Behavioral Health Overview


Huron Gastro is a leader in diagnosis and treatment of GI conditions. At Huron Gastro we are equipped to serve your digestive and health needs and are happy to announce that we offer a Behavioral Health Program specific to working with GI conditions. At Huron Gastro we know that having a GI condition can affect your whole life, not just your GI tract. Having a GI diagnosis can create many concerns that not only impact your physical health, but also your mental health. We recognize the impact and unpredictability that a patient's GI symptoms has on daily life, plans, social life and support systems.

Patients receiving GI behavioral health do not necessarily suffer from mental illnesses. Rather, they are looking to improve their emotional health while better managing their physical conditions. Evidence-based research has shown that managing one's mental health can significantly impact one's physical health and overall well-being. Our Behavioral Health Program offers therapies to support you manage and navigate the emotions associated with having a GI diagnosis. Our Clinical Social Worker at Huron Gastro works in a collaborative approach alongside GI providers to provide the best care for patients overall mental and physical wellbeing. At Huron Gastro we recognize the importance of the mind, body, gut connection within treatment of GI conditions. Our GI Behavioral Health Program offers short-term therapy treating GI conditions in a group setting and individual counseling.

Behavioral Treatments for Gastrointestinal Disorders

Our Clinical Social Worker is highly trained and experienced. She will work alongside GI doctors, providers and patients to create an individual treatment plan that is specific to patients' physical and emotional health needs. Our Clinical Social Worker will provide psychotherapy to patients to begin to work with faulty signaling that develops between the brain and gut and that can make symptoms more intense. The therapies provided by our GI Social Worker have been specifically adapted to improve the way the brain interprets sensations impacting the brain and gut connection.

Psychotherapies based on brain-gut connection are interventions that focus on the way the brain and gut communicate and can be very helpful in the treatment of GI disorders. Some psychotherapies that have been shown to help improve GI symptoms and overall quality of life are Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Gut Directed Hypnotherapy and Stress Management Therapy.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a common type of talk therapy and has been proven effective in treating mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, depression, chronic illnesses, including gastrointestinal conditions. CBT can be an effective tool to help patients learn how to better manage stressful situations, including GI diagnosis.

GI-CBT teaches skills that can improve unhelpful beliefs and attitudes and help you focus on what is important to you, helping you with your life despite having GI symptoms. This type of therapy is often offered in 6-8 sessions with homework and exercise assigned between visits.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy addresses "miscommunication" between the brain and gut. During therapy a patient will be guided into a focused state of awareness while feeling deeply relaxed. The technique uses suggestion, imagery and relaxation to produce a therapeutic effect. Gut-directed hypnotherapy for digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) uses suggestions aimed at calming the digestive tract and preventing unnecessary focus on physical discomfort.

Stress management therapy uses both talk therapy and instruction in simple techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation training. Therapist work with GI patients to help them identify and learn coping skills tools they can rely on to manage and reduce stress levels and work through and identify situations or events that could lead to increased stress levels.

At Huron Gastro we offer a variety of avenues for Behavioral Health Services, including individual therapy which is solution focused and is short-term and typically lasting 6 to 8 sessions, group therapy that meets weekly for a 12-week session and ongoing group support for patients who complete individual sessions and group therapy.

Patients that can benefit from GI therapy:

  • You find that life stressors make the symptoms of your GI condition worse
  • You are excessively worried about the impact of your symptoms
  • You have trouble understanding your condition or treatment plan
  • Your medication is not working
  • You have trouble relaxing
  • You are experiencing anxiety or depression because of your symptoms
  • You feel as though you do not have an adequate support system