If you suffer from chronic pain or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), and your solicitor has suggested that you see a psychotherapist, you may be thinking: “I’m in pain – so why is my solicitor sending me to a therapist?”
This is a very common question, and you’re not alone in wondering how such a referral could help. There is an expectation that pain should be something that’s easily resolved by a doctor using today’s medical knowledge and resources. Indeed, much of the time, this is the case. Unfortunately however, in some cases, pain persists through no fault of either the patient or the doctor.
The effects of pain
In general, when a person experiences pain, they can become withdrawn and irritable, sleep badly, suffer from a low mood, and have less energy. Pain can also have a serious effect on their relationships with friends and family.
These are all completely normal responses. Generally, pain goes away, and life returns to how it was. However, sometimes the pain doesn’t go away, causing major disruption to their quality of life.
How therapy can help
If you’re experiencing chronic pain that doesn’t go away, a psychotherapist will recommend a treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
These treatments can help you work out how to cope with the pain and how you can manage your normal responses to pain, such as low mood and disturbed sleep.
This is not easy work, and some people find it difficult to engage in. However, those who can engage in therapy find it extremely beneficial, even when their pain continues.
It’s important to understand that your pain is real, and that while you can’t take pain away by thinking differently, you can help it to have less of an impact on your life.
More details about CBT and EMDR for chronic pain and complex regional pain syndrome can be found on the Connect PP website.