Psychological Support & Counseling

At PRIDE, we use a biopsychosocial approach to treatment, which views chronic pain and disability as a complex interaction among physical, psychological, and social factors. So, the most effective treatment of chronic pain includes 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. PRIDE counselors 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 60 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, PRIDE counselors 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, problem solving, goal setting, sleep strategies, assertiveness, relaxation training, and biofeedback. 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, chronic pain, and disability.

Stress Management, Biofeedback, and Relaxation Training

Biofeedback is a training tool in which processes in your body, such as muscle tension, are measured and displayed to you on a computer screen. Biofeedback training can help you to become more aware of, and to have more control over these bodily processes. Relaxation training is a related technique that teaches you skills for entering a state of deep mental and physical relaxation, which is associated with healing and pain reduction. Biofeedback and relaxation training are provided by licensed mental health professionals who specialize in behavioral methods for controlling stress, tension, pain, anxiety, and other symptoms. Biofeedback and relaxation training are used in conjunction with stress management education and supportive counseling to teach you ‘self-regulation’ skills for controlling the physical and emotional symptoms that are involved in chronic pain. Following each training session, you will be asked to practice these techniques as homework. You will also be provided with educational handouts and online resources, including a variety of guided relaxation exercises to practice at home. 

Almost all PRIDE patients who practice these techniques report success with stress reduction and 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. Patients who complete the treatment program will leave with the medications and pain management tools needed to continue managing their pain effectively, so they can participate in the family, social, and work activities that are important to them.

PRIDE physicians are experts in the most effective and safe medications for managing chronic pain.