Being told “It’s all in your head” can be infuriating when dealing with chronic pain. Many people have a misconception about cognitive-behavioral therapy where they think it dismisses their concerns and writes them off as figments of their imagination.
However, cognitive behavior is a tool professionals use to help patients cope with symptoms. Here we address some of the stigmas surrounding chronic pain, explain the goals of CBT, and help you decide if CBT is something that may help you.
Stigma 1: Others Don’t Take Me Seriously
Due to societal norms, the expectation is that there must be physical evidence to support a patient’s claims. Chronic pain can be frustrating for patients because it often lacks evidence of a cause, which can challenge the legitimacy of the condition in the eyes of others. Many who suffer from chronic pain under-report their symptoms out of fear of not being taken seriously by family and healthcare professionals.
Stigma 2: Others Think I Want Attention
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may be worried about losing empathy with those close to you. You may be afraid to reach out because of how someone may respond. However, chronic pain isn’t a condition where someone seeks attention. It’s a condition that requires a specialized approach to get to its roots which is what cognitive behavioral therapy can offer.
Stigma 3: People Think I’m Lazy
Another misconception chronic pain sufferers battle with is being perceived as lazy by others. Chronic pain can cause you to miss out on social gatherings and make you miss work. Because others fail to understand the nature of your condition, they unfairly label you as unreliable or unwilling to participate in areas of your life.
How CBT Can Help you
Often there are negative thoughts, emotions, and actions that coincide with chronic pain. A common frustration among chronic pain patients is feeling unheard. Cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses these things by validating your concerns and acknowledging your pain.
- The primary goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to challenge thoughts and beliefs related to your pain.
- Studies suggest changing how you think about pain can positively impact the mind and body.
- CBT gives you tools to help you redirect your focus, despite the presence of pain.
- It helps you get to the bottom of what’s bothering you and points out negative thought patterns that may be worsening the situation. CBT can also help you build positive habits and address negative beliefs.
The keys to being successful with CBT are to believe in its process, active participation and remain consistent with sessions. With time, CBT can help you get on the track toward healing.
If you’re interested to learn more about cognitive-behavioral therapy, reach out to our Show Low, AZ office.
Call us today at 855-768-4968 to schedule a consultation.