Addressing both the physical and psychological components of pain
Although nobody ever wants to hear “Your pain is all in your head”, every type of pain has two components; physical and emotional/subconscious.
Physical pain is the portion of the pain that stems from an obvious physical cause such as an accident, disorder or condition.
However, pain can also be mind-created.
Subconscious/ emotional pain is the portion of the pain that is created by the mind or emotions, expectations and experiences of pain. For example, if a client is anticipating pain when having a baby the act of telling oneself that there is going to be pain or hearing other people’s painful birth stories creates the pain (what is in our Sc mind is automatically acted out). The expectation of pain causes the client to tense and this tension exacerbates the pain. Tension, fear, anxiety, beliefs about pain, previous experiences of pain, being exposed to other’s experiences of pain, anticipation of pain ALL CREATE PAIN!
So, the trick becomes to determine how much of the pain a client is experiencing actually stems from a physical cause and how much stems from an emotional/SC cause. Each type needs to be treated appropriately.
I NEVER get rid of pain that stems from a physical cause. This can cause more danger. For example, a broken foot is a reminder not to step on the foot again and create more physical problems. A migraine may be a reminder to the client to have the doctor check for a physical condition that may be causing the pain. Without this pain, the person may miss having a serious physical condition diagnosed or treated. However, physical pain can be reduced, becoming a “gentle reminder” of a limitation or condition that needs attention.
SC or emotionally caused pain can be eliminated completely once the cause of the pain is understood.
Ex.1 a client develops pain in the legs to avoid weekend hiking trips with his wife.
Ex.2 a client is self punishing for a past experience by creating pain in the joints that prevents him from enjoying his life.
Ex. 3 client with a sore foot who is receiving a message from his body to quit letting people step on his toes figuratively.
Ex. 4 A client is trying to connect with a distant family member by developing a similar heart condition
To treat your pain, I will work on both ends of the spectrum. I will work on the physical sensations so that they can be modified and less intensive. I will also work on uncovering any psychological contributors to your pain that we can eliminate, thus eliminating that portion of the pain.