An overview of The Pain Project approach to chronic pain is described in terms of the general framework below. Your Pain Project Therapist will work in partnership with you in these crucial, and often overlooked, areas of effective chronic pain management. Each of these realms (demonstrated by the “Wheel of Pain” metaphor) are focused based upon the individual client’s needs and background.
1. Help you better understand your pain
Your Pain Project Therapist will begin by getting to know you and the details of the pain with which you have been dealing. You will share your individual story including how your pain has impacted your life.
Your Therapist will provide a clear understanding of what chronic pain is, how it works, some of the latest neurobiological concepts of chronic pain, and perhaps most importantly how chronic pain is radically different from acute pain.
Throughout the process, you will become empowered to be the master of both managing and healing your chronic pain and gradually the locus of control will shift from external (e.g., physician, medications) to internal (self-efficacy, building your skills and gaining confidence in chronic pain self-management).
Your Pain Therapist will help you view your pain from a biopsychosocial perspective as opposed to a strictly biologic viewpoint. Together you will closely examine the impact of pain on your:
- Relationships and Work
- Exceptions (When is pain already less?)
2. Guide you to healing
- Movement: Your Therapist will engage with you to help you become more active and change specific non-productive pain behaviors, particularly those which are centered on fear and avoidance of non-harmful everyday physical activities which give your life meaning. For example, the focus of what you currently “can’t” do will eventually be replaced with what you already “can” and how you can expand on this mindset.
- Acceptance: You will develop and incorporate healthy connections with certain thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical sensations that once may have held a powerful grip on you. Once you gain control of these thoughts you will gain confidence in your coping skills.
3. Develop a plan with attainable goals
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy provides a structured way to examines how explicit thoughts can either make your pain worse or it can make it much more manageable and help you modify your reaction to your chronic pain.
- Together, you will set and achieve realistic goals to restore your daily function, what and how you are able to do things which you want to do, and the quality of your life.
4. Teach you skills to reclaim your life
- Mindfulness: You will learn useful skills to help you manage sensory experiences by being centered in the here and now.
- Gratitude and Forgiveness: Your Pain Therapist may work with you on the proven benefits of positive mindsets such as gratitude and forgiveness and practical techniques to cultivate each of these helpful world views.
- Sleep: The Importance of Sleep in healing chronic pain and how to better manage insomnia (without sleeping or anti-anxiety pills) which is so common with chronic pain.
- Relationships: The Role of Relationships in chronic pain and how to succeed in managing sometimes trying personal affairs.
5. Put you back in control
- You are equipped with the skills to put you in control of your life
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