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 Still no improvement, psychotherapy?
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richardadams39

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  03:57:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi all,

My pain is now getting worse and worse. I have finished a TMS programme with my local TMS doctor to no avail. I have been doing EFT with no improvement in my symptoms. I have also tried journalling and feel that I have done everything apart from psychotherapy and am obviously worried that it also might not work.

Have any of you guys successfully finished a course of psychotherapy? How long did it take? Do any of you know of a TMS-friendly psychtherapist in London, UK?

I am so, so miserable now. I am at my wit's end and yesterday sat in the toilet at work crying for about 20 minutes. I have written on here before and have been given some sound advice but nothing seems to have worked. Can anyone help me?

Thanks,

Richard.

stanfr

USA
268 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  06:22:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Richard. This may not be a popular opinion with some here, but persoanlly i think EFT is complete nonsense and if your Dr recommended it then you should see a different Dr.
I went through a course of therapy with a non-TMS therapist, i think it helped to some extent but the bottom line is that you have to do the work. Journaling alone probably wont do it for you, you have to take a very comprehensive approach. Have you read some of the other TMS treatment books like Fred Amir's or Scott Bradys? If not, give them a read and try some of those strategies. When you say youve tried "everything" im not sure what that means. You have to come up with a strategy that works for you, everyone is different in that respect. The key is to deliver a message to your subconcious that you will not fall for the TMS ploy, it will take time for the message to sink in but it will happen. Does the pain cause you to alter your lifestyle, like avoiding exercize? If so, the key is to exercize! You have to quit crying, get off the toilet and start screaming at your mind for allowing the pain to persist--show strength and not weakness, because TMS feeds on weakness. Have faith, i can almost gaurantee that if you take a very serious approach and attack the problem with 100% dedication, your body will respond in some way. At first, that might just be symptoms changing, shifting, or even becoming worse. But the fact that they will change should be enough to encourage you that this is the correct diagnosis, and then you just have to build on those successive steps. Keep at it, man!

Edited by - stanfr on 01/15/2009 06:23:56
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richardadams39

United Kingdom
16 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  07:33:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for that Stan. I did read Fred Amir's book, I got to the nine steps bit and then gave up. To be honest I found it all too much - visualisation and things like that. I don't think I have the imagination for it.

I tired exercising but I stopped because I was in too much pain.

This is the conundrum that I face. I very much believe in TMS and want to be able to just pass the pain off but find it very difficult when I cannot think of anything else due to it's severity.

What sort of techniques did you emply to get rid of your TMS?
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marsha

252 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  08:07:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Richard,
Stop trying so hard. Your life is revolving around your pain. I have been there and know how frustrating and depressing this can be.
I have found that involving myself in a project that I love will keep my mind away from the pain. I love to cook..When I am busy in the kitchen I am not aware of any pain. It took me a long time to realize that keeping myself involved was a strategy that worked for me.
Do not expect a miracle overnight. My recovery took 8 months the first time. I have recently had a relapse after about 8 years of no pain . It is hard work. Have confidence in yourself and you will find success.
Marsha

Edited by - marsha on 01/15/2009 08:09:08
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mizlorinj

USA
490 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  08:44:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Richard, sorry to hear of your condition.

Do you believe this program can work for you?

That is a the question your post begs. Fear of it not working will keep you where you are.

Dr. Sarno's program (full program: no shortcuts--find it in the TDM book) worked for me and many others--his success rate is almost 90%! He knows what he's talking about.

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Dave

USA
1863 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  10:20:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by richardadams39
This is the conundrum that I face. I very much believe in TMS and want to be able to just pass the pain off but find it very difficult when I cannot think of anything else due to it's severity.


I think you need to take a good hard look at yourself and be completely honest.

While you tell yourself you believe in TMS, at the same time you search for a "magic bullet" rather than stay the course.

You are allowing your frustration and lack of immediate progress to undermine the diagnosis, whether you realize it or not. When treating TMS it is imperative to take a long-term view and have faith in the process. You need to try to have a positive attitude and truly believe that the results will come despite the day-to-day ups and downs.

There is no "cure" for TMS. There is no magic technique that will free you from the symptoms in a short period of time. Treating TMS is about a lifelong change in the way you think about and react to the symptoms. If you do not fully commit to that lifelong change, then there is not much hope for lasting relief.
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HilaryN

United Kingdom
878 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  11:48:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Have any of you guys successfully finished a course of psychotherapy? How long did it take? Do any of you know of a TMS-friendly psychtherapist in London, UK?

Psychotherapy tends to be a long-term thing and there is no telling how long it would take to cure your back pain.

TMS-friendly psychotherapists are still thin on the ground here. There are 2 things you could try:

The Journey (this is a book by by Brandon Bays, and there are plenty of practitioners here. It worked for me when I felt I wasn't making any progress with my RSI)
Body psychotherapy (look it up - there's a place called Chiron Centre in Ealing, and they may be able to refer you to a practitioner elsewhere in London)

The advantage of The Journey is that you don't have to make a long-term commitment - you could just try one session and see how it goes.

Hilary N
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johnaccardi

USA
182 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  20:28:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave,

I'm in the same boat as Richard. I have to admit what you wrote there scares me a lot. Are you saying that for one to get better they must no longer care about the symptom? Are you saying that one must be able to completely live life as if they didn't have the symptom?

If that's what you are saying, I'm afraid that I won't have the strength to do so.

Getting to that level seems impossible because the symptom consumes all day every day. It has made everything I once loved into terrifying situations that I want to avoid.
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marsha

252 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2009 :  21:08:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
John and Richard,
Go back and read MINDBODY PRESCRIPTION or THE DIVIDE MIND (more techinical). Watch Sarno's video.

Unless you can fully accept that unconscious emotional things are entirely responsible for the pain. No matter how severe the pain is the cause isn't structual. Without believing this you will not have success.
You must read and write everyday and when you start to feel better then you can start doing the things you used to do.
Also, remeber that fear is the enemy . It is the most difficult thing to get out of your head.
Don't give up.This takes time.
Marsha

Edited by - marsha on 01/15/2009 21:13:10
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stanfr

USA
268 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  04:35:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Richard, yes it does take time, but i want to stress that you should at least notice changes occurring very soon after embarking on the program. You dont have to follow Amir's steps to a 'tee' but you can't just give up! You have to commit, 100%! If it's 99%, then get used to the pain.

I'm not sure this is the place to recite everything ive used to fight TMS, but since you asked ill try to summarize the key things i did when i initially had sciatica. Ive had to employ different strategies for some of the later TMS issues ive had (like psoriasis) but the common element has been a profound acknowlegement that the symptoms were psychosomatic and not physical, and a redirecting of my attention away from the symptoms. I understand how difficult that can be; so sometimes when it's impossible to 'ignore' it becomes more an issue of just letting the symptoms be, and not dwelling on them.

When i had sciatica, i had lingering doubts and the only way i was able to turn the corner was to see Sarno in NYC, speaking to him gave me more confidence that i was going to succeed--he belittled my MRI, calling the bulging discs "chicken feed" (Sarno's a character )
My approach consisted of:
1) completely weaning myself off of all pain killers and physical treatments, i stopped all that cold turkey immediately.
2) Immediately returning to the gym and purposely doing serious back exercizes that common sense would dictate should cause incredible damage if in fact my back was physically weak. This basically delivered a message to my subconcious that i wasnt buying into the ploy. Sure, it hurt like hell initially, but the mere fact that it didnt cripple me was convincing that the physical diagnosis was incorrect, and i seized on this basic fact to continue to challenge the pain.
3) I wrote out a poem that i used as a mantra, which basically was a statement to the effect that I knew i was physically strong, and that i was aware that the pain was just a ploy by the TMS 'gremlin'. I recited this poem over and over again, out loud, while jogging. Instead of thinking about the intense pain that i initially felt while running, i refocused all my attention on the poem, and over time the pain slowly diminished.
4) I wrote out all the things that were bugging me, and i used visualization techniques to try to release some of the anger and stress i was feeling.
5) read and reread Sarno.
Making life-style changes and behavioral changes, along with therapy, may be necessary if you're someone (like myself) whose prone to this disorder, but i think if you can overcome that fear and directly challenge the tMS, that should get you past this pain issue.

Edited by - stanfr on 01/16/2009 04:37:35
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winnieboo

USA
269 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  05:44:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Richard,

The course (length) of psychotherapy is different for everyone, but I would recommend it. It isn't easy, fun or cheap, but at least for me, it gave me my life back. I worked with a psychodynamic therapist who knows about TMS and she hammered away at me, first my neck pain, then my other myriad aches and pains, then anxiety, then depression. It was a solid year of ups and downs, but I am now my old self, back at work, re-engaged with friends, my family, my religious faith and life in general. I've got to tell you that when you reach the end of the tunnel, you will see that so much of our condition has to do with control. Lack of it when we're in the throes of pain and a wealth of it when we're ready to employ good old-fashioned self discipline and take up the reigns of our lives again. None of it was automatic for me, and I have to employ conscious internal strength daily, because I'm still making new healthier mental habits for myself. I had a very negative way of viewing the world and myself and that had to change.

I still have physical and emotional issues (occasional reflux and occasional sinus infections and I get anxious!), but the psychotherapy saved me. I also read self-help books, surf the net for suggestions and pray. Believe me, I have been there crying on the toilet and crying on the cold bathroom floor, thinking there was no hope for me. Know that there is. Hang in the there and good luck.
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Dave

USA
1863 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  09:45:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johnaccardi
I'm in the same boat as Richard. I have to admit what you wrote there scares me a lot. Are you saying that for one to get better they must no longer care about the symptom? Are you saying that one must be able to completely live life as if they didn't have the symptom?

YES!
quote:
If that's what you are saying, I'm afraid that I won't have the strength to do so.

That fear is a symptom itself.
quote:
Getting to that level seems impossible because the symptom consumes all day every day. It has made everything I once loved into terrifying situations that I want to avoid.

This is the whole purpose of the symptom. As long as it succeeds at consuming you, the brain will continue to use this strategy. You must break the cycle by learning to ignore the symptoms.

It is not easy, but if you have a defeatist attitude from the start, then I'm afraid there is little hope of recovery. You have to shake the feeling that it is "impossible" and just do it.

Say "F U" to the symptoms! "Tell your brain" you are on to its tricks and you're not going to let it consume your life anymore. Resume normal physical activity despite the pain. Until you do this, I'm afraid you have not begun treatment.
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johnaccardi

USA
182 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  14:57:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dave,

That's exactly what I did from september to january and didn't see any results. I became discouraged at the lack of results over 4 months and kind of gave up. I guess I'll try it again.
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skizzik

USA
780 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  16:56:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by richardadams39


I am so, so miserable now. I am at my wit's end and yesterday sat in the toilet at work crying for about 20 minutes.



I don't have any advice for you other to say that I've done many a crying on the toilet myself (lid down) when I'd be halfway thru another weekend "and I'm still in agony" and "I can't take it anymore" and I just need to get away from the kids and let it all out. It's the place to be to let it all out when you can't let the 4 others in the house see you and you don't have your own room.

I've hid at work too, and let it out.

I can say that I have'nt in a while though. I don't say that to be tough. But maybe I'm a tad better now? Hard to say, pain is so subjective.

I recall telling myself to toughen up and not feel sorry for myself and I would'nt cry anymore because thats giving in. That was at the peak of it. I think I made it 2 weeks and figured what am I doing, I let go and just let the depression of it all happen. I let myself cry. And now I read your post and realize it's been awhile. I guess thats good.
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winnieboo

USA
269 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  16:56:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Psychotherapy was the only thing that worked for me because the structure of it made me accountable to another human being. If I was feeling miserable or upset or fearful or sick, explaining my day-to-day situations with another person was the only way to really see and to be CONSTANTLY REMINDED that what I was doing, or what I was thinking, was either detrimental, helpful or something else.

There seems to be much resistance on the forum to psychotherapy. Why? Cost? I understand that it's alot of money. But it's an investment in you. Check your insurance plan and find what makes the most sense and find the best person you can who you connect with and who understands somatizing or TMS. Can't find the right person? I changed therapists and interviewed several before I settled in with the one I have (I don't love her, either), but she's made me well. I had a real "trip" going on, for lack of a better word. It wasn't just the neck and shoulder pain, there were many emotional layers underneath, all of which had to be addressed, and it had gone on so long, I was completely absorbed in my own miserable story and just downright stubborn about everything. I needed someone to cut through my many defenses and bulls*&t. This pain we're all experiencing is a defense against the world. What's out there that's so scary? What's within that's so scary? This is what psychotherapy helps us understand. It's hard to admit that I was wrapped up in a bundle of defenses, but my body didn't lie. All my muscles were braced for the worst. And when they loosened up, my anxiety kept me busy so I still didn't have to face my world.

In any case...the money was a hardship for me, but listen, I couldn't even work for 16 months and now I'm back and making money again. It's an investment in yourself and you will learn so much. And you will be out of pain, without surgery and possibly without any drugs either. I did it without drugs. My therapist made me stop drinking wine every night with dinner (which forced me to sit with my own discomfort at night and just look at it) and she sent me back to the gym which took eight months because I was so fearful of hurting myself again.

I had to be pushed to do everything. I could have read a hundred books, and I did some on-line work and while that all made me smarter, without the shrink I would have allowed myself to still wallow, because I just felt too crappy, I just wasn't up to applying self-discipline to my situation. I needed insight and support and encouragement from someone else. Accountability to someone else made the difference. Just my two cents.
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skizzik

USA
780 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2009 :  04:23:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by winnieboo

I was completely absorbed in my own miserable story and just downright stubborn about everything.


like what? how are you different now?
quote:
Originally posted by winnieboo

I needed someone to cut through my many defenses and bulls*&t.


what does this mean?
quote:
Originally posted by winnieboo


This pain we're all experiencing is a defense against the world.



again...what does this mean? I think I see the direction, but more please!

thanx winn

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winnieboo

USA
269 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2009 :  08:45:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Skiz,

The direction is, when self-help doesn't work, go to a professional.

I won't bore you with the details of my own miserable story. But the point is, my little book needed a rewrite.

I'm different now because I'm out of pain, I've lost my generalized anxiety, I'm back at work, I'm happier, I'm not irritable with my family and kids. I have my life back.

I spoke up on this thread because I was hoping to help Richard, who was asking a direct question about other people's experiences with psychotherapy. Richard sounded like he was hurting and I connected with that and I wanted to help. Psychotherapy was powerful for me and I'm excited about that. I think it's worth every penny, tear and frustration.

Edited by - winnieboo on 01/17/2009 08:53:41
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skizzik

USA
780 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2009 :  09:11:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
hey winn,

how bout a success story then? I don't see one there from you, and it's those "miserable details" from your own story that others are craving and gonna see themselves in and help them.

if you don't post a success story I will keep bombarding you w/ smilies

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HilaryN

United Kingdom
878 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2009 :  10:36:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've enjoyed reading all the replies on this thread.

quote:
Originally posted by winnieboo

There seems to be much resistance on the forum to psychotherapy. I needed someone to cut through my many defenses and bulls*&t. This pain we're all experiencing is a defense against the world.


skizzik,

Psychological resistance is an interesting topic. (Well I find it so because I think I have very high resistance!) There's a little bit about it in The Divided Mind. (Let me know if you want me to look up the specific reference.) Karen Horney also talks about it in "Self Analysis". More here:
http://www.tmshelp.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2532

An example is when one makes excuses to not have psychotherapy. Or one avoids one's appointments (forgets, doesn't feel well, generally makes excuses which seem genuine to the patient on a conscious level, but have probably been contrived by their subconscious in order to avoid delving into those nasty FEELINGS!)

This explanation was a bit hurried - let me know if you want more clarification.

Hilary N

Edited by - HilaryN on 01/17/2009 15:10:30
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HilaryN

United Kingdom
878 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2009 :  10:40:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
(Winnieboo)I won't bore you with the details of my own miserable story.

Winnie, your posts are never boring! I find them very interesting.

Hilary N
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Dave

USA
1863 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2009 :  09:35:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by johnaccardi

Dave,

That's exactly what I did from september to january and didn't see any results. I became discouraged at the lack of results over 4 months and kind of gave up. I guess I'll try it again.


If you truly did everything that is recommended in the treatment chapter of Dr. Sarno's book (and be completely honest with yourself here), and you did not see any relief, then the next step would be psychoanalysis with a TMS-trained therapist.
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