Chronic Pain

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Chronic Pain and CBT

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (CPT-CP)? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-CP) is a widely researched, short-term form of psychotherapy that has been shown to be very effective and successful in helping people cope better with pain. CBT-CP focuses on the relationship among cognitions (thoughts), feelings, and behavior. The experience of chronic, on-going pain is not just about the physical experience of the pain itself. Chronic pain contributes to a great deal of anxiety and depression for many people as there are so many losses associated with chronic pain. Unfortunately, anxiety and depression can add emotional pain that makes the experience of physical pain much worse.

Depending on the severity of the pain experienced, an individual may have to give up a career that they love and possibly a form of exercise that is also loved. Chronic pain also changes how a person relates to the other people in their lives, and even how someone sees themselves and their perceived place in their world. What was once easy, may now be hard. What was once automatic, may now take careful planning. What one could once do for themselves, may now require help. Chronic pain causes an individual to re-invent themselves and CPT-CP helps the individual re-invent themselves in a way that contributes to a positive life and not a life filled with depression and anxiety and guilt. Chronic pain also involves grieving all the losses associated with the pain, and CPT-CP helps with the grieving process and building skills that allow the individual to go forward in life with optimism and hope versus pessimism and depression.

Chronic pain not only impacts the individual with the pain, but also impacts this person’s loved ones and the nature of those relationships. CBT-CP helps the individual re-define their relationships in a healthy manner that allows for the positive emotional support of both the patient and the people who love them. We have worked with individuals and their families for many years, successfully teaching the person with chronic pain how to cope with chronic pain and still have a wonderful and meaningful life with love and laughter and happiness.

Chronic illness also presents very similar losses and issues like in chronic pain. There may not be significant pain involved, but there are still many lifestyle changes that contribute to depression and anxiety. The same key components of CPT-CP described below are also very helpful in adjusting to chronic illness, and even temporary treatments that are very stressful, such as cancer treatments. Certain chronic illnesses may require major lifestyle changes, including but not limited to loss of the ability to engage in certain physical activities, restrictions regarding travel, and even dietary changes. When people feel betrayed by their bodies, the grieving and rebuilding of a personal identity can go in a very negative direction and CPT-CP helps change this negativity, creating the potential for a positive lifestyle.

Key components of CPT-CP include:

  • Pacing and Exercise – Involves developing a program of mild and medically approved activities that enhance health without contributing to more pain and/or physical damage.
  • Relaxation and Meditation Training - Involves learning techniques that help decrease muscle and emotional tension. Muscle and emotional tension contribute to increased pain and without training, can make it more difficult for someone to be able to relax and enjoy life.
  • Cognitive Restructuring – Learning to identify negative and destructive thoughts and interpretations and replace them with thoughts and interpretations that help create more emotional balance.
  • Behavioral Activation – Learning how to steadily increase meaningful activities to replace lost activities.
  • Grieving and acceptance – Learning healthy grieving over what has been lost and accepting and working with what is available.

Our program for the successful management of chronic pain, chronic illness, and even challenging medical treatments, has helped hundreds of people take their lives back with pride, no longer being defined by pain and all the associated losses, but defined by happiness and positive relationships and meaningfulness. We can teach you these skills, so you once again feel in charge of your life. For more information about our Back to Life: Managing Your Pain program, you may reach us at 310-858-3831.

We are located at:
435 N. Bedford Dr., Suite 407,
Beverly Hills, CA 90201

Click here for more info on the Health Psychology website.

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