Homepage " News " The role of psychology in humanising medicine: Understanding and supporting patients

The role of psychology in humanising medicine: Understanding and supporting patients

20 November 2023

Medicine is not just about treating illness and injury. It is also a field that relies on human relationships and empathy. Modern medicine is increasingly emphasising the humanisation of healthcare, i.e. caring for patients not just as clinical cases, but as whole persons. In this process, psychology plays a key role.

Psychology in medical settings

Psychology has long been an integral part of the medical community. Clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists help patients cope with the emotional aspects of illness, stress and trauma. However, their role goes beyond the therapy of patients.

Psychologists in medical settings play a key role in educating doctors and medical staff about the psychological aspects of healthcare. They help to understand how emotions and stress affect patients' health and how their psychological needs can be effectively supported.

In addition, psychologists are involved in researching the impact of stress on health and developing strategies to prevent psychosomatic diseases. Their scientific work helps to understand how psychological factors can influence the development and course of diseases, which is crucial for providing comprehensive medical care.

Psychologists in the medical community also deal with ethical dilemmas, such as patients refusing treatment on religious grounds or issues related to medical confidentiality. Their knowledge and experience in ethics help to resolve difficult situations that may arise in healthcare.

The role of psychologists in promoting healthy lifestyles and preventive health care should also not be overlooked. They educate patients about the impact of habits, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, on mental and physical health. They support patients in making healthy lifestyle decisions and managing addictions.


Psychology plays a key role in the diagnostic process in healthcare. One of the main tasks of psychologists is to identify emotional problems in patients. It turns out that often the symptoms of physical illnesses are closely linked to psychological problems. Patients may experience not only physical pain, but also stress, anxiety or depression, which affect their overall health.

Psychologists work with patients to identify these links between physical and emotional health. They may conduct interviews, observations and use various questionnaires and diagnostic tools. By doing so, they help patients to understand that their emotional state can affect their physical symptoms.

Recognising emotional problems is of great importance because it can lead to a more comprehensive approach to treatment. Patients who suffer both physically and emotionally may require multidisciplinary care that considers both medical and psychological aspects.

Motivation for change

Psychology also plays a key role in motivating patients to make positive lifestyle changes. Understanding the psychological aspects of health behaviour is key to improving patients' health. Psychologists help patients identify factors that contribute to their unhealthy habits, such as smoking, an unhealthy diet or lack of physical activity.

Through motivational therapies and psychological support, psychologists help patients to motivate themselves to change their behaviour. They help identify health goals and develop strategies to help achieve these goals. Motivation to change is key, as patients often know what is healthy for them, but need psychological support to turn this knowledge into action.

As a result, psychology plays an important role not only in identifying emotional problems in patients, but also in supporting them to change for the better. As a result, healthcare becomes more comprehensive and effective, and patients are more likely to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Support for families

Psychology plays a key role not only in caring for patients, but also in providing support for their families. The illness of one family member affects everyone, and psychologists are here to help families cope with the difficulties of a loved one's illness.

When a family member falls ill, the whole family may experience emotional difficulties. This is often accompanied by anxiety, fear of an uncertain future and a sense of helplessness. Psychologists offer emotional support, helping families to express and cope with their feelings. This is particularly important as a lack of adequate support can lead to stress and deterioration.

Psychologists help families understand what changes the illness may bring and how to prepare for them. This can include providing information about the illness, its treatment and possible side effects. This can help families feel more informed and confident, which can reduce fear and anxiety.

Psychological support for families is also about coping with the daily challenges of caring for a sick family member. Caring for someone who is ill can be difficult and demanding. Psychologists help families develop coping skills, stress management and conflict resolution.

It is also important to provide psychological support for children in families where one parent or sibling is ill. Children often do not fully understand the situation and may experience fear and anxiety. Psychologists work with children to help them understand the illness and deal with their emotions.