If Pain, trauma, or stress has Changed your life
Maybe you are reading this page because you are curious about how psychotherapy can make a difference in your health. Or, perhaps you have just not been the same since you experienced a challenging or frightening event or period of your life like a car accident or life-threatening illness. Maybe you find that you worry a lot about your health and have a hard time calming down this worry, or you've been told by doctors that your body is fine, but you still feel pain. Maybe like many people with ongoing health issues or chronic pain, you've become depressed about how life just isn't like it used to be.
In any case, you are not alone. So many people find that at one time or another, their life just isn't going the way they would like it to, and they feel disconnected from their lives and other people. This can happen because of a medical issue, pain, a tragic or frightening event, a damaging relationship, or any number of other stressors.
Therapy can help
In individual psychotherapy, we meet one-on-one to address your concerns about your life and health. We work together to better understand some of the thoughts and behaviors that are holding you back from living the best life possible, and we address the underlying issues that may be affecting your body's ability to heal. We'll look at both current and past stressors and use a variety of tools and techniques to help you get back to your life and feel better in your mind and body.
Pain Is Not “All in Your Head,” but it is in your brain
Maybe you still have a concern that if you see a psychotherapist like myself you would be admitting that your physical symptoms are "all in your head." First of all, your pain really is all in your head, but not in a "you're crazy" kind of way.
The way we experience pain has everything to do with our brains. In fact, the International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as an "An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage." We experience pain through the interaction of sensory input received from the body and the way this information is processed in the brain. In other words, "no brain, no pain."
When we think of our emotional life, we tend to think just of what happens in our heads. We often overlook the fact that we feel emotions in our bodies. For instance, think of the last time you felt stressed - maybe you were stuck in traffic and late for an important appointment. Can you recall what it felt like in your body? Maybe you started to sweat or feel your face get warm. Maybe your muscles started to tighten up in your body, or you could feel yourself gritting your teeth. Where did you feel that emotion? In your body, of course. In that case, is it any surprise at all that your body would respond to chronic stress and that your emotional life might have a lot to do with what you experience in your body?
Do I Really need counseling for pain or Stress?
If you still aren’t sure if psychotherapy is right for you, maybe you're afraid that others will see you as "weak" if you seek help for the emotional impact of health issues. After all, doesn't everyone have aches and pains to deal with?
It is really normal to experience worry, sadness, and irritability in response to an ongoing health condition. Pain and chronic health conditions affect our relationships, social lives, work lives, and even our sense of who we are. People often need help to get through the emotional storm that comes from dealing with an ongoing health condition.
Also, in order to give yourself the best opportunity to heal your pain, you need to address the emotional aspects of pain, in addition to the sensory (physiological) aspects of pain. If you are chronically stressed, you are not going to get the best benefit from any of the other techniques or interventions that you try. If you are not addressing the way in which your brain responds to stress, you are missing out on a valuable aspect of pain management.
Psychotherapy for pain, stress, and trauma
So, maybe this all sounds good, but you wonder how just talking can help. I am trained in and use several forms of specialized therapy that are considered the “gold standard” for treatment of trauma, anxiety, and chronic pain. These types of psychotherapy have helped many people get their lives back. The specialized therapies I use include:
We will discuss which of these modalities will be most helpful to you at your visit. Speaking of which… maybe it’s time right now to give me a call at 651-998-8991 or reserve a time to meet with me via the “Request Appointment” button below.