GI Psychologist Sarah Kinsinger, PhD, Joins Loyola | Loyola Medicine

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Digestive Health Psychologist Sarah Kinsinger, PhD, Joins Loyola Medicine

Health psychologist Sarah Kinsinger, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Sarah Kinsinger, digestive health psychologist

MAYWOOD, IL –  Sarah Kinsinger, PhD, ABPP, a health psychologist who specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, has joined Loyola Medicine as director of behavioral medicine for the digestive health program.

Dr. Kinsinger is among a handful of health psychologists nationwide who treat GI disorders that are strongly affected by stress, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, functional heartburn, functional dyspepsia and ulcerative colitis.

Biochemical signaling between the brain and the GI tract, known as the brain-gut axis, can have a major effect on gastrointestinal disorders. The normal stress of everyday life can aggravate certain GI conditions. And in a vicious cycle, worrying about or dwelling on severe pain, constipation, diarrhea and other GI symptoms can make the symptoms worse, which in turn increases the stress.

Dr. Kinsinger offers behavioral treatments specifically designed to target brain-gut pathways. These treatments teach patients coping strategies to manage symptoms and reduce stress. She provides cognitive-behavioral therapy, an evidence-based treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. She also offers behavioral relaxation techniques, including diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing or deep breathing) and gut-directed hypnotherapy.

In many patients, psychological or behavioral interventions can be more effective than medications, Dr. Kinsinger said. She usually sees patients for five to seven sessions, and the treatments typically are covered by insurance.

“It is very gratifying to see patients get better after in some cases suffering for many years,” Dr. Kinsinger said. “Psychological and behavioral interventions do not cure their disease, but the treatments can provide patients with safe and effective coping mechanisms and greatly reduce the severity of their symptoms.”

For some conditions, such as IBS, psychological and behavioral treatments can be the primary treatments. For other conditions for which there are effective drugs, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, psychological and behavioral treatments can be effective adjuncts to medications.

Dr. Kinsinger is an associate professor in the division of gastroenterology and nutrition of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. She has a secondary appointment in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences. She comes to Loyola from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she was director of GI behavioral medicine.

Dr. Kinsinger earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Miami and completed a health psychology fellowship at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. She is board certified in clinical health psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Kinsinger lives in La Grange, Illinois with her husband and their two daughters.


About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.