Those who suffer from chronic pain or a chronic medical condition usually seek help from the medical field to treat their physical symptoms. After multiple doctors’ visits one often leaves more discouraged, feeling hopeless, and frequently prescribed too many medications.
Chronic pain and other medical conditions typically impact all aspects of one’s life beyond just the physical realm. It can contribute to job loss, relationship strains, depression, anxiety, stress, and layers of grief due to the variety of unexpected life changes caused by the condition. It has a tendency to take over one’s mental attention and before long can diminish one’s quality of life. These additional stressors can cause further complications to the original issue. Therefore, it is important to have a comprehensive approach to pain management. One that supports and acknowledges the emotional aspects of one’s condition.
Many people who suffer from a chronic condition fear or have been told that their symptoms are all in their head. This can be extremely frustrating and unsettling. Whether one has a formal diagnosis or not, the pain exists and is most likely causing an overwhelming amount of stress. I provide a safe space for my clients to not only process these difficult emotions, but also learn effective and practical strategies to manage their pain/illness.
I also support my client with determining whether their medications are working and if so, how to manage them effectively. Having pain medications reduced or taken away can be frightening. I have experienced much success working with clients and their physicians on a taper process that is safe and at a pace that feels manageable. Certain benefits I have seen from Opioid medication reduction are, more mental clarity, less fixation on pills, less tension in relationships, more availability for life’s pleasures, along with an actual decrease in physical pain.
It is important to have support when struggling with a chronic condition. Unfortunately those who suffer find themselves feeling alone and isolated. Many clients say that they don’t talk about their pain or illness because they don’t want to burden others, or that talking about their pain feels pointless. Unfortunately, these unexpressed feelings build up over time and get turned inward on oneself or projected outward onto others, causing depression and relationship strains. Learning healthy ways to regulate stress and difficult emotions are important components to the healing process of chronic pain.
I facilitate a pain management group that offers peer support, along with practical skills to help manage pain and difficult emotions more effectively. I utilize a combination of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and other mindfulness-based approaches to pain management.