I ask immediate family members of every patient I work with to engage fully in the DOCC project. It is not just for support, which is important. Family members have a direct neurological effect on each other’s brains. It has been found that the brain contains mirror neurons. These are cells that fire in response to the observation of another person’s actions. These cells fire in the matching part of the brain of the observed action. Mirror Neurons For example, when a baby cries in a hospital nursery, other babies may begin to cry. It is because the “crying cells” in the other babies’ brains are stimulated due to the mirroring effect. This has also been shown in monkeys in that when they observe human eating a banana the appetite center in the monkey’s brain will light up. Have you ever noticed that when your spouse or partner is having a great day that your day is better. Conversely when he or she is having a bad day then it takes yours down a couple of notches. It is probably because a similar part of your brain gets triggered and sets off a reaction. Compassion = Action The most caring and compassionate action you can do for your family member in pain is to fully engage in the tools that deal with the Mind Body Syndrome. I ask the family members to just use the word “stress” instead of the word pain. It is the exact same model and there seems to be plenty of it to go around. BTW if you look at Dr. Schubiner’s list of Mind Body symptoms you will see that every human has a number of these symptoms, so you have a choice. These symptoms will disappear. Anxiety is also a Mind Body symptom and is the core driver of most of our behavior. Your anxiety will drop—usually dramatically. Do it for You I have one caveat. Each family member has to pursue his or her journey for his or her OWN benefit. If you are doing it mostly for the other person it is not effective. Too many other factors come into play. If a family member chooses not to participate that is his or her right and the topic has to be dropped. If you are that family member who won’t participate I am going to ask you why? Why would you not engage in process that is immensely helpful for your partner, spouse, or child as well as being of great benefit to you? Are You Frustrated? Do you feel trapped by living with a person suffering chronic pain? At some level are you angry? That would be the only explanation. Wake up and give yourself a gift as well as to your family. Chronic pain destroys families as well as eating away at the person who is experiencing it. Healing is much more likely if everyone is involved.