The concept of sex differences/gender differences has made it’s way into health care in three areas: women metabolize medications differently than men; medical symptoms indicating illness, especially heart disease, present differently in women; a woman’s physical health is intricately interwoven with hormonal changes that occur throughout the lifespan and these have psychological ramifications. In addition a woman’s needs for relationship and connectedness influence her physical and psychological wellbeing.
One result of these awarenesses is physician recognition that a woman is more than the symptom that she brings into the consultation room. This means assessing life style, stressors, emotional state and coping resources. Many of the issues that women bring into doctor’s offices can be helped with the combination of a good physician- patient relationship, follow through on recommended medical intervention when needed, and teaching about the importance of a balanced lifestyle.
There are times, however, when there are no physical findings to support the presenting symptom or when a woman is non responsive or minimally responsive to medical intervention. This is a sign that deeper non-organic factors may be contributing to the maintenance of the symptom, which can become chronically painful and contribute to feelings of despair and desperation.
A psychotherapy consultation provides a safe and nurturing setting in which a woman can be helped to sort out what may be contributing to her symptoms as well as identify and assess options that will best facilitate her healing and health.
For a more in depth explanation of this, please read here (link).