07/02/2014 05:27 EDT | Updated 09/01/2014 05:59 EDT

How To Take Control of Your Psoriasis and Regain Confidence

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition and a common skin disease that affects approximately one million Canadians. For most Canadians, summer is all about shedding the layers to beat the heat and enjoy the sunshine. But it can be hard to enjoy warmer weather if you have psoriasis and feel self-conscious!

A recent survey showed that 76 per cent of Canadians were not satisfied with their current treatment.

As a psychotherapist and relationship expert, this statistic doesn't surprise me. I've worked with many people who are suffering from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and I've seen firsthand that it's not just a condition that affects one's skin - it can make its victims feel self-conscious, unattractive, embarrassed, worried, and misunderstood.

Some of my clients who have psoriasis are worried about dating: They wonder if their date will stare at their psoriasis or ask questions. Some avoid the swimming pool because they don't want people to stare, and some wear pants and long sleeves in desert-like weather because they are so self-conscious. Psoriasis even has an effect on long-term relationships, as it can impact one's overall self-esteem and confidence. Since many people don't understand psoriasis, it can be even be difficult to know when is the right time in your relationship to bring it up. Should you address it right off the bat or treat it like the elephant in the room?

I'm very excited to be a part of The Satisfaction Project, a three-week video challenge inspiring Canadians living with psoriasis to take action, improve their confidence and feel better! I'd recommend taking on the challenges and following the tips/suggestions to gain better satisfaction from your treatment.

Here are just a few of my top tips to start feeling better -- you can find more at

Recognize the Emotional Burden of Psoriasis and Psoriatic arthritis: What are you not doing now that you used to do because of your condition? Many people don't realize how skin conditions can deeply affect our self-confidence and create emotional challenges. Some people give up on activities they enjoy like playing sports (wearing athletic clothing) or dating (nervous about appearance). Recognizing the emotional barriers will help to empower you and help you gain confidence. Identifying how it impacts your day-to-day life can help you take control and stop allowing the disease to make the decisions for you.

Take Control and Challenge Yourself: Show yourself that you CAN improve your emotional well-being by doing things to take care of yourself. Some of these proactive behaviours might include starting to eating well, exercising more, complimenting yourself, visiting a friend, or seeking the help of a local professional who can help talk to you about the emotional walls you've built. Keeping a journal is also something that many of my clients find extremely helpful to get their feelings out.

Don't Stop until you're Satisfied: Seek as much help as possible and do as much research as you can. Don't let your frustration or anger get in the way of your potential recovery. It can be a long and difficult process, but once you've achieved satisfaction, the journey gets a lot better.

More information about the Satisfaction Project is available on the Living Well with Psoriasis website. You can also check in with us on Facebook, and visit the Canadian Psoriasis Network for more information.


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