Coping with a New Medical Diagnosis

Whether it’s a chronic illness or a sudden health crisis, the news can be overwhelming and leave you feeling powerless. You deserve to protect your mental health, as well as your physical health, too.

Are you thinking - "Why me, I can’t handle this, nothing will be the same…" You’re not alone:

A new medical diagnosis can come with a heavy burden of emotions, questions, and concerns. Whether it’s a chronic illness or a sudden health crisis, the news can be overwhelming and leave you feeling powerless. Many different feelings might arise such as guilt, sadness, shock and even relief that there is an explanation for your symptoms. It is natural to feel a range of emotions after receiving such news. The impact of a diagnosis can be far-reaching and affect all aspects of life, including work, relationships, and your overall sense of purpose. It is important to remember that all these feelings are very normal and part of the process when someone has been diagnosed with a medical illness.

chronic illness mental health

Find Ways to Cope with your Diagnosis

Acknowledging these feelings can help you find new ways to cope with them in order to move forward.

Therapy provides an opportunity to process emotions related to the diagnosis and explore ways of addressing any symptoms, while also helping you deal with the personal implications that accompany a medical illness. At MUV counseling, we can help you find new ways to manage your illness so that you feel more in control and better equipped to handle what lies ahead. It is also important to recognize that feelings of grief, anger, or fear are normal reactions when faced with something unexpected; counseling can help you accept or come to terms with your diagnosis in order to move forward with less struggle in your life.

Counseling can help you get through this...

Counseling can be an invaluable resource for individuals who have been recently diagnosed with a medical condition. It provides an opportunity to explore the many physical, psychological, and emotional issues that can accompany a diagnosis or change in health. Counseling can give you an outside perspective from someone with no vested interest in your situation and you can never be a burden to. The therapeutic process helps you gain clarity on how best to take care of yourself, make informed decisions about your healthcare journey using your values and helps you accept the vulnerability that comes with needing change you didn’t ask for.


Receiving a medical diagnosis can be a stressful and frightening experience, and often it can result in mental health symptoms such as:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty sleeping
  • rumination on loss
  • grief
  • sadness
  • agitation
  • fear
  • blaming
  • anger
  • negative self-talk
  • rejection
  • fatigue
  • loss of interest
  • increased pain
  • avoidance
  • suicidal thoughts

Many of these symptoms are normal and expected but when they persist for a long period of time or they start to negatively impact daily life. It is important to seek support from friends and family, spiritual support and maybe a professional.

coping with new medical diagnosis

There are treatment options that can help:

Counseling is an important part of dealing with a new medical diagnosis. At MUV Counseling we offer a variety of counseling modalities that can support you as you navigate a new medical diagnosis or change in you health, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT) supports value driven action and Narrative Therapy/Life Story Therapy helps build insight into your story of self and meaning in your life. These three approaches can provide an effective way to process and manage the emotions associated with a new medical diagnosis.

counseling for anxiety in Scottsdale.

For more details about therapy for a new medical diagnosis or chronic illness in Scottsdale, call us at 480-300-2635 for a free 15 minute consultation or email us with your questions. If you’re ready to get started, schedule online here.

Types of Counseling

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective type of therapy that can help individuals cope with a new medical diagnosis. CBT helps people to develop healthy coping skills and manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to best adjust to their situation. It also aids in helping people gain a better understanding of themselves, which can be beneficial when facing a new medical diagnosis. With the help of CBT, individuals can find ways to accept and adjust to their new diagnosis while learning how to live their life in the most meaningful way possible.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a form of psychotherapy that can be beneficial for those who have recently been diagnosed with a medical condition. The focus of ACT is to help people accept their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations associated with the diagnosis in order to move forward in life with greater psychological flexibility and commitment to valued goals. Through ACT, individuals can learn how to take action to better manage their health while also gaining insight into how their mental health can impact the overall management of their medical diagnosis.

Narrative/Life Story Therapy With a new medical diagnosis the focus is often on physical symptoms only later making room for the emotional or psychological factors. Narrative/life story therapy is an approach to counseling and psychotherapy that aims to help individuals identify their own unique stories and experiences in order to better understand the meaning of their lives. This approach seeks to empower you by utilizing your history, stories and life experiences in order to gain insight into your current challenges. By understanding how our past can influence our present, we are able to identify patterns of behavior that may be contributing to our difficulties in the now. Through this process, narrative therapy and life story therapy aim to help the client take control of their own lives and develop a sense of agency in order to create meaningful change.

Frequently Asked Questions about Counseling for Health Anxiety:

Diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders- Lupus, Crohns, Graves Disease, Postural Tachycardia SyndromePOTS Disease, cancers, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

While all these diagnoses are very different, coping with any of them means dealing with change. These diagnoses all impact daily functioning including physical health, mobility and health related habits. Each diagnosis also features periods of acute symptoms followed by time of physical stability.

Receiving a new medical diagnosis can be overwhelming and debilitating. Coping with the news of having to manage a chronic condition can feel daunting, and it is not uncommon for patients to feel discouraged or even depressed. Counseling is an invaluable resource for those who have recently been diagnosed with a medical condition.

By allowing clients to explore their feelings in a safe space, counseling provides individuals with the time and support needed to process new information about their health. Counselors provide valuable guidance as clients adjust to their new reality, offering insight into how they might better manage their symptoms so that they can still lead meaningful lives. Additionally, counselors are trained to recognize signs of depression that may arise as part of adjusting to a medical diagnosis, such as feeling overwhelmed or difficulty coping.

Communication is key to being an effective advocate for yourself, especially when negotiating with medical teams. Sometimes following all the rules set forth by a treatment team is ideal but not possible. Counseling can help you develop a variety of strategies to ensure you know what is most important to you and will help your message be heard and understood.

First, stay focused on the facts related to your situation so that the team understands what you’re asking for and can provide accurate help or advice. Second, make sure to present any relevant information in a factual way so you can use your emotional experience to support the needs your team is helping with. Third, ask questions in order to clarify expectations from both sides of the conversation so that we can move forward or negotiate new treatment options more effectively. Finally, take notes during your conversations so that all parties are clear about what has been agreed upon before you leave your visit.