Children with Chronic Pain

All parents face conflicts over their desires to protect their children and to encourage their independence. This conflict is even more challenging when a child lives with chronic illness. Yet children (and parents) fare best when they can accept and adapt in ways that do not magnify the illness. Read on for strategies to help.

What If You Hurt ALL the Time?

When pain and exhaustion are constant and unrelenting it feels hopeless. Yet even the worst chronic conditions have some variation. Finding and understanding these subtle differences opens the possibility of more significant improvement.

Should Your Response to Pain Be Considered “Abnormal”?

Somatic symptom disorder, one of the maligned new diagnostic categories unrolled in DSM-5, may shift discourse away from the "realness" of symptoms to how "normal" one's response to them may be. But what does an "abnormal" response to pain or other distressing symptoms look like? And would this psychiatric diagnosis benefit people who are struggling to cope?

How to survive chronic pain, one moment at a time

Chronic pain can feel all-encompassing. It can be helpful to remember that all that we ever have to get through is this very moment, and that the present moment is always changing. This article suggests ways to improve the moment, adapted from dialectical behavioral therapy, an approach that draws in equal measures from cognitive-behavioral therapy and zen Buddhism.

The Dialectic of Pain: Synthesizing Acceptance and Change

Pain is inevitable, but suffering and misery are not. The more we fight pain, the more likely we are to experience hopelessness and despair, and the harder it becomes to identify constructive change. Like those Chinese finger-trap toys, the more forcefully we tug to release our index fingers, the more tightly ensnared they become. Calming down opens the means to escape.

Chronic Physical and Emotional Pain Disorders

As psychotherapist who lives with chronic pain and works primarily with people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, it is not surprising that I would see overlaps. However, the commonality I have found is striking—not so much about symptoms themselves, but in the wider context of their social meaning and status.

Mack Truck Mornings

"I've been hit by a Mack Truck!" and alternative responses to the feeling of mornings with fibromyalgia that can help you get up and through the day, despite pain.

The Healing Powers of Sex

When you are in serious pain, the last thing you might feel like is being intimate. Research shows, however, that indulging in intimacy has powerful painkilling properties.

Treat Chronic Pain as an Ongoing Experiment

One of the most difficult parts of living with chronic pain is its unpredictability. Learning the reasons behind your ups and downs puts you in the driver's seat.