Integral Psychotherapy -

Pain Management

Acute and chronic pain can greatly reduce the quality of life -- potentially leading to depression, anxiety,  sleeplessness, loss of libido, and isolation.

Pain usually arises from medical issues. Many types of pain, such as migraines, gastric pain, and muscular or joint pain, arise from both physical and psychological issues.  One may also have pain or exacerbate it because of mental and behavioral activity.  For example, in an attempt to stop the pain itself or the distracting nature of pain one changes positions or tightens muscles in the pain area.  This, however, can result in greatly increasing the pain's perceived intensity.  

The way a person experiences the pain can be altered through various techniques.  

  • HYPNOSIS is regularly used for pain management because it provides means for the client to change  the way the brain interprets the pain.  Pain hypnosis can be used to manage one's pain symptoms.  For ongoing pain, learning individualized means of managing the pain is critical -- hypnosis with a therapist is rarely a one-time intervention.  Hence, learning and practicing self hypnosis is critical for long-term pain control.  Skill development is supported by home use of recordings made during therapy sessions. Depending on the type of pain, a client can learn to use self-hypnosis to control the pain level, to move the pain to another part of the body, or even to use imagery to remove the pain.

  • EMDR is often used to change the emotional experience of pain.  By reducing the strong negative emotions associated with the pain, the quality as well as quantity of the pain changes.  Instead of focusing on one's dislike of the pain (one's suffering) which generally worsens it, a client can learn to neutralize the emotions, thereby changing how the pain is experienced.

  • MINDFULNESS MEDITATION is another helpful skill for pain management as the client learns to stop judging and identifying with the pain.  Rather than pain being my pain and being bad, it is experienced simply as pain -- a sensation that arises, changes constantly, and then passes.  The rising and falling of pain can be constant. By not judging or identifying with it, pain can be neutralized.  It becomes just another sensation that is experienced, like other sensations which one can pay attention to or not. By relating to the pain as something that is there, that doesn't belong to me, and that it is neither good or bad,  there is less attachment to negative emotions around the pain which lowers both the psychological and physical suffering as well as the behaviors that lead to increased pain.