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Question About Seeing a TMS Doctor

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by gailnyc, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. LarryB

    LarryB New Member

    Thanks Jan. I think this forum and the success stories are invaluable. It is one thing to read stories in a book, and quite another to interact with people who are actually healing using the techniques developed by Dr. Sarno and others.
    JanAtheCPA and gailnyc like this.
  2. LarryB

    LarryB New Member

    Gail, I had my third visit on Friday. He presented the psychology of TMS. I concluded that I was a good candidate for TMS based as a result of my upbringing and personality. I believe I have had a series of pain syndromes and other seemingly physical problems that were probably of psychosomatic origin. I wonder if the rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder years ago was actually necessary. About two years later I developed a frozen and extremely painful right shoulder, which was "cured" by a steroid injection. Now I'm convinced back surgery is unnecessary for my "severe spinal stenosis."

    I went to a museum today, which I've been avoiding for a couple of years because of my back.

    Luckily, I was able to schedule a fourth appointment with Dr. Rashbaum for tomorrow, Monday.
    gailnyc likes this.
  3. LarryB

    LarryB New Member

    I had my fourth visit yesterday. Dr. Rashbaum gave me a "diploma," actually a study guide that I need to follow for the next two months. Now the hard work begins; writing and meditation. I would love to hear how your next visit goes.
    gailnyc likes this.
  4. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Larry, I will report back! Do you have a follow-up with him in two months?
  5. LarryB

    LarryB New Member

    Gail, I'm supposed to call him in two months if I'm still having significant systems. Then he would probably refer me to a psychologist.
    gailnyc likes this.
  6. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I had my second visit today. It was frustrating. He brought in a little laptop screen and was prepared to do his presentation, but first he told me that we had 25 minutes and if I had any questions or concerns, or wanted a follow-up physical exam, I should ask them, as we could spend those 25 minutes in whatever way I wanted. I did have some questions, which I asked. He seemed annoyed, and nitpicked on the phrasing of one of my questions, and couldn't give me a straight answer (instead, he answered with a long discussion of using the word "possible" instead of the word "probable"). I actually got a better answer here on the forum when I asked the same questions (about the build-up of physical stress in the body). I also mentioned that I'd like a TMS tender spot exam, which I've read about in the books but which he did not give me during my first visit.

    At this point he took the laptop out of the room, telling me we wouldn't have time for the lecture after all. During our whole visit, he never once asked how I was or if there was any improvement since last time. Not a warm and fuzzy doctor.

    I told him that I was asking these questions because I felt my biggest problem right now was fear, and that one of the things that I was concerned about was that although consciously I completely accept the TMS diagnosis, subconsciously I wonder if I still have some doubts. He said that the best medicine for fear was his lecture on the physiology of TMS, which unfortunately we would not have time for today. I scheduled another appointment but the soonest one available was for June 24! I already had one for July 1 so I just kept that one (that way I don't have to take another day off work--school will be out for summer break).

    I guess I am learning through all this that I really have to take care of myself--no one, not even a TMS doctor, is going to do that for me. I have to do the work, keep reading, keep journaling, keep reminding myself that "it's only TMS, there's nothing physically wrong with me," etc. But right now I feel really frustrated.
    LarryB likes this.
  7. LarryB

    LarryB New Member

    I'm sorry to hear about your frustration. I think the key thing is your recognition that we have to do the work ourselves. The lectures are only a prelude. I too felt my visits were a bit rushed. However, the reality there is only so much he can say in a few 25 minute sessions. Most of what he told me is covered in Sarno's books anyway. So there was hardly anything he said to me that I hadn't read already. The difference to me was that I was given a formal diagnosis by a TMS doctor. If he is still seeing you it is because he believes you have TMS and that you can cure yourself.

    In a way I feel a little bit like one of the characters in the Wizard of Oz (the Judy Garland movie). I was being told by the wizard that I already had the brains, heart, courage, etc. all along. What he did is officially acknowledge that the origin of my pain is psychosomatic (and he did check my tender spots at the first visit) and tell me to go off and solve it myself. If I fail he will refer to me a psychologist who presumably will have a better "bedside manner."
  8. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    You are SO RIGHT about this. I need to keep reminding myself of it.

    Ha, good comparison!

    I guess I've read so much about Dr. Sarno's warmth and positivity (I'm confident that he would have looked at my toes and said, "pshaw! TMS!") that I've been disappointed by Dr. Rashbaum's lack of both. But you are absolutely right that it is up to me now to "do the work."

    Thank you so much for your reply--it is really helpful to hear from someone else who's seen him.
  9. LynnCarol1

    LynnCarol1 Peer Supporter

    I am so glad that I have found you all. I have an appointment the end of May with Dr Rashbaum . I am hoping a cancellation opens up sooner. I have been dealing with posterior tibia tendonopathy of my left foot for many months and have gone the usual route of specialists and treatments. Before I allow my podiatrist to add a custom fitted brace to my wardrobe of expensive custom orthotics I am going to visit Dr R. I, like some of you, am afraid he will say it is not TMS! In the meantime I am rereading all my TMS books!:(
  10. Karali

    Karali Newcomer

    Hi - I'm thinking of seeing Rashbaum, and I'd love an update on how things turned out with your work with him.
  11. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    Hi I saw Dr Rauchbaum this past Nov and felt that his examination was very thorough. He confirmed TMS and said that what I did next was my decision. He told me that he runs a group lecture it's two parts (not covered by insurance and costly) what I did was make an appointment for two months later in order for me to work with having a confirmed diagnosis. I canceled the appointment for end Jan and did not do his lecture. I made an appointment for the end of this month as back up as appointments are hard to get. I anticipate cancelling this one as well. I have vastly improved.

    I absolutely recommend seeing him if you need to put your mind at ease regarding a diagnosis. You have nothing to lose!
    Forest likes this.
  12. LarryB

    LarryB New Member

    Sorry for not getting back sooner. It's been nearly three years since I saw Dr. Rashbaum for my "severe spinal stenosis." He immediately diagnosed me with TMS. I would say I have experienced an 80% reduction in pain since then, and don't feel nearly as limited in my ability to move around. I had also been experiencing severe pains in my leg, which he explained could not be related to spinal stenosis. These pains are nearly 100% gone. I'm not contemplating surgery. However, I wish I could reduce the pain further. I still have "good days" and "bad days."
  13. Karali

    Karali Newcomer

    Thanks for the updates! There seem to be a lot of therapists with TMS experience in NYC too - maybe I'll start with one of those, since it's hard to get an appointment with Rauchbaum. I just want a little handholding if I'm really to give up my chiropractor!
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Definitely. When Dr. Sarno was practicing, he built up a group of highly trained psychologists around him at Rusk. I'll go into a bit of detail about them because I think other forum members reading this thread might be interested to know how things really worked at Rusk.

    Basically, I'm going to do a quick braindump here. Hopefully it will be helpful to the New Yorkers here, but also I think it might be helpful to anyone reading the site. I think it helps give a clearer picture of what type of clinician Dr. Sarno was and what his priorities were.

    The psychologists were trained and led by Dr. Arlene Feinblatt who actually wrote the the portion in The Divided Mind about the psychological treatment program in Dr. Sarno's practice. About her, Dr. Sarno wrote, "Arlene Feinblatt, Ph.D. has been my colleague and coworker for over thirty years. By dint of circumstance, she is a pioneer in the development of psychotherapy for psychosomatic disorders. Since no one in the field of psychology or psychiatry has had extensive experience with the musculoskeletal pain of psychosomatic origin, and since as a consequence there is no guiding literature on the subject, and in view of the fact that that this ailment represents a public health problem of major proportions, it was essential to develop appropriate psychotherapy for these patients. Dr. Feinblatt has done that job admirably. She has also trained a large cadre of therapists over the years." Dr. Feinblatt uses a style of psychotherapy called ISTDP, which Howard Schubiner and the Pain Psychology Center therapists also use.

    Dr. Feinblatt trained Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, SEP, and together they trained Eric Sherman, PsyD. The two case histories in the treatment chapter of The Divided Mind are actually patients of Dr. Sherman's. Together Dr. Feinblatt and Dr. Sommer Anderson wrote Pathways to Pain Relief:

    When Alan Gordon flew to NYC to interview the psychologists closest to Dr. Sarno, he has introduced to Dr. Feinblatt, Dr. Sommer Anderson, Dr. Sherman, and a fourth psychologist, Dr. Evans. All four of the psychologists have been tremendously supportive. Having served on the board of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association with Dr. Sommer Anderson and Dr. Sherman for several years, (primarily we organized a series of TMS conferences) I consider the two of them to be friends. Likewise, Dr. Evans has contributed several essays to this site. All four have participated in a series of webinars for therapists that was organized in conjunction with this site.

    Alan once referred to these four psychologists, trained at Rusk by Dr. Sarno, as the four "original Sarno psychologists," and that's how I still think of them. Note that all of them have doctoral level degrees, so we can call them Dr. Feinblatt, etc. In contrast, for example, while Alan is a fully licensed therapist, his degree is only masters-level rather than doctorate level, so it isn't correct to call him Dr. Gordon, as some people occasionally do by mistake (he doesn't have enough education for that - masters degrees typically take 1-3 years while doctorates take more like 3-6). In fact, most therapists today only have masters level degrees. As far as I know, Dr. Sarno only hired doctorate level psychoanalysts to work with him at Rusk.

    Final, the letters "SEP" after Dr. Sommer Anderson's name stands for Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Dr. Evans is also very interested in Somatic Experiencing, and contributed two essays about it to our site:
    Susan1111 likes this.
  15. KevinB

    KevinB Well known member

    Thanks for the info, Forest. I'm just gonna chime in here and dump a bit of a resentment I've been struggling with that is directly related to this topic. Firstly, I'm extremely grateful for this site and what Dr. Sarno began. I live in NYC. I have wanted and tried to see both MDs & therapists here, but essentially none of them accept insurance. This may perhaps be due to the medical cannon not accepting TMS practice, but where my resentment manifests is the prices these people charge, especially the therapists. NYC is expensive, yes. I contacted EVERY therapist from the list that works on TMS and they charge typically $250-$300 an hour. No insurance accepted. Doctors, for instance Dr. Gwozdz out in Jersey, $500.

    I realize people need to make a living. I realize NYC has expensive rent. But these prices seem excessive to me. That is, people suffering from TMS are generally suffering so much, they'll pay whatever it takes to get some relief.... are these therapists cashing in on this desperation? I'd like to know what justifies charging these prices for an hour-long talk. I have a PhD in linguistics and I do private Spanish tutoring, I charge $80 to $100 per hour, I live in NYC. Many of these TMS therapists hold only Master's Degrees, yet they charge $250 an hour? Some even have the nerve to charge these prices for telephone/skype sessions?!?!?! Boo to that.
  16. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    @KevinB I'm with you that prices here in NYC are outrageous! Dr Rauchbaum does indeed accept most all insurance. He is at Rusk and worked directly with Dr Sarno. However it will be a 2 month wait for an appointment.

    Therapists in general can be absurdly priced i dont belueve they need to be a TMS therapist just someone who understands body mind and practices psychotherapy. Check your insurance policy for a therapist covered in your network. As for Skype sessions an hour is an hour of their time regardless.
    I teach Pilates and have a sliding scale but if I give that person a Skype session the price is the same. My teacher charges me the same for Skype as well.
  17. Hopeful_Alexandra

    Hopeful_Alexandra New Member

    RE: Forest's impressive collection of listings above, I am having a memory of one of the practitioners (maybe it was Gordon?) who mentioned some newer therapists that were offering lower rates. I will see if I can find it...
  18. Hopeful_Alexandra

    Hopeful_Alexandra New Member

    Hi again, I did a quick search and couldn't find what I was looking for. I want to say maybe the Pain Psychology Center's interns were offering lower rates than the fully accredited therapist... can anyone else remember or confirm this?
  19. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Kevin,

    I'm sorry to hear your frustration. Those prices do seem high for a master's level clinician, but I'll freely admit that I don't know the economics of therapy and how much insurance costs, etc.

    My bet is that from their perspective, they think of it like this: I only have the psychological energy to work a certain amount per week if I am to do a good job and be fully present. (Perhaps they have a non-TMS therapy job for income security and health insurance, etc.) I also have a huge number of people who want to work with me. Given that I have limited time, I can either work with the patients who will pay me $120 per hour or I can work with the clients who will pay me $250 per hour.

    I imagine that it would be hard to pass up the $250. Everyone likes money, after all. (And this from the dope who gives everything away for free :) ). Economists would say that the therapist would say that treating people for $120 when the market price is $250 is equivalent to writing your client a $130 check every hour. People might start with "low-price idealism," but I imagine that gets hard. I can't speak for them, though, as I haven't talked to any of them about pricing.

    I have talked to Alan Gordon about pricing, though, and if you want one on one work, it only costs $65 to do a session with one of the Pain Psychology Center interns:

    There are, of course, many free and low cost options, but I bet you're aware of them.

    Overall, I think that the solution is to get more properly credentialed TMS Therapists so that competition drives prices down. The problem right now is that only people with TMS tend to become TMS Therapists, so there just aren't enough of them. What we need is more outreach so that more properly trained professionals understand enough about TMS that they can work with TMSers.

    Alan is bringing in a number of new therapists who haven't had TMS themselves by recruiting for the PPC, which is growing astonishly rapidly. Likewise, David Clarke, MD, keeps up a regular schedule of appearances and training seminars, donating all proceeds to charity. In addition, Howard Schubiner and Alan Gordon periodically do trainings for TMS professionals. Finally, Dr. Sommer Anderson and Dr. Sherman, two of the original Sarno psychologists mentioned above, are doing regular trainings as well. I'll paste it in below in another post.
  20. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here's the training I mentioned above. Also, it looks like my and @Hopeful_Alexandra's posts crossed. I think that the low fee TMS therapy link that I posted above is the one that Alexandra is referring to.

    Here's the info on Dr. Sommer Anderson's recent presentation. They tend to post additional events at the following locations:

    Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration (SEPI): New York Chapter
    In Conjunction with the NYU Postdoctoral Program
    In Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

    When My Patient Experiences Somatic Distress: Techniques to Enhance Self-Regulation

    Frances Sommer Anderson, PhD, SEP

    [​IMG]Date: Saturday, February 6, 2016
    Time: 10:30-12:30
    Location: NYU Kimmel Center, Washington Square South, room 914.

    Now that we know that the therapist's and patient’s bodies have always been in the consulting room, how does contemporary research on the interpersonal neurobiology of trauma, pain and embodied communication inform our psychotherapy technique? What interventions are appropriate and effective if my patient arrives in a state of acute somatic distress or suddenly experiences severe bodily distress in the session? How do I understand and respond when my patient focuses primarily on somatic distress despite my attempts to explore and interpret within the usual psychodynamic framework?

    In this experiential didactic workshop, Anderson will demonstrate how she integrates Somatic Experiencing® and Coherence Therapy to treat somatic distress in relational psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Leading the audience in silent guided processes and discussions that follow, she will identify techniques that can be used to help patients self-regulate distress when experiencing acute, episodic and chronic somatic concerns. The impact of early attachment bonds on the capacity to self-regulate distress and the implications for the treatment relationship will be discussed.

    About the Speaker: While an advanced psychoanalytic candidate at the NYU Postdoc, Lewis Aron invited Dr. Anderson to co-edit Relational Perspectives on the Body (1998), a groundbreaking volume bringing the body back into the psychoanalytic consulting room. In Bodies in Treatment: The Unspoken Dimension (2008) Anderson wrote about a 30 year period of being an analysand who was simultaneously experiencing bodywork adjunctively. In 2013, she co-authored Pathways to Pain Relief, with Eric Sherman, Psy.D. Anderson was certified in 2011 as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. She was invited to give the Keynote Address in April 2015 at the 22nd John Bowlby Memorial Conference. Her lecture, “It Wasn’t Safe to Feel Angry”: Disrupted Early Attachment Bonds and the Development of Chronic Pain, will be published in the conference monograph. Anderson is on the teaching and consulting Faculty of the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis Trauma Program.

    Pre-registration fee is $20. Student rate $15.
    Same day registration is $25. Same day student rate $20. Please bring exact amount in cash, as change will be limited.

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