Psychological Support & Counseling

At PRIDE, we use a biopsychosocial approach to treatment, which views chronic pain and disability as a complex interaction between physical, psychological, and social factors. So, effective treatment of chronic pain must include both medical and psychological interventions. At PRIDE, we understand that chronic pain can disrupt many areas of your life. It can alter your personality, disrupt your sleep, impact your interpersonal relationships, and interfere with your ability to perform activities of daily living, including work duties. Many people with chronic pain develop negative emotions, including anxiety, anger, sadness, hopelessness, and depression.

Emotional distress directly influences pain by increasing muscle tension, increasing your brain’s perception of pain, and altering levels of neurotransmitters associated with pain. It may also have the indirect effect of causing you to limit or avoid activities, leading to physical deconditioning and loss of function, which may ultimately result in increased pain and disability. The PRIDE psychology staff will help you get out of this cycle of emotional distress, tension, and pain and to better understand the relationship between emotions, behaviors, and physical symptoms. They will teach you effective cognitive and behavioral symptom management skills that will help you feel better, manage your pain better, and function better in your life.

The mental health professionals at PRIDE have over 50 years of experience treating patients with chronic pain and disability.

Counseling

PRIDE’s licensed mental health professionals specialize in treating patients with chronic pain and disability. They provide one-on-one support, in a safe environment, to allow patients to talk about, and process their feelings and concerns about life stressors related to their chronic pain experience. In addition to supportive listening, the psychology department clinicians utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to help patients learn effective skills for managing physical and emotional symptoms. Through CBT, patients can gain a better understanding of the connection between thoughts, mood, and behaviors and how they can impact one’s symptoms. Patients can learn to identify and modify negative thoughts and unhealthy behaviors, which can contribute to emotional distress and disability. Education is provided in both individual and class-room settings. Some specific CBT self-management techniques include stress management, relaxation training, problem solving, goal setting, sleep strategies, and assertiveness. Patients who become adept at applying CBT techniques in daily life are better able to cope with life stressors, manage pain and related symptoms, and return to a more functional lifestyle.

Research studies have consistently shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is highly effective in helping patients manage emotional distress, disability, and pain.

Stress Management & Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a technique that trains you to manage your pain by controlling certain bodily processes that normally occur involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin temperature. Through biofeedback you will learn how to enter a physiological state of deep relaxation that has been associated with healing and pain reduction. Biofeedback at PRIDE is provided by a licensed professional counselor who specializes in behavioral methods for controlling stress, tension, pain, anxiety, and other symptoms. Biofeedback is used in conjunction with other techniques such as relaxation training, paced breathing, stress management education, and supportive counseling.

The primary goal is to teach you ‘self-regulation’ strategies for controlling the physical and emotional symptoms that are involved in chronic pain. Following each biofeedback training session, you will be asked to practice specific skills and techniques as homework. You will also be provided with PRIDE CD’s containing a variety of guided relaxation exercises to practice at home.

Almost all PRIDE patients who practice with these relaxation strategies report success with pain control.

Medication Management

People experiencing chronic pain frequently use medications to reduce discomfort. The use of medications in treating chronic pain can be a helpful tool if managed well. However, long-term use of certain medications, including opioids, does little to solve the problem, and over time, these medications can lose their effectiveness. Even worse, long-term use of opioids and related medications, can result in negative side effects, including chronic constipation, changes in mood, dependence, addiction, and sometimes increased pain (called opioid-induced hyperalgesia).

At PRIDE, our physicians develop individualized medication plans for each patient. PRIDE physicians and staff help patients reduce their dependence on medications through effective rehabilitation and pain management skills training. When patients have completed the treatment program they will leave with the tools that they need to continue managing pain effectively, while being able to participate in the family, social, and work activities that are important to them.

For the convenience our patients, PRIDE has made arrangements with a local pharmacy (non-affiliated with PRIDE) to have a dispensary window on site for commonly prescribed medications.