CBT for Chronic Pain:

A Proven Path to Pain Recovery

Once detox is completed at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, pain recovery continues with various  treatment modalities, including the use of CBT for chronic pain. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of psychotherapy based on the idea that thoughts cause feelings and behaviors. CBT therapists believe both feelings and behavior can be adapted by changing the way an individual thinks. They help their clients first identify negative and distorted thought patterns, and then replace them with positive thoughts. In cognitive therapy for chronic pain, one “restructures” thought patterns so they are more conducive to pain recovery. CBT therapists understand that pain is much more than just the body’s biological response to a stimulus. They design treatments showing that the perception of pain, which includes such things as previous painful episodes, stress, fears, anxiety, sadness, depression and other moods, are related to thoughts, and thoughts can be controlled and modified.

Empirical evidence shows that CBT works better than taking pain medication long-term. CBT has been successfully used for people suffering with back and neck pain, headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, sickle cell anemia and cancer.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain “Cools Down” Thoughts

One way to gauge the effect of certain thoughts is to attach temperatures to them. The cooler the thought, the less pain there is. Cool thoughts are usually simple statements of fact. No particular emotion is suggested by these statements: “Most days I have chronic pain.”

Warm thoughts are linked to a mild degree of reaction and are associated with preferences. It’s normal to be distressed when situations or events don’t happen as you would like: “I wish I didn’t have to hurt today.”

Hot thoughts are associated with intense emotions and significant distress, such as panic, heavy depression, or intense anger out of proportion to the situation: “If I have to continue living in chronic pain, I’d rather be dead.”  This way of thinking about CBT for chronic pain helps a person understand that it’s not the situation that causes all the emotional distress; it is the person’s thoughts about the situation.

Individuals Benefit from CBT for Chronic Pain by Being Active In Their Recovery

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for chronic pain encourages an active role in one’s therapy. Individuals understand that they can affect their pain through changed thought patterns. Once they leave the victim role behind, real changes can and will begin to occur. One of the most encouraging aspects of cognitive therapy for chronic pain is that learning and growing do not stop once treatments with the therapist are finished. Clients can continue to practice and develop additional coping skills. In fact, researchers have found that CBT can be done at home on the computer to good effect. Whether from one-on-one sessions, group therapy, or even computer sessions, CBT has proven to be beneficial, especially in treating depression, stress, anxiety, or situations that are affected by these conditions, such as chronic pain. As with any psychoanalytical therapy, there is always a chance that it won’t be effective for some people or that problems will return once the active therapy is over. Therapists often schedule return visits, and clients are always encouraged to continue building on their successes after they leave our care.

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