Q&A: Is reading a TMS or PPD book just as effective as going to a practitioner? Should I do one over the other?
Answer by Alan Gordon, LCSW
That's a great question. In my experience, for most people there are two distinct parts to recovering from PPD symptoms:
The first is recognizing and accepting that the cause of the symptoms are psychological, not structural. This is very important, as it's quite difficult to get past the pain if you still believe that the cause of your pain is physical.
The second part is figuring out what unconscious emotions (anger, sadness, etc.) are being repressed, when, and even why. Often pain is a defense against these emotions, so understanding what exactly the pain is protecting you from is important as well.
The books themselves are limited with regard to the second part. Self conducted programs, such as the wonderful program included in Howard Schubiner's book (which incorporates specific forms of journaling, self-exploration, and mindfulness exercises) are sufficient for some people to figure out what's going on underneath.
But being your own therapist is a lot like cutting your own hair: it's possible, but a lot easier if someone else is doing it; after all, they can see things that you can't.
Some (the lucky few) are able to eliminate their pain simply by learning that it isn't structural. Some need to take the next step by conducting their own emotional exploration to get beneath the pain. And some need to take the next step by working with a therapist to help them with that exploration.
How do you know which step you need to take? Simple, the pain will tell you. If you still have symptoms, or your pain is jumping around, that's an indication that you need to take the next step. The pain is your guide, and it will let you know when you've sufficiently addressed what it wants you to address.
It is important to recognize that no information on this wiki can be considered a specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. Reading information here does not create a doctor/patient or other professional relationship between you and the answering professional. As always, you should consult with your physicians and counselors regarding new symptoms and any changes that you might make in medications or activities.
- TMS/PPD Structured Educational Program
- Success Stories by Symptoms & Diagnoses
- Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA
- Q&A: Must my therapist believe in TMS?
- Q&A with an Expert
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