“I used to have a handle on life, but then it fell off.”
While there is no magic pill for those struggling with chronic pain and illness, there –is- life meaning and the potential for joy in the midst of it all. This therapy group is designed to provide new coping skills and support in managing and reducing pain, promoting healthy support and finding a way to live well despite pain.
About the Chronic Pain and Illness Group
Session 1 - The Power of Group: Who are we and why are we here?
Introduction of group members and regarding the purpose and rules of group, identifying goals. Education will be provided regarding basic strategies in coping with chronic pain and illness, including pacing, healthy breathing and the purpose of relaxation.
Session 2 - The Power of Grief and Loss
This session will focus on the losses associated with illness and injury, along with healthy coping strategies to support progression through the stages of grief. Education will be provided on the grieving process. We will explore the impact of grief on the change process and explore self-care and support needs for individuals experiencing grief.
Session 3 - Self-Talk: The Power of the Mind
The role of our thinking patterns and core beliefs play a large role in how we experience and react to the events that happen in life. In addition, many of us have the tendency to treat ourselves the worst when we need ourselves the most, including how we talk to ourselves. As such, our thoughts play a large role in both how we feel physically and emotionally. Education will be provided regarding the common thinking patterns associated with health versus pain.
Session 4 - Pacing Skills: The Power of Behavior
This session will focus on understanding the over-doing/under-doing cycle. We will identify the thoughts, feelings and activities which are associated with over-doing, along with how to break the cycle of over-doing/under-doing. The barriers to appropriate pacing will be identified, along with creative ways to overcome them.
Session 5 - Pleasant and Painful Feelings: The Power of our Emotions
During this session, we will explore the relationship between emotions and the body. Feelings which tend to exacerbate pain and illness will be explored, as well as emotions which promote well-being. Education will be provided regarding the positive functions of feelings and ways to cope with painful feelings. Pacing issues associated with making time for activities which promote pleasant feelings will also be explored.
Session 6 - The Power of Relaxation
This session will focus on exploring how stress impacts health and pain. Sources of stress will be identified. We will explore the difference between healthy stress, which is good and inevitable in life, from distress, which tends to be destructive. Education will be provided regarding various types of stress management and relaxation activities to assist in reducing unhelpful stress and promoting relaxation.
Session 7 - Relationship Issues: The Power of Connection
Chronic pain and illness can create barriers to accessing social support, just when people need it the most. This frustration can be made worse by the fact that many loved ones, friends or coworkers simply do not understand how to help and may say or do unhelpful things in an effort to be helpful that often backfires. This session will focus on exploring the importance of support and relationship, along with the risks of isolation. We will explore ways to overcome the obstacles and cope more effectively with relationship problems that are commonly faced by those with chronic pain and illness.
Session 8 – The Role of Medications in Pain Management:
Discussion and examination of issues or questions related to medications related to chronic pain treatment. The value of medication, as well as the risks, will be explored. Education provided regarding red flags to look out for with medications, including the signs of addition versus physical dependency and using medications to pace.
Session 9 – Client’s Choice Week!
In this session, clients get to pick any topic they feel would benefit them, whether it be returning to a topic already discussed or a topic not yet covered. Options might include dealing with clutter/daily life chores; having a session where loved ones or family members can attend; assertiveness skills needed in learning to say no or negotiate relationships with chronic healthy issues – the list is endless!
Session 10 - Recreating a Meaningful Life
As many people with chronic illness or injury have found, there is the possibility of an even richer life after the diagnosis than before. New possibilities open up as we accept the losses involved in life being changed forever. This session is designed to help each group member in the quest to create positive meaning in their lives after the trauma of illness or injury. The group will then participate in a group closure activity, discussing gains they have made in the group, and plans for the future, as well as saying goodbyes.
- Sessions will include relaxation exercises designed to reduce pain and stress.
- Handouts will be provided on relevant topics each week.