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TMS Doctor - did that work for you?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by harryhaller, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. harryhaller

    harryhaller New Member

    Does seeing a TMS doctor really help?

    I have been at this for a year now. There has been improvement but at times I wonder if my actual pain levels have improved at all. My belief is not 100% and despite reading a number of Sarno and other TMS books I cannot get there. Consciously I accept it, but with the slightest thing I begin thinking about physical causes. Although I have had some times in the last year when I forgot about pain entirely (or almost entirely) for a week or so, in the last month it has been bothering me every day, sometimes all day. For the last six months or so I have seen no improvement, with periods of time where the pain recedes and then weeks when it comes back.

    There is a TMS doctor within a few hours of me, who seems quite good. He offers a very intense treatment of 90 minute appointment with followup lectures. He studied with Sarno and was treated by him also. However, this is also very expensive, and I don't want to pay so much unless I really think it will succeed.

    I realize that people who have been completely cured probably aren't normally hanging out here unless they are working as therapists, but does anyone have the experience where visiting a TMS doctor was what they needed to finally reach total confidence in the diagnosis and get rid of the pain?
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Harry - I changed your thread title a bit to add the actual question - maybe you'll get more responses.

    I'm not a therapist, but I do love supporting others and sharing experiences. You can read my profile story if you like - you'll see that I never saw a TMS specialist. Reading The Divided Mind convinced me about TMS, but I had to do the emotional work in order to recover. And by recover, I don't mean 100%, 100% of the time. I don't think that's realistic, at least not for the people who end up here.

    There are a lot of people who claim that they were cured by reading one of Dr. Sarno's books. But what I see, over and over, is how many of those people are hit with symptoms again, some years down the road - and that's when they show up here - this time to really "do the work" as I say.

    TMS is not a disease that can be cured. It's a primitive brain mechanism that exists in all humans. Perhaps non-humans as well, who knows? It's a survival technique, which allows our brains to repress dangerous distracting emotions, and replace them with a physical distraction that is designed to keep us on our toes, thinking negatively, and staying alert for danger, instead of wallowing in emotional distress.

    This worked great in primitive times when life was short, our needs were few, and the dangers were also few, and they were very easy to identify. Compare that to today's world, where we live way too long, we know up front that we're probably going to live way too long, and the dangers that our brains think we are facing are not only too many to count, they are also really vague. Things like traffic and deadlines and bosses and co-workers and finances and good lord, worrying about the future... We're under constant stress from these things, but our primitive brains can't tell the difference between someone who cuts us off in traffic, vs. a sabre-tooth tiger. Our mind-bodies are in a constant low-level fight-or-flight mode. Add to this the fact that our brains start repressing all kinds of emotional stresses (guilt, shame, isolation, sibling rivalry, you name it) during childhood - even those of us who did not experience trauma, neglect, or abuse - and that's how we end up with chronic pain as adults.

    Anyway, by "recovery", I'm referring to the fact that I was in danger of becoming housebound in 2011, and I totally got my life back after discovering Dr. Sarno and doing the emotional work offered by the SEP and some other resources. On average, I would say I'm typically at 90%. Considering that I've had anxiety since I was a child and I'm a major stress-hog, this is success. Many of my worst symptoms, some lasting many years, have rarely, if ever, bothered me again - others still bother me, but they no longer worry me. I could do better if I truly had a regular practice of mindfulness (meditation or whatever) but I am very resistant. Sometimes I do sit down and make some lists and do some writing about the things on my list (these are techniques that I learned from the SEP). Now we have Alan Gordon's Pain Recovery Program, so generously donated by him to our forum earlier this year, and I would love to do that. It's totally free, so there's no excuse!

    I discovered a couple of essential things when doing the SEP in 2011. One was that I had to be completely 100% honest when I was writing things down. I heard my brain trying to convince me to NOT write certain things down. It would try to convince me that they weren't important - or that they were too embarrassing! None of them were earth-shattering, but by writing them down and later examining them in detail, I discovered some interesting things about how I relate as an adult, about why I fear certain things, and where my anxiety came from.

    Everyone's experience is different, because we are all unique individuals. But after six years doing this, I'm convinced that anyone who has a setback after an initial success, needs to do more emotional work, which is also what Dr. Sarno consistently says. TMS knowledge alone is the lifelong tool, but for many of us, it just isn't enough.

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