The "old life" is considerably restricted and in our healthcare system people are often left alone with chronic illnesses. The meaning you give to your illness and the story you tell yourself about it is crucial for activating your self-healing powers.

3. Self-compassion: the struggle with expecting too much of yourself

Self-compassion is an essential skill that chronically ill people especially need to strengthen their mental health. However, the physical condition in particular can make it difficult to cultivate these skills. In psychotherapeutic support, individual approaches are developed to promote self-compassion despite physical limitations

4. Pacing: a good mental approach to stressors

Pacing, the avoidance of overload and stress, is the most important factor in preventing symptoms from worsening. However, this is easier said than done, especially when psychological factors in life cause stress. You can learn to be more in touch with your body and regulate your stress at an early stage.

5. Disease acceptance: without acceptance it is a constant struggle

Acceptance is not something that can be forced. The path goes through the suppressed feelings and underlying needs. A healthy grief reaction is often the way to achieve genuine acceptance of illness. This is where targeted psychotherapeutic methods can provide support.

6. Gratitude and enjoyment of life despite illness

A chronic illness is a strong invitation to focus primarily on the unfavorable aspects of life. Even if this focus is very understandable, it is unfortunately not effective. That is why it is crucial to look at your own resources, which are still there despite the illness, in order to build up hope and perseverance.

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