Some who experience chronic or severe pain find that others assume that the pain to be “all in their head,” or not “real”. They often find that they aren’t receiving the help that they need.
Being referred to a clinical health psychologist might feel, once again, like you are being told that the pain is “in your head” and not real.
Be assured that this isn’t the approach that I take. I take your pain seriously. If your pain is significant enough to disrupt your life and impact your day to day living experience then it is “real” pain.
Clinical health psychology interventions for pain are non-pharmacological. That means you won’t get a pill. (You will want to work with your primary care provider for those services.)
The purpose for non-pharmacological psychological interventions for pain is to address the whole person and to find, in our work together, those psychological, behavioral and emotional interventions that will improve your life quality. This may be learning new ways to live around pain and to have a high quality of life in spite of the pain. It may mean learning new skills and techniques to reduce the pain. It may mean learning how to better advocate for your needs with your healthcare providers. But any improvement is an improvement, and anything that improves your daily experience is a success to be embraced.
Some of the interventions that we might explore in our work together would include:
– Adjustment Counseling
– Cognitive Therapy to Adjust Negative Thoughts, Fears and Expectations
– Sleep Interventions
– Hypnosis and Self-hypnosis
– Relaxation Techniques and Distraction Techniques
– Guided Imagery
– Directed Breathing Techniques
– Stress Management
– Pacing and Planning of Daily Activities
– Learning New Skills for Improved Self-Advocacy as a Patient
I might also refer you to additional providers. Working with a clinical health psychologist as part of a complete team of healthcare providers is the most effective way to use these services. Additional referrals to other providers such as biofeedback specialists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and physical therapists would be something that we can discuss in our work together. I also find that it is common, in this area, to consult with your physician and other treatment providers to ensure that you have a strong team of support. We can explore this further in our first session.
LINKS FOR MORE INFORMATION
An American Psychological Association (APA) “Research in Action” article from 2006: “Pain, Pain, Go Away: Psychological approaches help people cope with chronic pain.”
A post in the blog “Critical Science” (August 2011), “Chronic Pain: What psychosocial interventions work?”
A research article in the Journal of Psychology Research and Behavior Management by Roditi and Robinson (2011), “The role of psychological interventions in the management of patients with chronic pain”
An article in Medical News Today, September 26, 2011, “Psychological Interventions Can Alleviate Chronic Pain And Improve Quality Of Life”