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Treating Chronic Pain

Back at Where the Client Is, a new interview with psychoanalyst Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD about treating pain the Dr. John Sarno way: By getting at underlying, unfelt emotion. Not mainstream at the moment, but look out. (The interview is intended for therapists, but is still readable.) Key:

For people who have great difficulty being aware of what they are feeling about what they are saying, I work intensively on this in each session. I recommend that they take a “feeling inventory” several times during the day and evening: Ask yourself, “What am I feeling about the events that happened during the past hour? How did I feel when my supervisee didn’t meet the deadline and casually brought the work into my office without acknowledging that it was late? How did I feel when our nanny called to say that she had an emergency and had to leave immediately, possibly indefinitely? How did I feel when our 16 year-old son showed up two hours past his curfew, undeniably drunk?” At the beginning of therapy, some people need to take this inventory once every hour.

As we are doing this “emotion detection” work inside and outside the sessions, we are also tracking pain levels as well as presence and absence of pain. This strategy is aimed at making links between emotions and pain symptoms.

The rest of the interview is here.

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Posted by Will Baum, LCSW