PSYCHOLOGY-BASED APPROACHES

Note: This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Talk Therapy

My Personal Experience:

After greatly reducing my pain through John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) intensive physical therapy/bodywork (when I discovered the impact past trauma had on my physical pain), I hoped that working with a psychologist might help me finally resolve my continuing pain.


I have been through about sixteen non-consecutive months of talk therapy with either a psychologist or a social worker (in fact ninety-four sessions, but who's counting?). This excludes ten months (about forty sessions) I've had since November 2015 with a therapist who uses eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) and Somatic Experiencing (SE™) combined with talk therapy.


The talk therapy has helped me process past trauma, but it has not eliminated my pain (which I honestly was hoping it would do, particularly after I acknowledged the connection between emotions and pain).


I found that talk therapy and bodywork (JFB-MFR treatment) complement one another, but the latter helped me get to the source of the tension in my body much faster than talking. After more than forty years of perfecting denial, I was very good at talking around sensitive issues; but in MFR therapy, my body didn't have the same defenses and somehow I would tap into my emotions much faster while I was on the physical therapist's treatment table. 


I took a break from JFB-MFR and I began EMDR and SE™) combined with some talk therapy in late 2015 and the first half of 2016. Both these approaches also expose the link between my emotions and my physical reactions much faster than talking alone does.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE: Helpful in processing the psychologically based causes of my chronic pain, but hasn't eliminated my physical pain. 


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

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Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

My Personal Experience:

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment method that uses eye movement (or other sensory stimulation such as a buzzing sensation applied to the fingers) to desensitize people from traumatic experiences. 


In 2013, I wanted to try EMDR for three reasons: (1) I hadn't been to talk therapy for about two-and-a-half years; (2) I was only occasionally getting John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) treatments; and (3) my pain was at a plateau. A local EMDR therapist I found told me she preferred treating clients with EFT (emotional freedom technique, also known as “tapping”). So instead of continuing to search for another EMDR therapist, I tried EFT (tapping) for about four months. However EFT didn't cure my persisting pain.


I waited two years before looking into EMDR again because I remained skeptical of whether yet another fee-for-service treatment method would work on me. However, some friends had had some success, so I decided to open my checkbook again and try.


EMDR often exposed my deep trauma-based emotions that are tied to my pain, similar to what JFB-MFR does, although via a different method. This treatment has effectively reduced intermittent spikes in my physical pain and helped me better understand my body's reactions to overwhelming feelings that are coupled with past trauma.


As I described under Somatic Experiencing (SE™), the therapist I saw for EMDR also used the SE™ approach, as she deemed appropriate. I stopped seeing the therapist because my husband got a new job in a new state and we moved. But EMDR and SE™ also helped me with some of my cognitive deficit problems while driving—described in my Somatic Experiencing (SE™) page.

Rating: (++/?)

BOTTOM LINE:  Some positive results.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)/Tapping

My Personal Experience:

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or “tapping”) is a psychology-based approach that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Aside from it addressing psychological issues, it is also touted as helping people reduce or eliminate pain.    


It is usually guided by a trained therapist. The client follows the therapist's lead and gently taps on specific locations on the body while saying statements to help desensitize the body to trauma or other issues a client wants to address. (There are also self-treatment guides available in books or on the internet.)


I decided to try EFT since I had been experiencing some level of daily pain for more than seven years at the time and because EFT had no physical side effects (and the therapist whom I had gone to seeking EMDR—eye movement desensitization reprocessing—treatment said she preferred treating patients using EFT). Even though tapping looked and felt silly, and I quite frankly questioned its potential efficacy, I went to seventeen sessions concentrated mostly over a period of four months.


While the tapping helped me reduce strong feelings and emotions on certain topics during my treatment sessions, it didn't permanently reduce my pain. Did I need to give it more time? I felt like I’d maxed out it’s benefits for me, and I think the therapist concurred.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE:  Helped me reduce strong feelings related to past trauma, but didn't permanently reduce my pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Other Psychology-based Approaches

My Personal Experience:

In 2007, when I discovered that long buried emotions were behind my chronic pain, my pain decreased significantly. Yet for years afterward I continued to experience daily pain. Thus, in 2009 I attended a retreat called the Inner Journey, which claims it will “have you connect to intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of yourself that you may never have experienced before.”


I attended hoping I would connect with all these parts and that my pain would disappear. During the three-and-a-half day retreat, I came to realize that a past childhood experience had indeed traumatized me in the clinical sense of the word. And while the retreat didn't “cure” my physical pain, it was another step in facing and addressing a past trauma that is linked to my physical pain, which I believe is a necessary step in my long road to recovery.  


I haven't tried therapist-led hypnosisbiofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, or Gestalt therapybut I have certainly considered them, especially since I discovered there was trauma behind my pain (see My Healing Journey). Cost mostly keeps me from trying these, but maybe also a subconscious fear of addressing the strong feelings associated with my underlying trauma. I have addressed them during John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) therapy, talk therapy, emotional freedom technique (EFT) therapy, Somatic Experiencing (SE™), and eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, so I know I'm up to the challenge, but it is also exhausting and I often need to take breaks from such emotionally draining treatments.


In 2016, I began looking into self-hypnosis through available on-line sources. I will report on the outcome of this when I have more to tell.

Rating: (?)

BOTTOM LINE: Don't know; probably helpful if psychological issues are behind the pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)