There may come a time in treatment that patients might benefit from the assistance of a clinical health psychologist.   Dr. Jepson is a certified therapist with LifeStance Health whose office is located inside MCO. When there is a need, MCO’s team of expert physicians can refer to a provider that shares a roof. Though Dr. Jepson is independent of MCO, we work closely with him to achieve better health and outcomes for our patients.

For all patients

As a clinical health psychologist with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Jepson is trained to provide therapy and support to clients with a wide range of health-related concerns, including those who are chronically or terminally ill or in need of support in making significant changes in their health-related behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise, stress management, etc.). Dr. Jepson has a deep understanding of the complex relationship between our psychological states and our physical well-being and can use this expertise to help people as they navigate their unique healthcare journeys.

For OA patients

Having arthritis is painful and exhausting. Inflammation and the fatigue that goes with it further drag you down. The active life you once knew may have disappeared. These health challenges may cause you to not exercise, become less social and more isolated, and have worse sleep quality. These negative changes in your lifestyle can increase your pain and dampen your overall mood – bringing on the blues and depression. Having any form of arthritis can have a negative effect on your mental health. This most commonly manifests as depression or anxiety.  It works the other way around, too. Mental health problems can worsen arthritis symptoms. To effectively treat your chronic arthritis pain, you must address its physical, emotional, and psychological aspects.

Stress, poor sleep, anxiety, and depression all influence pain levels. Although what causes depression in people with arthritis may differ, the link is real and potentially life-changing. Treating not only your arthritis but also specifically treating your anxiety or depression is key to living your fullest life. For example, studies show that anxiety and depression can lower your pain threshold. And then, the chronic pain aggravates your anxiety and depression. Furthermore, people with arthritis and depression tend to have more functional limitations, are less likely to adhere to their treatment regimens, and have increased odds of developing other health problems. The vicious cycle of pain, poor health, and negative mood can significantly change the course and management of your arthritis.

Understanding and managing the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that accompany the discomfort can help you cope more effectively with your pain—and can actually reduce the intensity of your pain. As a clinical health psychologist with more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Jepson is an expert in helping people cope with the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that accompany chronic pain.

During your initial visit with Dr. Jepson, you can expect to discuss your physical and emotional health. He will ask about the pain you experience, where and when it occurs, and what factors may affect it. In addition, he will likely ask you to discuss any worries or stresses, including those related to your pain.

Once a comprehensive understanding of your concerns is developed, Dr. Jepson will work with you to create a treatment plan designed specifically for you. The plan often involves teaching relaxation techniques, changing old beliefs about pain, building new coping skills, and addressing any anxiety or depression that may accompany your pain. Dr. Jepson can also help you make lifestyle changes that will allow you to continue participating in work and recreational activities. And because pain often contributes to insomnia, Dr. Jepson may also help you learn new ways to sleep better.

For BMI over 40 patients

When it comes to losing weight, many individuals know to focus on eating less and exercising more. But a major aspect of weight control involves understanding and managing thoughts and behaviors that can interfere with weight loss.

As a clinical health psychologist with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Jepson is an expert in helping people make behavioral and lifestyle changes that assist with weight management. People who may benefit from psychological intervention in their weight management plan include those who simply struggle with managing their weight, as well as individuals whose weight problems are related to chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease or other conditions like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.

Dr. Jepson will meet with you to discuss your history and concerns. This may include your weight management goals and past efforts to lose weight, medical history, stress levels, current life situation, and your sources of social support like family and friends.

Certain types of behaviors and beliefs often sabotage weight loss efforts. Your habits and attitudes about food, eating, weight loss, and body image can interfere with reaching your health goals. Common unhealthy beliefs that patients express include: having to clean off their plate, needing dessert after meals, and feeling like a failure when weight loss stalls. Some typical behaviors people struggle with include: eating whatever they want after exercise, using food to cope with feelings of boredom or stress, and continuing to eat when they are no longer hungry.

Dr. Jepson will help you identify challenges to making healthy choices and identify the triggers that prompt you to make unhealthy choices. He will also evaluate whether complicating factors such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders such as binge eating are present. These conditions can sometimes contribute to weight issues.

For surgical candidates

When considering surgery to address joint problems and other painful conditions, it is important to realize that there are many factors that can help or hinder your success. These include emotional, physical, and psychological factors that can interfere with successful recovery. To optimize your treatment outcome, your doctor may refer you for a pre-surgical psychological assessment with Dr. Jepson to identify strengths and limitations in order to maximize your chances for success. 

Successful treatment for medical conditions often involves making behavior changes. Sometimes, these changes are more difficult to make than expected. As a clinical health psychologist with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Jepson is equipped to provide therapy and support to clients so they can find ways to improve health-related behaviors (e.g., improve diet/exercise, increase adherence to medication guidelines, etc.), manage thoughts and feelings that can worsen physical symptoms (e.g., pain), and help integrate their new “patient” status into their overall sense of self.