The Benefits of Psychotherapy for People with MS

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Jeff Wilken, Ph.D. , Susan Ko, Ph.D.
May 22, 2023

Everyday life can be full of stress, whether from work, home, world affairs, or any number of other factors. For people with multiple sclerosis (MS), add to that difficult symptoms and complications that can affect emotional health, plus the unpredictability of the disease and its relapses. While it may feel like a never-ending perfect storm of stress, you may be surprised at how much relief you can find when you know where to look. Psychotherapy is a tool that may help you feel better equipped to handle whatever MS—and the rest of life—throws your way.

Psychotherapy is commonly called talk therapy or counseling, but it involves much more than just talking. It’s a form of treatment aimed at helping people manage and reduce negative emotional symptoms so they can function better with MS and other parts of daily life, according to the American Psychiatric Association. You may find it through a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, marriage and family therapist, psychiatric nurse, or other professional with specialized training in psychotherapy—so long as they’re qualified and licensed in the field.

There are plenty of good reasons to try psychotherapy, even if you feel perfectly capable of handling things on your own. “People feel like they should be able to work things out by themselves, but everyone deserves, at certain points in their life, to speak to a trained specialist—especially if they have a chronic illness like MS,” says Diane Solomon, Ph.D., a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner in Portland, Oregon.