Chronic Pain, Injury, and Coping with Illness

Therapy for Chronic Pain and Injury

When coping with chronic pain, so often we hear the message that our pain must be “psychological”, as many X-rays, scans, and medical technology show that we "shouldn't" hurt.  The truth is: you do hurt.  A lot.  Or constantly.  Or both. 

I am here to say that I hear you.  The pain is real.  And there are evidence-based treatments that may indeed be able to help.  Throughout my training in clinical and health psychology, I have worked in primary and tertiary health care clinics, provided bedside therapy post-operations, and provided intensive outpatient therapy through a chronic pain clinic.  At each of these sites, I have seen individuals use their strengths to overcome the most dire of circumstances.

My approach is based on your unique situation.  In general, however, please note the following key points about my style and method:

1)    Treatment is based in principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  These approaches focus on mindfulness, relaxation, stress reduction, valued living, and most importantly, treating yourself kindly.

2)    It doesn’t matter if you discomfort starts at the base of your spine, emotional region of your brain, or the nail of your left pinky toe.  It is real, it is getting in the way, and we are going to target it.

3)   Treatment is often enhanced by a collaboration of health care professionals (e.g., pain management physicians, physical therapists, oncologist, etc.)  and family.  I welcome the opportunity to engage in a team approach with practitioners you are currently seeing or plan to see in the future.  This is particularly useful, as  I do not prescribe medication, nor am I certified in yoga or body work.  We are fortunate to have a wealth of excellent practitioners in these fields in the foothills region.

Therapy for Coping with Illness

Illness comes in many shapes and forms.  Perhaps you recently were handed a diagnosis of cancer.  Maybe the constant panic around respiratory disease has you stressed to a level you never thought possible.  Or, maybe your life has simply been turned upside down by news of an illness.  In all of these circumstances, our friends and family (often our best cheerleaders) do their best to provide encouragement.  However, so often we still feel stuck in an endless cycle of worry, fear, and overall down mood.  This is where therapy can help.  I utilize the evidence-based treatments of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to address these issues.  

I currently work with individuals with the following conditions:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression and Anxiety Related to Injuries and Illnesses
  • Adjustment to Injury and Illness
  • Coping with Chronic Illness
  • PTSD/Trauma Related to Injuries