Chronic pain affects your physical health as well as your mood, relationships, social activities and even your career. If the pain prevents you from doing things that you love, it can hurt your sense of self and stir feelings of anger, fear, sadness, guilt and anxiety. As if that wasn’t enough, these negative feelings can fuel the pain and make it even worse. So in order to treat pain effectively, both the physical and psychological aspects of it must be addressed. Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy that helps you identify and develop skills to change your negative thoughts, emotions and behaviors in order to control your pain and improve your function.
What to expect when you see a Psychotherapist
At first, our Psychotherapist will get to know you by asking about the pain you experience, what factors affect it and any worries or stresses related to it. In addition, they may ask you about your past experiences and future goals or expectations. Psychotherapists are nonjudgmental and compassionate. They are specifically trained to carefully listen and analyze your psychological needs. We understand that it takes time to build trust with someone so discuss only what you are comfortable with. We also take confidentiality very seriously. Our therapist will go over your confidentiality agreement during your first session – please don’t hesitate to ask any questions.
Based on the information you provide to your therapist, an individualized treatment plan will be designed for your particular needs. The plan often involves teaching relaxation techniques, changing old beliefs about pain, building new coping skills and addressing any negative emotions that may accompany your pain. As an objective outsider, your Psychotherapist will guide you through what you may not be able to see yourself.
The time taken for clients to feel better varies based on their primary diagnosis, their support system and the client themselves. Some clients feel better after a few sessions, whereas some may need years or lifelong sessions of psychotherapy to manage their mental health. To see positive results, clients ultimately need to understand they have a problem, recognize the need for change and follow the treatment plan advised by the therapist.
Psychotherapy is beneficial in treating:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic pain
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder