It’s not a secret that I go to see a psychotherapist. I’m very open about it, and quite frankly, I feel like most people should see one at least one time in their life. Whether it be just for a few sessions or for a longer time, everyone has issues in their life that they need to deal with. Those of us with chronic pain definitely have reason to seek out therapy. That being said, what kind of therapist should we seek out? Which approach works best? The reason this thought process came to mind is that I’m taking a university course in Theories of Counselling, and I can see the benefits of the different approaches in dealing with chronic pain clients.
Image from: https://medium.com/@hilaryjacobshendel/what-is-the-difference-between-conventional-talk-psychotherapy-and-experiential-psychotherapy-f4e683eacb10
I see someone who specializes in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, which is essentially a combination of cognitive and behavioural approaches, and includes a lot of mindfulness practices and homework assignments. Another student in the class also recommended Dialectical Behaviour Therapy as a good approach for dealing with chronic pain clients. I personally connect with Existential Therapy for many reasons, though alone, I don’t think it would be enough to help someone dealing with chronic pain.
Image from: http://paris-psychotherapy-counselling.fr/admin/therapies/existential-transpersonal-therapy/
After discussing with a classmate who has MS and fibromyalgia (hello let’s meet at my SLE and fibromyalgia – I find it so beneficial talking with others going through similar things as me) we came to the conclusion that a multimodal or integrated approach would probably work best for a lot of chronic pain clients. Borrowing techniques and theories from a variety of approaches to apply them to each individual’s unique experience with chronic pain. The key is finding therapists who already work within a multimodal framework or are willing to do so. There is a little bit of legwork required by you, the client, in finding someone to help you. All in all, anything that helps you deal with your chronic pain and resulting anxiety, depression or other psychological factors is worth it.