Individuals with chronic pain and illness not only suffer physically — they often suffer emotionally. Emotional pain can range from anger and grief to feeling emotionally numb, to clinical depression.
Our physicians understand that chronic pain and emotional difficulties are often closely intertwined. In diagnosing your pain problem, Kaplan physicians take time to assess not just your physical symptoms and your overall physical health, but also your emotional state, your cognitive functioning, and your situational stress level.
Sometimes the emotional issues become so bound up with a physical disorder that psychotherapy is essential to a patient’s recovery. The Kaplan Medical Team includes Jodi Brayton, a psychotherapist who offers supportive therapy, psychodynamic and cognitive therapy, pain-management therapy, HRV, guided meditation, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing).
Psychotherapy can help individuals become more aware of their own thought processes, so they can begin changing negative thoughts and more effectively manage stressful life situations, such as family and interpersonal issues, including dealing with difficult colleagues or supervisors at work. Using a pain-management protocol, our providers can help patients learn ways to reduce their perception of pain, including the frequency, intensity or quality of painful sensations. This therapeutic approach strives to help patients both resolve their emotional pain and reduce their perception of their physical pain. After participating in pain-management therapy, patients often find themselves feeling well enough to return to the activities that they enjoy and that give meaning to their lives.
Guided meditation is meditation led by a skilled practitioner. Because our minds are prone to wandering, or sometimes too busy to maintain focus, a skilled facilitator can help a beginner or an experienced meditator maintain focus and direction to work through core issues that may be contributing to your experience of mental and physical pain. Thanks to medical research, we know a lot about the benefits of meditation – it can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress & tension, improve sleep, boost the immune system, and reduce systemic inflammation. A regular meditation practice can have a positive impact on many difficult to treat chronic pain conditions and chronic inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease, fibromyalgia syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, Celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy: EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy that has proven highly effective for the treatment of trauma. Traumatic memories are memories that tend to be “frozen in time” and each time they are triggered a person may re-experience the same disturbing sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and sensations suffered during the original event. Traumatic memories have a long-lasting impact because they change core beliefs that we hold about ourselves and the world around us.
EMDR helps the brain adaptively process traumatic information by replicating what naturally happens during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. During EMDR therapy, a person is asked to bring a difficult thought or memory to mind, holding it in awareness, while also following the therapist’s hand movements across the field of vision, mimicking the biological process of REM sleep. Over time, though an event may remain as a bad memory, it eventually ceases to be a physiological stressor, because the person has learned to experience disturbing events or memories in a new and less distressing way.
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Our goal is to return you to optimal health as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment please call: 703-532-4892 x2