balance counselling and Pain management services
When sufficient numbers of clients are interested, I offer relaxation and pain management groups. There is tremendous value and power in sharing challenges, strategies and successes with people who are trying to create similar changes in their lives that you are trying to create. The groups are generally a combination of discussion and skill building. Groups with a focus on relaxation skills will always include at least 20 minutes of practice with a variety of relaxation strategies, including progressive muscle relaxation, visualizations, moving meditation, body scan and other mindfulness meditations.
It can be tricky to put ideas and skills discussed in the therapy room into practice in real life. With pain management particularly, it’s one thing to talk about pain management strategies and another thing entirely to put them into practice while you’re really hurting. To help build the bridge between theory and practice, it can be very helpful to have both your physical therapist and your counselor working with you at the same time. If you and your care provider would like, I can attend your physiotherapy or personal training sessions with you, to support you in applying the pain management strategies discussed in therapy during your exercises.
If you have medical professionals working with you on issues that are also being addressed in therapy, such as pain, depression or insomnia, it is often valuable to have care providers consult to ensure good continuity of care. It’s frustrating and disheartening to get conflicting views and advice from your therapist and your family doctor, for example; a situation which can be easily avoided with a phone call or two between care providers to exchange assessments and coordinate care.
Coping with and managing persistent pain conditions is a complex and multi-faceted process. Just like pain can affect so many areas of people’s lives, personal and professional, so too must therapy be broad and holistic. Just like in any other type of therapy, often a good starting point is exploring what you are doing so far that's working for you in coping with pain and then identify areas where you feel you'd like to create changes. Often a combination of insight-oriented therapy, education about pain theory and skill-building can be helpful.
In addition to individual counselling, it can be useful to do a session or two of couples or family counselling. Having a family member coping with a persistent pain condition can create stress, anxiety and resentment in the family. Couples and/or family counselling can be helpful in addressing the family’s concerns and negotiating any changes needed. Education about the effects of persistent pain and principals of effective pain management can often be helpful and reassuring for family members supporting someone with a pain condition.