Counselling During Diagnostic Processes: Focus on Acromegaly

April 26, 2023

What can happen when people receive a diagnosis that can astonish and shock them? For example they have enjoyed good health and do not feel out of the ordinary until a medical professional notes something in a regular check up.  Sometimes it is because they have been diagnosed with a rare or little known condition.

Complex Conditions/Pituitary Tumours

Pituitary Tumours can have the potential to permanently change a person’s life style. The pituitary gland is a peanut sized gland in the brain and sometimes tumours can develop that amplify or diminish certain functions of the pituitary gland. Acromegaly is predominantly a condition caused by a growth hormone secreting tumour on the pituitary gland. People with acromegaly may experience continued growth of certain parts of the body such as hands or feet, chin, brow or tongue as examples.  Excess growth hormone can be detrimental to body functioning. For example, normal bone and muscle development can be negatively impacted and these impacts can continue even if the Acromegaly itself is controlled. Fatigue can also be a factor.

Surgery to remove the tumour may be the preferred option. Medications and other treatments can assist in the control and management of Acromegaly. A healthy lifestyle and exercise regime can assist people living life with acromegaly to remain well and manage symptoms.

Counselling Themes

People who may notice something is not right may seek counselling support. In the early stages, Acromegaly for example can look like something else. They may wish to describe changes they are experiencing and its impact. Engaging in such a conversation with a counsellor can have benefits such as calming, clarifying or assisting clients to describe their concerns as they seek assistance and diagnosis. People occasionally may ask their counsellor to write to their GP summarising the concerns raised in the counselling conversation.

Counselling foci with conditions that impact lifestyle such as acromegaly can include grief and other challenging emotions, decision making and exploring the potential impacts. Communication with family, work mates and health professionals as well as maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing can be relevant. Ongoing support can be another reason to access counselling if changes as a result of the condition have ongoing impacts.

Support in New Zealand

Acromegaly NZ is a support group for those with acromegaly and their families. Here is the link to their website:

What’s in an Image?

Why have we changed the picture for this month’s blog?

People who live with acromegaly consulted for this blog described that their resilience in response to their diagnosis was complex and involved a search for strength. Nature’s way also seems complex, beautiful, strong and resilient. Conifer forests and conifer cones suggested a symbol of resilience as they have the responsibility of the regenerating forest. The new image celebrates cones in a multitude of forms as a symbol of resilience, strength, beauty and complexity.

Ka kite ano

Thanks to Acromegaly NZ for their assistance in writing this blog.

More information is available here.



A friendly note that we write our blogs for interest and entertainment.

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