Health Psychology Committee Report


The relevance of psychology in hospital settings cannot be underestimated because it has the potential to shorten patient stays or adherence to medical regimens hence boosting the overall health of the population. Through an analysis of five psychology titles, the report shall illustrate how the latter objectives are attainable.

Duty list

The roles to be allocated start with substance abuse counselors. They will organize utilization of recovery programs or structured ones for substance abusers alongside social workers.

The child psychologist will be responsible for partnership with local schools and for children’s psychological preparation methods before undergoing medical procedures. Conversely, the adult psychologist will be responsible for the diagnosis and relief of stress disorders.

The inpatient-only psychologists will be assigned the task of treating patients suffering from chronic pain. They will employ different methods to ease coping and adjustment of the latter individuals to their conditions. Psychological preparation of patients prior to surgery will also be done by these psychologists.

Other areas not included in the duty list

One of the areas that were not included is behavior therapy. Functional analysis is a key intervention area that can contribute towards more effective outcomes. Behavior therapists can work on various problems that contribute either towards longer stay in hospitals or those ones that prevent patients from adhering to medical regimens. Examples here include anxiety, forgiveness amongst families, chronic distress, anorexia, obesity, chronic pain, and substance abuse. (Tillman et al, 2004) Through the use of operant conditioning or classical conditioning, it can be possible for such specialists to identify potential inhibitors to medical intervention amongst patients and hence deal with them. Furthermore, studies indicate that certain behavioral tendencies contribute towards medical conditions and can perpetuate them if they continue to operate while medical interventions are in progress. For instance, a patient with a phobia for danger may assume that everyone is out to get him and that even any drugs given in a hospital cannot be trusted as they may have dangerous side effects. The behavioral therapist can allay the fears of such a patient by exposing the individual to that phobia albeit within a controlled atmosphere. Repeatedly doing this will ensure that the individual is no longer afraid of the danger and he can therefore take his medication. Alternatively, behavioral therapists can also assist vulnerable groups within the hospital to get rid of dangerous behaviors so as to prevent potential complications in the patient. An example of such a scenario is the overeating patient who has diabetes. This individual may have a craving for certain foods yet those foods could be very dangerous to his condition and would undermine the success of interventions. Through reward and punishment modifications, the behavior therapist can assist such a person to learn how to instate punishments after eating those sugary foods and how to reward himself or herself if he refrains from eating them. (Tsai & Kohlenberg, 1991)

The rationale of assignment of choices

The substance abuse counselor was assigned with the duty of coordinating recovery and structured programs for substance abuse together with the counselor because this has a direct relation with health psychology principles related to patient care amongst drug addicts. The substance abuse counselor works towards causing abstinence towards drugs, stabilization of psychiatric symptoms, resolution of personal problems, prevention of relapse, and instating positive change in concerned patients. Consequently, giving the role of coordinating structured and recovery programs is right within the mandate of the substance abuse counselor.

The child psychologist was chosen for the duty of collaborating with local schools and preparing children psychologically prior to treatment because this is a therapist whose main concern is working with children. When working with schools, it is obvious that interaction and full knowledge of children will be needed and this falls right within her jurisdiction. Also, child psychologists understand the way children reason and therefore have the capability of preparing them for treatment. (Ryglewivz & Pepper, 1982)

The inpatient-only psychologist will probably be the busiest because he will be carrying out three of the earlier selected duties. This specialist will be responsible for assisting patients to cope with chronic or terminal illness because it was likely that such individuals will be admitted to the hospital and will require support. Furthermore, the inpatient psychologist will assist in preparing patients for surgery or medical procedures because this is a matter that concerns the patient’s hospitals directly and therefore falls within his portfolio. Lastly, the latter’s tasks involved treatment for chronic pain because this is related to adjustment to chronic illness and it would be essential to provide continuity to such patients by having the same psychologist take care of both problems.

The adult psychologist is only going to deal with stress disorders and stress relief because this is a big challenge in most healthcare settings and one specialist ought to focus on such an enormous problem in order to give it the attention it deserves.

The behavioral psychologist was chosen for the task of detecting lifestyle or behavioral elements that might interfere with treatment or medical regimens because this kind of individual has the capacity of dealing with them by reinforcement mechanisms and this impedes their ability to affect health outcomes. (Sunberg, 2001)

How the psychologists will add to the enhancement of patient health

The substance abuse counselor has the capacity to motivate the patient to go for detoxification and also streamline the commitment to psychiatric care even when the patient may not be willing. This is a crucial part of the intervention in substance abuse cases. What’s more, drug addicts often need guidance on various elements of drug dependence i.e. the dangers or illnesses caused by them and ways of maintaining recovery. If such guidance is done well, then the possibility of staying in hospital due to complications brought on by drug dependence or addiction can be dramatically reduced. On top of the latter, it can also be possible to enhance the quality of healthcare amongst drug addicts when the need for other referral services are made by the substance abuse counselor and this can range from medical, social, or economic needs. Getting to the root of the problem will prevent recidivism of the complication and reduce a need for a lengthier hospital stay. Substance counselors carrying out this role can also play an important part in helping dually diagnosed patients i.e. patients with health complications directly related to the drugs and those ones that are worsened by the drug habit. A case in point is the smoking pregnant mother; through interventions made by such a psychologist, it can be possible for patients to quit this dangerous habit and thus protect the lives of their unborn children. A range of numerous health problems can emanate from drugs such as AIDS, mental illness, and depression. Therefore having the capacity to deal with dual disorders will definitely contribute towards better overall health.

The child psychologist will contribute towards shorter hospitalizations because he or she can be collaborating with schools so as to come up with programs that can assist children with disabilities to cope with their conditions. They can also work with schools so as to identify those children that may be at risk for depression and other mental health challenges. Cases of abuse in school settings can also be determined. In carrying out these tasks, then the child psychologist will have addressed underlying triggers to mental disorders and this will cause diagnosis and treatment to occur in a much faster manner with regard to mental health care. In terms of other non-mental illnesses, the child psychologist will play a tremendous role in improving adherence to medical regimens because young children do not possess the ability to understand their problems like adults. Furthermore, children may not understand the full importance of their medication and the seriousness of sticking to medical regimens. Child psychologists can communicate these facts to them in a language they relate to thus contributing towards better health. (Ryglewivz & Pepper, 1982)

The inpatient psychologist will contribute towards better health because he will assist patients to adjust to their chronic illnesses and this heightens their ability to deal with their symptoms; it means fewer hospital stays. Furthermore, by preparing patients to cope with pain, they can manage their diseases in a better manner. Psychologically preparing them for surgery and medication will assist them in cooperating with their medical practitioners. Since different patients have a different attitude towards medication and surgery with a considerable number of them considering the losses and benefits that their medication will contribute towards their health, then it may be necessary to allay such fears or discuss the implications of failing to take medication. This will contribute towards better adherence to medical regimes and hence better health. (Sanders, 2007)

The adult psychologist will contribute towards better health outcomes because he will ensure the accurate diagnosis of stress and a thorough understanding of the problems patients may be going through thus providing plausible treatment approaches. This will contribute towards shorter hospital stays for patients with this mental health challenge.

The behavioral therapists will contribute towards better health outcomes because potential dangerous behavioral situations can be detected amongst patients and something will be one to prevent their interference with preexisting medical conditions. This implies that unnecessary complications brought on by ineffective medicine or lifestyles will be curbed.

It is likely that there may be an overlap between the adult psychologist’s duty and the behavioral therapist. However, the difference between these two professionals is that behavioral therapists will be focusing on preventing potential physiological dangers to patients due to mental health issues. On the other hand, the adult psychologist will focus on a mental health challenge solely. Overlap may also occur between the substance abuse counselor and the behavioral therapist. This overlap is not necessary and in order to curb this overlap, there may be a need for the behavior therapist to refer any drug or alcohol-related diseases to the substance abuse counselor.

Impact of implementation compared to lack of implementation

All five functions will be critical in heightening performance in healthcare. The adult psychologist will contribute towards the betterment of mental healthcare in the institution by assessing stress disorders and dealing with them. This implies that the patient’s well-being in terms of stress will be improved. If this role is not implemented, the medication may cease to be effective amongst patients since stress – which is a possible interference – will not have been addressed.

Having a behavioral therapist can also provide a platform against which the relevance and possible interference of certain psychological factors in medical intervention can be detected. These patients can be taken through the right behavioral therapy to minimize that interference and thus improve health outcomes. Failure to implement would be tantamount to dealing with physiological aspects of an illness and not focusing on other areas that can be equally influential in boosting health. (Roth & Daley, 1992)

Child psychologists will prepare children emotionally and psychologically for surgery, treatment, or other types of interventions that may be strenuous or difficult for them. This will increase the chances of following through on medication because their importance can be understood. Furthermore, any external factors that may hamper the success of treatment such as lifestyle changes are important in making medical services successful. The same role will be carried out by the inpatient-only psychologist. If these roles are not implemented, then chances are that relapses will keep occurring because patients may engage in actions that cause their illnesses to accelerate.

Lastly, without the substance abuse counselor, patients may be prone to drug-related disorders and may need longer hospitalization. Furthermore, psychiatric disorders may emanate out of drug use and thus minimize the effects of any medical regimens used. In conclusion, all five roles will serve to make hospitals better at providing physiological as well as mental healthcare.


Sanders, S. (2007). Behavioral treatment and conceptualization of chronic pain. Behavioral analysts today, 7(3), 260-261

Tsai, M. & Kohlenberg, R. (1991). Analytic psychotherapy, NY: Plenum

Ryglewivz, H. & Pepper, B. (1982). Young chronic patients. San Francisco: Jossey Bass

Roth, L. & Daley, D. (1992). Psychiatric illness & relapse. FL: Learning press

Sunberg, N. (2001). Evolving practice, research and theory in clinical psychology. Englewood: Prentice hall

Tillman, T., Axelrod, S., Hineline, P. & Cautili, J. (2004). Consultee behavior and resistance in therapy. IJBCT 12(3), 148-163

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