Optimizing Mental and Physical Health through Wellness Therapy
Through the wellness therapy program in Waterloo, Lisa Raney, mental health counselor, addresses the emotional, mental and physical aspects that contribute to a patient’s overall health. Due to this all-inclusive approach, patients participating in wellness therapy have reported high levels of satisfaction, an improved self-image and confidence in their ability to manage their health.
As part of the H.E.A.L. (Healthy Eating Active Lifestyle) program introduced in July of 2017, the Diabetes and Endocrinology clinic at Prairie Parkway added a wellness therapy program. With a focus on both mental and physical health, Lisa provides patients with the support and encouragement they need to make healthy lifestyle changes.
“When people first come in, they are frustrated with themselves and often feel depressed and anxious,” says Lisa. “By increasing physical activity and introducing stress management and mindfulness exercises, we provide patients with resources so they can actively participate in taking care of themselves.”
During wellness therapy sessions, patients walk on a treadmill while receiving coaching and education. “Patients often tell me they know what they should be doing to care for themselves, but it’s difficult to take action,” Lisa says. “The treadmills in our office give patients the ability to be active during therapy and to do what they know they should be doing. It gives them an incentive to keep pushing forward after their session has ended.”
For twin brothers, Lonnie and Tony Walker, the program not only enabled them to make strides towards their weight loss goals, but allowed them to learn about the impact of mental health on their overall health. “I’ve been struggling with weight loss my entire life, said Tony”. “Like a lot of people, I didn’t understand how much mental health affects your total health. Through wellness therapy, I was able to identify issues that had been holding me back from losing weight.”
In the support group offered through wellness therapy, Lonnie found that hearing the stories of other patients was a source of encouragement. “Hearing people’s stories gave me a positive outlook and the motivation to keep going,” Lonnie said. “Now I’ve lost over 40 pounds.”
Supporting UnityPoint Health’s new brand promise, Lisa and her team strive to ensure that every program participant knows how much they matter. “The message of ‘you matter’ is something I emphasize with each patient in every session,” Lisa says. “It’s been so uplifting to help people combine physical and mental health to optimize their health care experience and ultimately, to feel like they matter.”