Psychotherapy as Part of Your Treatment Plan for a Functional Gastrointestinal (GI) Problem


Dr. Jennifer Franklin is a guest blogger for NC Center for Resiliency, PLLC
Please read about why you might seek psychotherapy support for your Functional GI Problems.  Psycho biological approaches support the mind body connection and can address a variety of physical health concerns. Dr. Franklin does a great job describing why psychotherapy could be of help to you. Please read her recent guest blog post!

​Psychotherapy as Part of Your Treatment Plan for a
Functional Gastrointestinal (GI) Problem

by Dr. Jennifer Franklin
Albert Einstein famously stated, “Problems cannot be solved on the level on which they were created.”  Healing your functional GI problem occurs by deepening your level of understanding and making gradual shifts over time that create new neural patterning, generating healing.
Digestion is regulated by your autonomic nervous system (ANS), the part of your nervous system that operates without conscious control. Just because you don’t have complete conscious control over your ANS doesn’t mean that you have no control. All it means is that if you pay no attention to how your ANS functions, then it will automatically do what it has been trained over years of habitual functioning.
Deepening your understanding of your GI symptoms thus means learning to pay attention to your ANS in a particular way across a variety of situations, contexts, and environments with and without different people over time. Healing involves learning about how your ANS is involved in generating and perpetuating the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational patterns that relate to your physiological symptoms. Healing also involves doing something different, something that is likely to bring about a shift in the way you feel, something that puts your body at ease, and then doing that thing so often that your body becomes used to being at ease on a regular basis.
People typically think of working with psychotherapists for emotional problems, not physical problems. By the time people with functional gastrointestinal (GI) problems realize that a psychotherapist can be helpful to them, the toll of living with physical problems has led to emotional problems. In the meantime, people will exhaust their resources—time, energy, and money—trying other treatment modalities like medications, herbs, diets, supplements, reading, research, acupuncture, bodywork, energy healing, etc., that may not resolve the symptoms.
Psychotherapy is something you can and may want to start as soon as you are sure you have a functional GI problem. Psychotherapy with or at least some consultation with a practitioner specially trained in working at the intersection of the autonomic nervous system and the digestive system would be a valuable addition to your treatment plan. 
Bio for Dr. Jennifer Franklin
Dr. Jennifer Franklin is a mindfulness-based, somatically-oriented psychologist dually licensed in North Carolina and California offering individual and couples therapy, teletherapy, and consultation. She worked at the UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders in Chapel Hill and specializes in healing functional medical problems, especially gastrointestinal problems, along with issues of anxiety, panic, relationship, attachment, and trauma. Dr. Franklin teaches Vipassana/mindfulness meditation, has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the psychology and spirituality of the professional actor.
To learn more about Dr. Franklin and her general practice, please visit
To learn more about her specialty area in functional medical/gastrointestinal problems, please visit

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