FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

How is Coaching different than Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy focuses on helping the client to explore and understand the unconscious mind and how it affects your beliefs and actions. While cognitive behavioral therapy is very effective for pain management, it tends to focus more on the "why" and is likely to be more long-term.

Coaching helps you identify where you're at presently, what you really want and how to attain it. A coach helps you develop skills, clarify goals and create an action plan to obtain those goals. A successful coach will keep you on track and hold you to a level of accountability. Pain coaching also helps to identify your priorities, stressors, and triggers for flares, empowering you to make healthy choices to better manage your challenges.

It is crucial to have a coach who is intimately acquainted with and knowledgeable of the psychology of chronic pain management. Without this background, a typical life coach is going to push you through a "No Pain-No Gain" mentality which will inevitably set you up for a vicious cycle of flares. A pain coach will help you to identify why this is self-sabotaging and work with you to identify ways to break this cycle and minimize the three dimensions of flares (intensity, duration and frequency).

What can I expect from my investment in Pain Coaching sessions?

Together we will identify goals for your coaching program. Some goals include:

  • Identification of stressors, priorities, and triggers for flares
  • Understanding and minimization of the three dimensions of flares (intensity, duration and frequency)
  • Learning methods for reducing and controlling anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression
  • Understanding the impact of stress and negative emotions on the nervous system and the increase of the firing of pain signals
  • Assisting your family members to better understand your pain and how they can feel less helpless
  • Reducing guilt for not "doing my share" at home or inability to contribute financially
  • Acceptance of your chronic pain
  • Understanding the role of relaxation techniques and biofeedback for insomnia, stress and pain reduction
  • For you to control your pain, rather than the pain controlling you!

Can I work with you if I have a therapist?

Yes. In fact, I encourage my clients to participate in therapy, since having chronic pain creates many significant stressors on the individual and their family. With HIPAA permission, I would be happy to collaborate with your therapist to be sure that we are consistent in our approach.

If you are suffering from significant depression, Bipolar or Personality Disorder, or are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, I require that you be actively involved in therapy, or under the treatment of a psychiatrist.

Coaching is to be used as part of your interdisciplinary approach to your pain management.

How many sessions will I need?

The duration of coaching depends on your needs and what you desire for outcomes. I ask for a three to six month commitment. This allows you enough time to apply the techniques and begin to see improvement in your ability to control your pain.