CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT ONLINE
Online Mindfulness Therapy for Chronic Pain
Mindfulness Therapy for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain affects over 15% of the U.S. population, which is why there is such a need for effective ways to manage chronic pain. Pain medications prescribed by your doctor are the first choice, of course, but chronic pain can have a devastating effect on our mental state leading to depression. Equally, our mental state can have a profound effect on how we experience pain.
Part of pain management requires that we learn to work on changing that which is under our control – the mind – in addition to symptom management with medications, physical therapy, etc as directed by your doctor. However, finding help for the psychological management of pain is not easy, which is one reason why I have created this Online Counseling Therapy Service for helping you learn effective ways to manage your pain using mindfulness. There are now lots of studies showing that mindfulness therapy and mindfulness meditation can have dramatic effects in reducing our reactions to pain. You might enjoy watching this short video produced by the BBC:
The Online Pain Management Option
This option allows you to work on managing the psychological aspect of pain from the comfort of home. This is a convenient option for many, especially if you find it difficult to leave home. It also allows you access to professional help in learning how to cope with your pain that simply may not be available locally. Sessions of Online Pain Management are conducted via Skype, which allows therapist and client to see each other as if they were in the same room.
Online Therapy is becoming more and more popular and there is growing evidence suggesting that it is equally effective as traditional in-office sessions. After all, it is what you learn that is important; what you take away from the sessions that can help you manage pain, stress, anxiety or depression, and this does not depend on you being in the same room.
Mindfulness Therapy for Pain Management
One particularly effective approach for managing the psychological component of chronic pain is called Mindfulness Therapy. The approach for using the awareness skill called mindfulness for pain management was pioneered by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn back in the late 1970s of the University od Massachusetts Medical School. He developed an 8 week program of mindfulness training, called Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which he found to be very effective with chronic pain patients.
The system of therapy that I developed is called Mindfulness Therapy, which contains many of the mindfulness principles taught in the MBSR program, but is offered as weekly 60-90min sessions. There is also a deeper focus on managing the emotions associated with chronic pain in Mindfulness Therapy; emotions like helplessness, anxiety, depression, anger and low self-esteem.
Pain and Suffering
As the saying goes, “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”
What this means is that pain has an objective and subjective component. The objective sensations of physical pain are “unavoidable” and managed as best we can through medication or physical exercises such as yoga. But the subjective part of pain is the mental anguish that we create through our relationship to objective pain. Our habit is to react to the pain sensations with negative thoughts and beliefs, such as, “I can’t function anymore,” or “I have no future.” These and other negative thoughts tend to become habitual and reinforce each other and the effect is to generate the mental pain that we call suffering.
It is well-recognized that learning how to manage catastrophic or negative thinking can play a huge part in pain management, which is the focus of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) for pain management.
For many people, the mental suffering generated by our habitual negative and reactive thinking and beliefs far exceeds the actual physical pain itself. This subjective pain is what we focus on changing during Mindfulness Therapy in our weekly online sessions together.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an awareness skill where we train ourselves to look at things, such as pain or emotions, without becoming reactive. We learn to observe things without creating suffering, which is always the product of negative reactive thinking. The result of mindfulness practice is that we develop a relationship with whatever we are observing based on openness of mind and openness of heart as well. As we become more advanced in our practice, we actually learn to become friends with our pain and with our emotions. We learn to accept them and care for them. This compassionate quality of mindfulness arises quite naturally through practice, and this is what heals the emotional reactivity to our pain that creates mental suffering.
Mindfulness is learning to be objective, like a scientist, but it is very much more than this. It has this quality of presence and caring, a tenderness and warmth that heals everything that it touches. In my book, “The Path of Mindfulness Meditation” I define mindfulness as engaged presence for this reason. Mindfulness is turning toward our pain rather than away from it, which is our habit. This quality of presence is so very important for managing the suffering associated with our pain.
But, interestingly, mindfulness can also have a direct effect on our perception of pain as well. Mindfulness always implies seeing more of the details of our experience, and what we experience is that the more we see of the detailed sensory sensations of our pain, the more we are able to bare the pain. This direct engagement with our pain counteracts the biological fear reaction that tends to become activated in reaction to the perception of pain.
How do I begin Online Therapy for my Chronic Pain?
If you would like to learn more about Mindfulness Therapy for Chronic Pain Management Online, please email me. Ask your questions and schedule a session.
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