Counseling Psychology and Physiotherapy for Optimum Healthcare


We can not simply look after one aspect of the nervous system and expect the best results. We must look after each individual as a whole person. This includes both the physical and the emotional nervous systems.

Welcome Dr. Deirdre Walsh

As a team we are thrilled to be able to bring Dr. Deirdre Walsh, counseling psychologist, to McGowan Physio. So often our patients struggle not only with physical problems but also with their emotional health. This is completely normal and all part of the human experience. It is wonderful to be able to create an opportunity at the clinic for those who wish to address their emotional health as well as their physical well being.


Scoliosis and Mental Health

Clinical experience has led me to realize the importance of addressing emotional upset in the people I work with but there is also a huge amount of research that teaches us this. A review of the literature earlier this year by Mitsiaki et al (2022) concluded that there are associations between adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and depression, anxiety and neuroticism. Wang et al (2021) advised that more attention should focus on supporting young people’s mental health while going through bracing treatments for scoliosis. Their review of the data reported that adolescents with scoliosis, being treated with bracing, suffer in their quality of life most from psychological burdens. Lee et al (2021) advise that young people with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and their parents should receive counseling given an increased risk of mental health issues.  It is a tough diagnosis in many regards. If going through conservative treatment it can feel somewhat endless for the young person. Having to wear a brace and complete exercise can feel very unfair. If the diagnosis is that of a scoliosis needing surgery this comes with its own fears and anxieties. We strongly encourage all of our young people to speak up about how they are feeling with their diagnosis. This can be to their family, their friends, to us as their physios or sometimes external support is required and that is when Deirdre can be of huge support to a family. Issues such as body image and insecurity can often be brought up as well and this can surface at any age in the life of somebody living with scoliosis.

Hypermobility, Persistent Pain and Quality of Life

People affected by other conditions we commonly treat at McGowan Physio will also benefit from the help of a counseling psychologist. Mallorquí-Bagué et al (2014) was able to confirm the link between higher levels of anxiety in people with joint hypermobility. When taught the correct skills to manage anxiety it can majorly improve quality of life. Anyone having to live with persistent pain or a condition that has a negative impact on their quality of life may benefit from the positive effects of attending with a counseling psychologist.

Hope for the Future

I feel that this piece is merely touching the surface of a massive topic but the hope is that as time goes on and as a team we can further assist with the management of all aspects of the health and happiness of our patients. We are so thrilled to have Deirdre as a crucial part of our team. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions that you may have on this topic. We are happy to help in any way that we can.

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