Chronic pain affects people both physically and emotionally. It impacts every-day life, finances, relationships, and social functionality. It’s difficult to stay upbeat and positive when dealing with chronic pain, and not all friends and family understand what the patient is going through. Psychological counseling provides many benefits, including a reduced dependence upon pain medications.
While physical treatments and interventions provide one part of pain management therapy, counseling provides the other part. It offers patients an opportunity to vent, to work through the challenges pain creates, and includes important education and behavioral adaption components. While counseling alone doesn’t reduce or eliminate chronic pain, it can help you cope with it.
While many people think of a psychiatrist’s couch when counseling is mentioned, pain management counseling is different. The topics discussed and addressed will vary by patient, but in general pain management counseling focuses upon education and the learning of coping skills. Stress management techniques, behavioral adaption, education, and relaxation techniques may all be a part of a series of counseling sessions. Coping skills help you deal with the problems chronic pain produces, and help support you as you work toward your goals of functionality.
When you come in for psychological counseling, you’ll have a conversation with a trained therapist. You’ll discuss your goals, concerns, and challenges. Together, you and your therapist will work with your medical team to come up with goals. You’ll work together to learn techniques to help you manage your pain and every day stress, including deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
Counseling is an extremely effective way for patients to learn coping skills, get support from people who understand their specific challenges, and learn to navigate the world without allowing chronic pain to overtake their lives. Living with chronic pain can be challenging, but depression and anxiety don’t have to take over. Counseling empowers patients to take control of their treatment plan.