Emotional Roots of Chronic Physical Pain (Mind-Body/ TMS)
Listen to two podcast Interviews I did on the mind-body connection, packed with information many told me has been very helpful to them: (you may want to fast forward the beginning to get to the content)
READ DR. SARNO’S BOOK BUT STILL HAVE PAIN?
I CAN HELP.
I know first-hand how excruciating and debilitating TMS pain can be. But I also know it’s possible to become pain-free with pain therapy, and even grow and thrive as a person because of it! That’s why I decided to focus intensely on online TMS mind-body therapy.
I was a patient of Dr. John Sarno when I was only 18 years old. Not only did I have a quick and full recovery, I felt that what I learned about myself from the experience changed the rest of my life for the better! What once felt like a death sentence became the biggest blessing. What I learned about the psyche and emotions on my mind-body journey inspired me in part to become a therapist. The ability TMS has to transform lives for the better is what inspired me to do TMS therapy.
Then at age 37, I was diagnosed with stage four cancer- Hodgkins Lymphoma. I was cancer-free within two months of treatment, and I barely felt sick! I believe the quick and positive response was because I didn’t rely only on conventional medicine, I responded to my diagnoses with mind-body thinking, spirituality and religion as well. Ironically, that time of my life I also remember as being one of the best! This further gave me a desire to help others along their healing journeys. (Cancer is not considered TMS but even conventional medicine recognizes that emotions and state-of-mind are a contributing factor to cancer and illness, and a significant factor to recovery).
Thousands of people who suffered from chronic pain and illness have been cured without surgery, medication, or physical therapy. They did it by treating their symptoms not as a medical issue, but as an indication of their emotional health. Gaining insight into how they function and becoming more aware of their feelings helped these people completely heal their physical health, when conventional medical methods failed to!
Believe it or not, your pain is trying to help you. It’s often the psyche’s way of trying to communicate something to you- usually that you are not living your whole truth. It could be a long-repressed part of you begging to be expressed, a reality that needs to be confronted, disconnected feelings wanting to be engaged, a belief system being challenged, or a way of being that has stopped working for you. But until you give it your mental attention, it will continue to try to grab at your attention through physical expression.
This is not new! Dr. Sarno was pioneering in that he was the first to connect it to pain disorders, but cardiologists used to refer to it often in their work, and Dr. Sigmund Freud mentioned it frequently in his work referring to it as somatization– how feelings and experiences show up in the body. It’s becoming a mainstream part of psychology today that the body stores information that is not in our conscious minds, meaning our bodies can know more about us that we are aware of!
There is a common misconception that people should be able to rid themselves of the pain, and TMS psychotherapy is only for victims of abuse or people in particularly difficult life situations. THIS IS NOT TRUE. All people are affected by the mind-body connection, just to different extents. Some can get rid of it on their own, some only temporarily, and many others need help getting through blind spots to recovery. But my clients are usually well-adjusted, very competent people with normal lives, they are just holding onto a belief or way of being that is not serving them and need expert help in identifying it.
As a mind-body psychotherapist, I help clients connect with repressed thoughts, feelings and parts of self in order to find relief and healing physically, emotionally and mentally. I facilitate self-awareness through guided conversation in a caring, safe environment. Compared with general psychotherapy, my mind-body work is guided by an understanding of common dynamics, personality structures and thought patterns that lead to pain. Once I help clients gain awareness of what’s at the root of their pain, together we identify options of how to respond to it, though even just the awareness itself can be helpful and healing.
What began feeling like a curse can become a tremendous blessing. My clients often start out very hesitant to come for treatment, but they usually end up saying they are very grateful that they did. By wanting to bring relief and healing to their physical body, they brought relief and healing to parts deeper within them they didn’t even know were hurting.
More Details on Mind-Body Therapy with Liz
Before treating people psychologically for mind-body pain, I require that clients first:
1. Educate themselves about TMS/ Mind-Body Syndrome by reading a book on the condition. Education helps a person to retrain their subconscious to believe that the physical condition is benign and any disability they have is a function of pain-related fear and conditioning, which is essential to recovery. It can be a more recent book by Dr. John Sarno, or there are many more books out now that may vary slightly from Dr. Sarno in the details but are still the same idea. They include:
Books by Dr. John Sarno
Unlearn Your Pain– book by Dr. Howard Schubiner
Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain – book by Dr. David Hanscom
They Can’t Find Anything Wrong!: 7 Keys to Understanding, Treating, and Healing Stress Illness – book by Dr. David Clarke
Think Away Your Pain – book by Dr. David Schechter
When the Body days No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection – book by Dr. Gabor Mate
The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse– book by Steven Ozanich
Pain Free for Life: The 6-Week Cure for Chronic Pain, Without Surgery or Drugs– book by Dr. Scott Brady
Freedom from Fibromyalgia : The 5-Week Program Proven to Conquer Pain – book by Dr. Nancy Selfridge
2. Be assessed by a medical doctor to rule out serious medical problems (not ALL pain is TMS. Sometimes there is something physically wrong!). An assessment with a doctor trained in identifying mind-body conditions (you can find a listing here) can determine definitively, but with any doctor if serious illness is ruled out and no diagnoses or a vague diagnoses is given, it could be an indication of a mind-body condition.
Set Up A Consultation Session. You can get a feel if you think working with me will be helpful to you and decide if you want to continue or not. If I don’t think I can be of help in your situation, I will let you know that and talk to you about a referral or another option.
Frequently Asked Questions About TMS Therapy
How long does therapy take?
This varies greatly per person! A person’s emotional readiness to confront difficult thoughts or feelings, how strong the conditioning is for a person, and how deeply rooted a person’s defenses are, are the biggest factors that affect how long it will take for them to feel better from therapy. Also, some people choose to end after they feel they have enough information to do the rest on their own, some end after they feel better, some continue on even after they feel better. But it will always be up to you. I can share with you my opinion about your readiness to end or not, but it will always be your decision.
What if I can’t afford your rates/ TMS therapy?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a TMS therapist that takes insurance. Fortunately, there are a bunch of FREE or low-cost options for TMS recovery today. They include the books and workbooks by the authors listed earlier, and a FREE Online Recovery Program on the TMS Wiki – a website full of education, peer-support, success stories, and resources for recovery from TMS. Personally, I also offer short-term therapy at a discounted rate, so I can start people off on their healing journeys but they can then continue the work with a more affordable therapist.
Will it help with (fill in the blank) medical condition?
It’s important to me not to overstep my areas of expertise. I collaborate with TMS doctors so they can answer the medical questions. I focus on the psychotherapy. It’s also valuable to do a search on TMSWiki.org to hear from others with your condition.
Do I have to dwell on my past or get really emotional in therapy, in order to get better?
Even though we discuss the past in therapy, we don’t dwell on it. I keep the focus mostly present-centered. When we do discuss the past, the focus is on release not blame. In terms of the emotional content, I do it in stages, gaging what my client is ready for and when. I work collaboratively with clients, so you will always have a say in what you do or don’t want.
Recently relocated from New York City to Arizona