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So who's right - Alan or Dr Sarno?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Eugene, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    I've been revisiting various Dr Sarno stuff and the focus is very much on things like the reservoir of rage, and then there's talk of the id and super id.

    In the last 21 day programme from Alan (which has been excellent) the focus seems to not be on repressed rage at all, but rather on anxiety and fear.

    I find myself gravitating more towards the belief that fear, anxiety and grief are at the heart of my issues, i.e. what I understand Alan to be discussing. Does that mean that Dr Sarno is wrong, or partly wrong, and that all this talk of repressed rage relating to unconscious thoughts is not really at the heart of the problem for many of us?
    Renee likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    They are both right. Sarno was writing before neuroscience really existed as a discipline so he had to favour the best-fit-theory of the day which was a Freudian interpretation. Fast forward through the decades and @Alan Gordon LCSW has the wisdom of Beck's Cognitive theories and neuropsychology to draw upon. While the theories initially seem paradoxical, at a deeper level of understanding they actually dovetail exquisitely. We only get into a doublebind when we engage in either/or thinking about them.

    Here is a post I wrote at the start of the program that might elucidate further:

    http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/day-2-the-nature-of-pain.16429/page-3#post-85845 (New Program - Day 2: The Nature of Pain)
  3. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with Plum. Basically they are not biting each other. It is pretty much a chicken-egg question, it is up to the consumer what he/she likes to eat, in the end they both will give you the nutrients that you need.

    This is how I see it at the moment:
    Sarno: repressing emotions -> feeds RAGE -> brain goes in survival mode, because it senses danger (=fear) that you might act out this rage -> mindbody-havoc
    Alan: repressing emotions (including anger) -> brain goes in survival mode, because it senses danger (=fear) that you might act out these emotions -> mindbody-havoc

    I personally find Alan's approach easier to grasp and apply to yourself, because you can skip the somewhat confusing Freudian explanation of how repressing emotions feeds unconscious rage. I have the feeling that it is also easier for people who are new to TMS to accept, but I could be wrong... whatever works best for you I think.
  4. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

  5. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    I didn't really pick up on this difference, probably because I fill in the blanks with whatever is working for me. I, too, feel that for me it is mostly fear/grief/anxiety that causes my symptoms rather than rage, although as Plum and Gigalos write, they are both facets of the same diamond. It's possible that rage underlies the fear/grief/anxiety, or vice versa.

    When I started reading Sarno, I was transferring references 'back pain' to my own symptoms because I didn't strictly-speaking have what I considered to be usual back pain, since it moved around a lot and mostly seemed to affect my shoulders.

    The general concepts apply regardless of what you are experiencing, what symptoms you are treating, or what emotions you are primarily dealing with.
    Laleah Shoo Shoo and plum like this.
  6. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your anxiety, fear and grief are what you are feeling--affective emotional TMS symptoms. Your rage is the underlying un-felt creator of the observable anxiety, fear and grief that overflows the reservoir of rage into observable felt TMS physical pain or affective/emotional symptoms. You don't feel the underlying rage--it's being repressed, by definition that's why it's repressed rage.
  7. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    I checked out the link @plum and that made so much sense.

    I suppose my sin is that I am looking for black and white solutions rather than just accepting to underlying sense of it all. Maybe it is that kind of behaviour that is holding me back and keeping me locked in to this pesky pain/discomfort.
    Laleah Shoo Shoo, Lily Rose and plum like this.
  8. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Possibly although when talking about long-standing issues it makes complete sense that you would seek firm ground when transitioning from pain or what-have-you through to healing. We all want surety after years of madness :)

    However each person's healing is unique and does require a measure of faith and devotion. At the end of the program Alan suggests choosing a couple of elements to focus on. This is sage advice. I'm favouring somatic tracking and cognitive soothing. They fit hand in glove.

    Love to you x
  9. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    I have the faith when the pain eases for a day or two, but then when it comes rushing back (for no apparent reason) I have to confess that I then get dispondent, doubt things, and look for other things to try.

    The advice to choose and focus on just a couple of things sounds sensible and wise. That is what I need to do.

    Thanks as always @plum.
  10. PainNoMore

    PainNoMore Peer Supporter

    I've found this to be very effective - along with meditating (at least twice a day if possible)
    plum likes this.
  11. Kerrj74

    Kerrj74 Well known member

    I feel the same way, and the analytical engineer in me always wants the perfect "solution". I was just thinking though, it really doesn't matter. If both theories prove to help people and they work, then it doesn't matter why they work or who is right! :)
  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    My feelings exactly. I also believe the more ways of healing, the better. Not only because we have individual paths but because there are so many nuances and stages of recovery which may require a slightly different approach. It does well to have a repertoire and a choice.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  13. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    I think they are all part of the same ! I can see how fear causes anxiety and ar the same time rage : because its something to be angry about. I think sarno and Alan talking about the same thing : emotions (rage, fear etc etc ) causing pain. Alan took it to the next level and brought it into 2017.
    Laleah Shoo Shoo and plum like this.
  14. Lou

    Lou New Member

    One thing about this program I would like to mention is that I really can relate to dealing with the fear of pain. I did a program for MBS a few years ago that was very similar to this one. Unfortunately it did not address the underlying fear of pain and even though it helped me somewhat, I am finding that recognizing and acknowledging the underlying fear has given me the basis I needed to finally understand what is going on with me.

    This is a wonderful program. It's given me the courage and determination to try again. In just the few days I've been on it, my family has noticed and commented on how much I've improved.
    Laleah Shoo Shoo likes this.
  15. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    Yes @Lou I know what you mean about the fear.

    For me, that is something that really resonates with what @Alan Gordon LCSW has been writing about.

    I know when I first developed the pain I was so incredibly anxious about what the cause was. In hindsight I now feel that the pain itself was probably 100% brought on by me fearing what the discomfort was. The reality, was that the little initial discomfort was probably something and nothing, but I became so anxious about what it could be (cancer, a deadly virus, etc) that I created the neural pathway, and I've been feeding that pathway for the last two years. Argh!!!!!!!

    It seems, from what @Alan Gordon LCSW and other people have said, that if we can get rid of the fear then this will reduce the anxiety, which in turn will eventually cause the pain to leave. Sounds simple enough :)
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  16. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member


    Eugene i can totally relate !
    When i got nervepain in my foot 5 years ago all the diagnoses' or lack of then where a huge problem..
    I was wondering 24 hours a day : what is it ' what is the cause ' is it from psysical problems and later on : is it from psychological problems : and so which one ??
    That whole proces took over the original problem : me wondering if i was permantly disabled and fear about my future where just as bad as the pain itself. And the whole medical search : which brought up all sorts of crazy explenations (at the time i believe them all ) made it worse. Its like a snowball rolling. You loose the ability to believe in your body, i was agry at my body, fearfull. Once you ecperienced that its hard work to get some trust back.
    Laleah Shoo Shoo and Lunarlass66 like this.
  17. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    I thought I was the only one, after SO long of having inconsistent, crazy, moving around kind of pain, you begin hating your own body, mistrusting it, fearful of every move... It gets to a point where you can't decide what's worse, the physical pain or the devastating psychological trap it puts you in... And all the things you miss out on because the pain is boss..
    Celayne and Laleah Shoo Shoo like this.
  18. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi lunarlass66

    Are you from 1966 ?
    You mentioned 'al the things you are missing out of' well : i cried my eyes out because of that : life passes you by..
    and my problem now is with new issues : i am even more scared : because now i know how bad it can get !
    And there i start again fearing the worst
    Trying hard not to let fear get 'the best me ' but oh its not easy

  19. Lunarlass66

    Lunarlass66 Well known member

    Yes, I was born in 1966...it IS so hard thinking of all the things I can't do anymore, and I think I'd be ok with it if I could feel more in control of my symptoms rather than the other way around. I have tried EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING including counseling, traditional medicine and the Mindbody approach.. There have been days where I think maybe it CAN get better, but it always always comes back... Currently back to bed rest and ready to give up. I've even read you can have a physical problem and TMS going on at the same time... Couple that with severe anxiety and age related pain and it just seems to be an "attack" from all sides. Too hard to heal from. I find myself jealous of others, even my boyfriend who isn't physically limited and he does everything without me... I feel SO isolated and alone. He tries to help sometimes but he has to live his life too... Just 3 yrs ago, I was FINE... I can't wrap my head around this pain JUST be psychogenic or JUST aging or JUST structural... Aging and structure DON'T happen this fast... Aging takes decades, not 3 yrs.. Without a physical trauma or accident... I did have MAJOR psychological trauma over the past 3 yrs though.. I just can't believe it CAUSED ALL my back and leg issues.
    I'm having a very tough time. I'm sorry for the ramble.. :(
  20. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    Hi lunarlass,
    No problem : just ramble away

    You sound a lot like me, two years ago.
    I am from 1966 too !
    Two years ago i was exact that desperate. Now its better than that but still hard. You mentioned three years ago you where fine ; same here with me but that was 5 years ago.
    I must admit my pain is now mixed up with menopause troubles which makes it hard. I can relate to feeling isolated too its very hard to cope with it all

    Lunarlass66 likes this.

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