What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than 6 months or longer than the time expected for tissue healing. Distinction is made clinically between cancer pain and non-cancer pain, as cancer pain usually worsens as the cancer spreads and increasing medications are required for palliative care. Chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP), on the other hand, is a condition where pain perception is driven by persistent pain signals coming from specific areas of the body and/or there is amplification of pain perception in the central nervous system of the brain.
It is important to appreciate that pain is an inherently subjective experience and the emotional state of an individual has a great effect on the perception of pain. Fear, anger and shame are commonly associated with amplification of chronic pain.
Chronic pain has major debilitating effects that have major repercussions for the individual, their family life and ability to be productive at work. It has been estimated that 18% of Canadians suffer from chronic pain. Employees with chronic pain miss an average of 28.5 workdays a year, which is more than four times higher than the national annual average for work absenteeism, which is seven days. Chronic pain patients are often prescribed opioid medications as a solution that can become part of the problem because of their abuse liability and dependence (addiction) potential.
What is chronic pain counselling?
At HUM, we begin all of our services with a comprehensive assessment to identify the client’s needs. Completion of the comprehensive assessment is necessary to determine the diagnoses and develop an effective treatment plan.
After the assessment is completed, we use a psychotherapeutic approach for counselling. Psychotherapy is a general term referring to therapeutic interaction or treatment between a trained professional and a client, patient, family, couple, or group. The problems addressed vary in nature and degree.
Psychotherapy aims to increase the individual’s sense of his/her own well-being. At HUM, we use a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient and improve relationships with others.
Psychotherapy services at HUM are provided by our integrated health team that includes registered psychologists, registered social workers and physicians. Our psychotherapeutic approach draws from a variety of models and incorporates aspects of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Family Systems Therapy.