Is Chronic Illness Taking Over Your Life?


I can help… 

Hi, my name is Dr. Scott Rower.  I’m a health psychologist who specializes in working with people who are struggling with chronic health issues and chronic pain. 

Your health problems don’t need to be “all in your head” for you to benefit significantly from treatment with a health psychologist. Health issues often bring pain & discomfort in the body but that’s often not where it ends.

For most people, the illness also affects large parts of their life – they see friends less, relationships get disrupted, or it’s hard to go to work or school.  It doesn’t have to be like this.
Here are some common problems that come with serious illness or pain:

  • Feeling depressed due to the changes health issues have caused
  • Overwhelming stress & worry about health
  • Feeling like no one really understands what it’s like to have a chronic health problem
  • Feeling overwhelmed about making medical decisions
  • Adjusting to life with a chronic health condition

It’s Hard To Cope With It All

In addition to the health issues themselves, most people also have some of the reactions listed above as they come to terms with living with illness.  And you also have all the adjustments involved in changing your lifestyle in order to cope.  

Dealing effectively with all these changes and stresses means paying much more attention to your coping skills.  If your coping and self-care skills are rusty or non-existent, some new tools could be very helpful for getting you back in the road to healing.  

This is what I do – I help people learn and practice new skills to cope more effectively, so they can get back to living their life.

Lots of people report that by learning to manage their illness more effectively their quality of life gets better.  This means that you can actively work on making your life better by focusing on how you handle the stress of your chronic illness.

Get More Help On Your Team

Think of a tennis player.  The more serious a person is about tennis the more people she will have supporting her and helping her train.  She’ll have a tennis coach, a nutritionist, a fitness coach and likely a sports psychologist – someone to help her deal with the stress and to help her build up her coping skills.

While this is common in sports, what you may not know is this is also common in medicine too – the best hospitals in the world have health psychologists on staff.  

This is likely something your insurance will cover, so why not give yourself the best changes possible of coping with your illness effectively and get back to living your life?

If you are serious about healing and if you’d like more people supporting you through this difficult time in your life, talk to me about joining your team. 

What exactly is Health Psychology?

Clinical Health Psychology (also known as behavioral medicine) is a specialty within psychology that focuses on the unique issues that people struggling with physical illness encounter.  Health issues are much more than just a problem with the body. They often affect many areas of someone’s life, such as…

  • Your mood – how happy, sad, anxious or depressed you are
  • Your thoughts – how much you worry or are hopeless about the future
  • Your social life – how much you engage with the people special to you
  • Your work life – how able you are to perform a job

Health Psychology, for the most part, is an evidenced-based type of approach to therapy.  This means that I stay current on the latest research and use techniques that have been shown to work in the scientific literature.

What Is Treatment Like?

As a health psychologist my main goal is to help you manage your health condition and improve your quality of life.  Together, as a team, we figure out how to help you to live better both physically & mentally.   

Together, as a team, we figure out how to help you to live better — both physically & mentally.   We will focus on learning new skills, attitudes & behaviors (because surgery, injections & medications are not the only resources for treating chronic health issues). 

Because no two people are alike, treatment is tailored to the unique situation of each patient.  In general, my work with people tends to be more short-term & focused on specific problems.  Examples of common problems that a health psychologist can help with include :

  • Having a hard time following doctor’s recommendations even though you want to
  • Worrying so much about symptoms that you aren’t able to work like you used to
  • Chronic pain that makes you feel irritable and so you end up pushing away the people that you care about
  • Having so much anxiety about symptoms that your relationship suffers or you have given up on dating

Once we are clear on how your health issues are getting in the way of your life we can explore how learn how to…

  • Stop your thoughts from holding you back
  • Develop mindfulness skills to keep your symptoms in perspective
  • Commit to meaningful actions that lead to richer, more fulfilling experiences like paying attention to relationships, starting to work again or to get back to school.

The types of treatments I use are evidenced-based.  This means that I stay current on the latest research and I am dedicated to using methods that are based on the best science that is available.  I specialize in a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – which is particularly helpful for people coping with the struggles that come with chronic illness.

Finally, another way I can be helpful is by communicating with your other medical providers so that you and your whole medical team are all on the same page.

Will My Insurance Pay for Treatment with a Health Psychologist?

If your insurance has mental health coverage then yes, it will be covered under these benefits.  If you are unsure of what your coverage is you can call the phone number on the back of your insurance card or call us, at 503-281-4852, to see if we can help.


If you think that meeting with a health psychologist could benefit you or if you have any questions – send me a confidential email below.  Or you can give me a call at 503-281-4852 x12.

About Scott Rower, PhD

Dr. Rower earned his doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis on health psychology. After completing his formal education he completed a clinical fellowship in Fort Colllins, Colorado where he served as the on-call psychologist in a primary care center to consult with both physicians and patients. Dr. Rower completed a second fellowship in Portland, Oregon where he intensively studied a type of evidenced-based therapy (acceptance and commitment therapy) that has been shown to work particularly well with chronic health issues.

Dr. Rower is currently serving as the President of the Oregon chapter of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science and is a member of the following organizations:

If you’d like to talk with Dr. Rower, give him a call at 503-281-4852 x 12 or use the contact form below.