Seeing a therapist does not mean that your pain is not real or that you are “crazy.” Instead, it is a healthy and positive step towards learning effective methods of chronic pain management. If you have never been in therapy, you may wonder what it will be like. Unlike the dramatic sessions often seen in movies or on television, effective therapy is a safe and sensible way to explore your life and learn effective strategies for coping with pain. A good therapist will provide professional, unbiased advice. If you feel uncomfortable at first, your therapist will help you to feel safe and supported.

Talking with a therapist can help you:

  • Assess the ways in which you manage your pain
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses in coping with pain
  • Develop goals for treatment°Outline a specific step-by-step plan to help you reach the treatment goals
  • Develop skills to manage emotions, thoughts and behavior so you will be in control
  • Track your progress.

There are several effective therapeutic approaches to pain management:

  • Cognitive therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Mindfulness
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy.

4 WAYS TO FIND A THERAPIST:

1. The ACADEMY OF COGNITIVE THERAPY and the ASSOCIATION FOR BEHAVIORAL AND COGNITIVE THERAPIES both provide links to certified cognitive behavioral therapists in your area.

2. Ask your primary care doctor or your pain specialist for a recommendation. Some pain clinics have an in-house psychologist or other mental health professional.

3. Contact your medical insurance company for suggestions.

4. Finally, you may have a friend or family member who has seen a therapist who they found to be helpful. Not all therapists are the same; some may be more helpful for your particular needs. After confirming that your therapist has the proper training and experience, here are a few ways to evaluate whether you have found the right person. {PP}

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