Educational Program Day 12

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Remember that as you uncover more and more repressed emotions, issues may arise that you might find to be difficult or unpleasant. Take a moment to investigate how you are doing emotionally since starting this program. How have you been handling uncovering emotions and issues? Have you had any negative feelings about yourself or developed low self-worth? If so, perhaps it would be helpful for you to visit with a therapist who could help you handle your repressed emotions as they arise during your treatment.

Educational Activity: Understanding what causes TMS symptoms is vital to recovering from the chronic symptoms that have controlled and dominated the lives of the people with TMS. It is also important to understand the role our thoughts play in the pain cycle. The way we think and feel about our symptoms can either exacerbate or ameliorate our chronic symptoms. Today's educational activity gives a few suggestions on how a person can adjust their thinking in a way that will help them become symptom-free. The article is called Three Strategies for Thinking Clean and is part of a series of updates by TMS coach Monte Hueftle. To read the article, click on this link.

Expressing your feelings about events, either in your past or current situation, can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms. However there is one more area that needs to be addressed in order to fully defeat TMS: personality traits. Certain personality traits are especially common among TMS/PPD patients. An explanation of these traits can be found on the TMS Personality Traits wiki page. It is paramount to understand how our personality traits affect our lives and create physical symptoms. Journaling about your personality will help you in overcoming TMS. In doing this, focus on how a specific personality trait affects your life. How does being a perfectionist affect what you do? If you are a goodist, do you routinely volunteer for tasks that you really don't want to do? Think about how your personality leads to you doing things that you do not really want to do. Today you will be doing a free write on your personality. Take one trait from your personality list and begin to write about how it affects your life.

I am a _________________________________________, and it affects me because

Work the List and the Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS): If you have not completely filled out your TMS lists yet, spend 3-4 minutes adding to them. Remember, do not worry if they are directly related to your pain, and do not try to solve them right now. Simply think of things that might be causing your symptoms and write them down. You will have time to journal about them later in the program.

One tool that can help you develop your Current Events and Stresses list is the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.

The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is a list of 43 items that can help predict whether recent stressful events in a person’s life may cause them to develop physical symptoms. The scale includes a variety of items, from small disappointments to major life changes. Interestingly, the scale uses a broad definition of stress, looking at all change as opposed to only negative life events. The scale was originally developed in 1967, and, more recently, has been used by Dr. John Sarno for TMS/PPD psycho-educational treatment.

Dr. Sherman is the co-author of “Pathways to Pain Relief,” and has provided psychotherapy to Dr. Sarno’s patients for 29 years. Dr. Sherman has donated an introduction to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, specifically focusing on how the scale can be useful for TMS treatments. He discusses both the benefits of the scale and the potential danger in overemphasizing the scale’s results:

“The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale should never be misused to establish, confirm, or refute the diagnosis of a mindbody disorder. However, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale is a valuable tool to examine and understand an individual’s history and psychodynamics with respect to the development of TMS/PPD.”

If you are interested in your stress score on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, the scale is available below. The number of "Life Change Units" that apply to events in the past year of an individual's life are added and the final score will give a rough estimate of how stress affects health. This scale is designed specifically for adults. For a different scale, click here.

Life event Life change units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in frequency of arguments 35
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Begin or end school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Minor mortgage or loan 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family reunions 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas 12
Minor violation of law 11

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

Score <150: Only have a slight risk of illness.

Question To Ponder
What is one of your best memories from your childhood?

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