Psychological Interventions
Listening to a patient, taking the time required for a complete pain history and empathising with the patient is a simple form of psychotherapy. There is obviously a place for formal psychotherapy in either group or individual sessions in some patients, although this is the minority of patients. Often the most useful psychological intervention is helping the patient understand what is going on to create the pain and developing strategies to deal with the pain within the framework of realistic goals and expectations.
With time patients often develop an understanding of pain triggers and can learn to avoid them.
In some patients, especially those with pelvic pain, there are troubling issues in the past which can trigger the pain and often lead to guilt feelings associated with the pain. These can often be teased out in a session with a pain consultant but do occasionally require more formal psychotherapy.
Where pain is closely related to anxiety, it is often useful for the patient to have formal sessions of relaxation therapy. The need for such a structured approach often becomes apparent after a number of consultations.
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