Health Psychology

balanced stones; Health Psychology at UW HealthHealth Psychology services at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and the American Family Children's Hospital aim to promote health and prevent disease through appropriately specialized psychological health care.


This specialized care of patients acknowledges the critical links between mind, body and spirit in achieving the highest quality of life.


There is a national trend for health psychologists to take a larger role in health care settings, along with a growing recognition that psychological services are essential in the treatment of the whole person.


Locations and Phone Numbers

What is Health Psychology?


Health Psychology has become a vital force and specialty area in modern-day medical care, research and education, combining new psychosocial approaches with traditional medical prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.


Research shows that up to 60 percent of visits to physicians are caused by underlying mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and stress. The cost of these underlying mental health issues adds up to billions of dollars each year. This and research demonstrating the link between thought, behavior and illness helps explain why health psychologists are increasingly being called upon to provide an impressive number of targeted, brief interventions to individuals with a wide range of medical disorders. The goal of health psychologists in their work with patients is to:

  • Reduce/eliminate human suffering
  • Improve medical management and behavioral outcomes
  • Reliably offset medical costs

Health psychologists with UW Health work to promote patient coping/adjustment, impact positively on patient length of stay in hospitals, and develop working relationships and collaborations with team members from all health care disciplines.

The Health Psychology team within the UW Health Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Medicine includes nine Wisconsin-licensed psychologists who possess advanced training and expertise to work with medical patients and health care professionals, along with supervised trainees at the postdoctoral, internship and practicum level.


All Health Psychology staff work to accommodate the needs of a broad base of patient problems, ages and medical conditions within UW Hospital and Clinics and the American Family Children's Hospital. The service is capable of meeting the more immediate needs of hospitalized inpatients (seen bedside) in addition to the ongoing needs of clinic outpatients throughout the facility.

The Health Psychology service provides hospital-wide consultation, to medical and allied health staff and serves on a number of multidisciplinary treatment and program development teams in the UW Hospital and American Family Children's Hospital. In addition to hospital-wide consultation, the Health Psychology service also provides consultation to educational and social service agencies in the community.


Health Psychology Patient Care Services


In keeping with the departmental mission, we provide the following patient care services:

  • Helping patients with behavioral, mood or anxiety disorders affecting their adjustment or coping with illness
  • Helping patients/families cope with chronic and terminal illness/disability
  • Helping patients/families when medical issues result in significant lifestyle changes
  • Evaluating candidates for surgical procedures
  • Helping patients cope with body image changes
  • Assessing likely adherence to upcoming medical procedures
  • Helping patients adhere to necessary medical regimens
  • Facilitating positive doctor-patient relationships
  • Promoting health and disease prevention
  • Crisis intervention
  • Psychological therapy
  • Personality, mood, cognitive and behavioral assessment
  • Assessment of suicidal risk
  • Stress/anxiety management (such as relaxation training using guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, hypnosis, biofeedback, etc.)
  • Prevention education
  • Play therapy (children)
  • Group therapy
  • Mental status and competency evaluations
  • Bereavement/grief counseling
  • Family support and intervention

Accessing Health Psychology Care


Contacting our Health Psychology staff for information or services is easy. Outpatients/family members interested in pursuing clinical services may request an appointment by calling (608) 263-8060 or request a referral from the patient's treating physician.


Some insurance companies may require a referral. We encourage all insured outpatients to contact their insurance companies to verify that services are indeed covered and to attain any necessary pre-authorization. If interested in pursuing inpatient clinical services, patients may request a referral from the treatment team managing their care.


Health care providers may refer medical outpatients for clinical services by contacting our department directly at (608) 263-8060. Some insurance companies may require prior approval. We encourage all insured outpatients to contact their insurance companies to verify that services are indeed covered and to obtain any necessary pre-authorization.


Health Psychology Training for Health Professionals


Our Health Psychology staff is also committed to the mission of training future health psychology professionals. As such, we have a nationally recognized and specialized training programs in Health Psychology.


The Health Psychology Pre-Doctoral Internship is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), while the Health Psychology Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program is accredited by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). We also offer a Health Psychology Practicum Program.


The Health Psychology educational mission emphasizes empirically supported approaches to clinical care.


Thank you for your interest in learning more about us and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you in the future.