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Mental Health
Abbie

The Role of Psychotherapy for Managing Chronic Pain – Does it Really Help?

The role of Psychotherapy is an important part of chronic pain management, one that can be effective for finding strength in our inner self as well as identifying negative behaviours. Scientifically proven to help us feel better and reorganise our thoughts, psychotherapy can work wonders for the mental health challenges that exist when managing chronic pain.

One of the major purposes of psychotherapy is to elevate your self-esteem so you feel better by understanding and minimising stress and anxiety. It can also be a confidence booster that helps alleviate pain and negative thought patterns.

Reintroducing self-esteem

Besides how we think, feel, and behave, self-esteem can also influence our relationship with our partner, friends, family and especially with ourselves. 

With healthy self-esteem, it is much easier for us to feel good, valuable and worthy of self-respect. That’s why having positive self-esteem can give us confidence in managing even the most challenging situations.

But, as self-esteem comes from our genetics, environment, and other life experiences, it can be influenced by external factors. For example, a painful experience in childhood can affect you long after and contribute to low self-esteem.

For some, low self-esteem can also come from chronic pain which is usually followed by emotional turmoil, negative thoughts, and other additional stressors.  

Some medications also tend to cause physical changes such as fatigue, skin conditions, weight gain or loss, hair loss, trouble with memory and difficulty controlling emotions, leading to anxiety and depression that also affect pain. 

Overcoming low self-esteem with psychotherapy  

Low self-esteem is usually accompanied by following symptoms:

  • Negative thoughts
  • Self-criticizing too harshly
  • Feeling overly anxious
  • Constantly losing confidence

When low self-esteem symptoms arise, psychotherapy can help. It allows you to identify negative thought patterns and behavioural cycles. This helps us stay emotionally healthy, by providing coping mechanisms to recognise and overcome our negative emotions.              

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy can give the support we need in a time of uncertainty or in a challenging situation. It is a safe space to express our feelings, thoughts and emotions so we can move forward with our lives. 

We can get help from a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health providers to identify the cause of dips in self-belief and develop coping strategies so we can regain control.

For example, a therapist will pay careful attention to the client’s body posture, the prosody of their voice and how they tell their story. Once they have a clear reading, therapists will develop treatments to overcome the client’s problems.

Effective psychological treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and competitive memory training (COMET) are built for reenergizing our confidence to accept feedback and outcomes positively without being too hard on ourselves.  

The benefits of Psychotherapy for Chronic Pain

Having a conversation with a professional helps make us feel much more understood because our self-esteem, capabilities, and achievements are being acknowledged. 

The American Psychological Association says around 75 percent of people who go to psychotherapy have shown improved emotions and behaviours with positive changes. 

More benefits from psychotherapy:

  • Help to overcome depression

A therapist can help you to identify the causes of depression, and also help you control your mind toward new ways of responding to the problems. Many people find themselves feeling better to cope with depression after using psychotherapy.

  •  Reduce anxiety

You will be assisted to explore your emotions and find the anxiety triggers. After highlighting the problems, the therapist will create strategies to overcome the problems in an attainable way.

  • Boost confidence

Having a conversation with a therapist who helps you explore the causes of your insecurities and finding your achievements, your strength, and your success is one of the disciplines to boost your confidence.  

Many find psychotherapy is effective as the whole purpose is to identify the cause of negative thoughts, re-assess any self-doubt into self-acceptance. With the right amount of self-acceptance produced, we would have enough positivity to eliminate obstacles and achieve higher goals in our lives. 

If you’re interested in looking into therapy, take a look at the NHS website or speak to your GP who will be able to refer you for the appropriate therapy for you. These waiting times can be long, so here is a list of mental health charities that you are able to reach out to, usually for free at any point. If you’re looking for something chronic pain specific, here is a list of support groups in the UK.

If you want to discuss psychotherapy or you already tried it,  feel free to share your experience on our Facebook page Together for Better Days. It’s a great place for holistic health tips, advice, support and read the success stories of others who have tried psychotherapy too.

Thanks for reading!
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