Chronic pain is one of the leading presenting problems at doctor offices. Chronic pain is complex and often not just a physical problem. One’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior a lot to do with one’s experience of pain. Chronic pain also can create feelings of hopelessness, depression, anxiety, and anger. This is where psychological treatment can be helpful.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness Meditation have both been shown through research to be effective in helping clients who are currently suffering from chronic pain.
Whether you are suffering from back pain, headaches, joint pain, arthritis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, or any other chronic pain condition, we have several staff members and services that may help you.
ACT Therapy for Chronic Pain
Dr. Stephanie Seibert has expertise in using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to help clients learn to live with pain and work on reducing the control it has over their lives. Instead of trying to eliminate pain, clients will learn to learn to live a life that is fulfilling for them the best they can with the pain. Using acceptance-based strategies, clients learn to psychologically manage their pain and discomfort such that it no longer controls their day to day functioning. Instead, clients begin exploring their values and set goals that help them live a life consistently with their values. This helps to improve quality of life.
CBT Therapy for Chronic Pain
Dr. Joanna Chango-James has expertise in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help clients address their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in a way that helps them see a reduction in pain severity and improve their quality of life. Chronic pain can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability (emotions), negative thought patterns (thoughts), and increased isolation and withdrawal from day to day activities (behaviors). These side effects of living with chronic pain can often decrease one’s quality of life and make the experience of pain far worse. CBT helps clients get more active, but in a gradual way where one learns to pace oneself so that they are not overdoing it which can lead to increased pain, distress, and withdrawal. Next, Dr. Chango-James would review relaxation training with the client focusing on deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and and guided imagery. These strategies have been shown in research to improve chronic pain severity. Lastly, Dr. Chango-James will discuss the client’s sleep patterns to ensure that they are getting adequate sleep and she will work with clients to help ensure they are incorporating meaningful, pleasant activities into their days. As a total treatment plan, research supports the efficacy of CBT for those with chronic pain.
Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain
Dr. Amanda Skowron teaches mindfulness meditation workshops, classes and groups at Mind Body Health. Her approach is closely linked to Jon Kabat Zin’s work in mindfulness based stress reduction. Research done using mindfulness based approaches have shown that individuals enrolled in such programs often have reduced pain severity and improved health related quality of life. This is often contingent upon home practice. Dr. Skowron helps clients learn the various forms of mindfulness meditation they can use at home in between sessions.