Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
August 2010, Volume 2 Number 4 , p 163 - 167
According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, approximately 2-3% of the worldwide population. Psoriasis can be extremely debilitating, both physically and emotionally. Although common in the population, there is a lack of knowledge, and frequent misunderstanding in the general and medical communities about the disorder, which add to the stigma and emotional stress associated with it. Social support for individuals with chronic health disorders has been shown in previous research to reduce emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, to help increase feelings of empowerment, and to improve coping skills. The author reviews the role of social support and group participation for patients with psoriasis, and describes the results of an eight-week psychotherapy group for psoriasis patients, using Yalom's model of group psychotherapy. Providers and others need to be educated about psoriasis and the available community support, in order to be able to appropriately refer patients for these services.