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Pandora's Box

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by WoundedHealer, Oct 11, 2021.

  1. WoundedHealer

    WoundedHealer New Member

    (I tried sending this to 'Contact Us' and 'Ask A Therapist' but haven't had any response so I hope I am posting this in the right place)

    I came across this program years ago. You may be able to see a discussion I started in the forums about an incident I had, where I thought I should face my pain and didn't take anything for it which ended up in one of the worst migraines of my entire life. I was told in the forums that I misunderstood the part about not taking my medication when in pain, but nevertheless, I had experienced so much pain that I felt reluctant to keep going forward.

    Years went by and I just recently started using the free version of Curable and am really loving it. I heard it was based on this TMS site and Dr. Sarno. I want to start with this work again but I have some questions on how to do it safely without reopening my own 'Pandora's Box' of mental, emotional, and physical pain. I have 2 therapists now so I have much more support than I did when I first started. I have a regular psychologist that I see 2x a week and a Pain psychologist through the Kaiser Pain Program. But I would like to get advice from a clinician or member about doing this program, and how to go about it without putting myself in a worse situation as I did before.

    My regular therapist recently took a class specializing in trauma with Bessell van der Kolk, who as you may know is an author and trauma specialist. He wrote the Body Keeps The Score (which incidentally I couldn't finish reading because it was too triggering for me) His take is that to reopen trauma and go into the painful past can be unhealthy and counterproductive for the survivor and that there are other mind-body approaches that can be healing such as yoga, acupuncture, dance, etc...

    So I am confused because from what I understand if we do this program or Curable we are supposed to face our underlying rage and childhood history and write / journal about it. That really scares me and makes me feel uneasy, but I want to do almost anything to feel better, but not if it makes things worse in a way where I stop my progress again, like with my earlier misunderstanding with the migraine I had years ago.

    I hope this all makes sense. I guess my main question to a TMS therapist would be - "Is there a way to be successful with this program without dredging up too much rage and pain that could potentially really hurt me worse?" Thank you
    Piano Mom and NNava like this.
  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just posted on the same forum about the study out of Harvard that answers your questions:

    https://www.bidmc.org/about-bidmc/news/2021/09/researchers-mind-body-program-outperforms-other-chronic-back-pain-treatment (Researchers’ novel mind-body program outperforms other forms of treatment for chronic back pain)

    Dr. Sarno's approach is not about re-opening the trauma or dwelling in it. It is about re-examining your life and re-training your brain to deal with the trauma in a safer way than suppressing your emotional pain and pushing it into your physical body. Most people (me included) experience what Dr. Sarno calls extinction bursts, when pain comes back in unexpected places and even stronger than before, but it eventually goes away. It is, unfortunately, part of the healing process.

    Now, to your question about the meds. My personal take on the pain medications is very pragmatic:

    1. stay away from addictive meds as much as possible
    2. use meds as little as possible
    3. if your pain is so bad that you are unable to do your emotional work, take the meds
    3. be very clear to yourself that meds are a temporary solution to let you continue re-training your brain
    4. keep trying to get out of meds as soon as you can but don't obsess or blame yourself for taking them
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
    WoundedHealer likes this.
  3. Piano Mom

    Piano Mom New Member

    Hi WoundedHealer,

    In my own personal journey I found that attending to my body first helped me deal with the emotions later. By doing meditation, yoga, deep breathing, grounding exercises, etc. my nervous system was brought more and more into a sense of safety. From there I have let my emotions take the lead and began processing difficult emotions as they came up. It seems as though the difficult emotions come up when my brain and body are ready to deal with them.

    I have in the past done it the other way by intentionally pulling up the difficult emotions and facing them head on. That worked for me in a certain stage of my life with some specific pain I was experiencing. But I can now say that approaching it the other way has also been beneficial. It has been helpful for me to follow what my gut is telling me and taking it from there because both approached have been effective for me.
    TG957 likes this.

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