4 reasons why you should work with a GI Behavioral Health provider

Have you ever felt a “pit in your stomach” when receiving unexpected news or experienced “butterflies” before a work presentation? If so, you’re feeling the impact of the gut-brain connection.

You might not know it, but your brain and your gut are in constant communication with each other – and scientists are beginning to understand how that communication affects GI symptoms. 

“This doesn’t mean your symptoms are not real or ‘all in your head,’” explains Mariah Corneille, PsyD, Lead GI Behavioral Health Provider at Oshi Health. “Rather, think about it as a specific pathway between your mind and body that is disrupted.” A GI Behavioral Health provider can provide personalized, evidence-based tools to improve the disrupted connection. 

Here are 4 reasons why working with a GI Behavioral Health provider can help you improve your digestive symptoms, even if you’ve worked with a psychologist or mental health provider in the past.

1. Specific expertise in GI conditions

A GI Behavioral Health Provider doesn’t provide traditional mental health treatment, which is often focused solely on your mental and emotional health. Rather, they have specialized knowledge and training in gastrointestinal conditions, recognizing the interplay between your gut functioning and emotional wellbeing – and providing helpful gut-focused interventions.

2. Personalized, evidence-based tools to manage your symptoms

Unlike traditional therapy that often is ongoing, GI Behavioral Health treatment is short-term and skills-based, designed to help people take a proactive approach to symptom management. Common therapeutic gut-brain approaches include: belly breathing, relaxation training, and learning skills to improve the response to distressing internal experiences (thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms).

3. Support to help end the stress-GI distress cycle

There is a common myth that GI behavioral health is only for those with severe gastrointestinal symptoms. But, most individuals with GI-related distress have noticed that feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety can contribute to their physical symptoms. And it becomes a bit of a “chicken and egg” scenario because many people with physical GI symptoms also struggle with the emotional burden of managing their illness. A GI Behavioral Health provider can help untangle this vicious cycle – whether it’s just starting or has been occurring for a long time.  

“I like to think the best candidates to see GI Behavioral Health specialists are those who are newly diagnosed and wanting to learn more about their conditions, but also those who have struggled for a long time to get an answer to their chronic symptoms are ideal candidates,” says Dr. Corneille.

4. Holistic, team-based approach for overall wellness

A GI Behavioral Health provider at Oshi Health will work alongside your entire care team, including your primary GI provider, GI Registered Dietitian, and GI Health Coach, to build a holistic care plan personalized for you. A holistic approach means your team will consider the many aspects that make you you and will work together—while partnering with you—to ensure that your plan is working, adjusting as needed, and overall, provide you with the support you need along the way.

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