Survey Response: Andy Bayliss
This survey was last updated in May 2014.
BS Geography/Biology, Elementary Teacher Endorsement
Number of years in practice helping people with TMS: One
Number of clients you have seen who have had TMS: One
What is your association to the TMS community? I used the TMS Wiki for support as I healed.
Have you ever suffered from TMS? If so, how did you recover? (optional)
I am a TMS sufferer with severe foot pain, and looking further back in time, I realize the debilitating “whiplash” I had about 10 years ago was also TMS.
I read all of Dr. Sarno's books, and started using his instructions, particularly from the Divided Mind. I used the 12 Daily Reminders; daily audio book listening; daily reading; daily progressive activity. The material fit for me, since I had been doing psychological work for more than a decade. I knew I had lots of inner pressures, but I needed Dr. Sarno's explanation, and education to begin to believe that these inner tensions could cause so much pain. I also engaged with Monte Hueftle's program; some parts seemed to resonate for me, mostly around how resolute one must be. Steve O's book also helped me understand how steadfast one must be!
Early into my investigations, I had a very supportive email exchange with Dr. Sopher, who confirmed the TMS diagnosis.
What insurance plans do you currently accept? None
Do you have a sliding scale of payment for people who are not covered by insurance?
Yes. I would like to offer much of my work gratis, or by gift only.
Are you able to conduct sessions over the phone and/or via internet video services (i.e. Skype or FaceTime)? Yes
What have you done to educate yourself about TMS, and what plans do you have for further education about TMS?
I have read many of the popular books and home programs by TMS authors. I read many of the contributors on the TMS Wiki. I am working toward training in Somatic Experiencing, which may start this fall.
What mindbody books do you recommend to your patients? In particular do you recommend Dr. Sarno's books?
I recommend those interested in the TMS approach to pain relief read “any of Dr. Sarno's books,” as their first approach. The Divided Mind I like especially, because it is the most in depth and convincing for me. For those engaging in their treatment, I highly recommend Dr. Sarno's audio book version of Healing Back Pain, because Dr. Sarno's voice is convincing. I recommend Dr. Schubiner's Unlearn Your Pain, as one option for an independent study program.
As we are going to post your answers on the TMS Wiki, feel free to write some text to introduce yourself.
I suffered TMS debilitating foot pain, and sought out the help of 14 physicians, and any number of alternative healers. I tried three sets of orthotics with three different doctors. I endured excruciating blood platelet injections. I took mind-numbing prescription “nerve medicine.” I traveled out of state at least five times to find specialists. I had eight physicians ready at one time or another to “cut something, anything” which meant either the fascia in my foot or nerve release (tarsal tunnel) surgery. I was on crutches most of the time. Even taking the chance to meet someone for tea seemed like too much. I had gone from a ski mountaineer to disabled. My life spiraled into anxiety and fear.
Then I found Dr. Sarno's approach. This brought me my life back as I cured from pain in a matter of a few short months. I understood his approach deeply, because I have an acute sense of my own inner tensions moment-to-moment, and the psycho-dynamics that cause these tensions. So I applied what I already knew about myself to my new understanding of Dr. Sarno's theory. This affected a quick 'cure.'
Now I offer Life Coaching support to other TMS suffers, helping them see more about their moment-to-moment tensions, and offering training in self-compassion, disengaging from the Inner Critic, allowing feelings to arise in the body, and gentle encouragement in following through with home TMS programs. I am a Perfectionist and a Goodist, and I understand the inner tensions these self identities cause.
Questions Specific to Coaches
What sort of services do you provide?
I offer TMS sufferers support as they do their own home program (using the TMS Wiki Structured Educational Program; published workbooks; or using Dr. Sarno's instructions from one of his books). One way I do this is through basic Life Coaching which means to help clients follow through with daily education and activities, and I do this as someone who knows the anxiety, fear, and hopelessness that TMS can cause.
The second area of help is to train clients to inquire into their psycho-dynamics moment-to-moment. I call this 'awareness training.” It might mean learning more about their Inner Critic, how it operates in them. It might mean seeing how we reject ourselves, or pressure ourselves to be someone that we think we should be. I have almost two decades of psychological/spiritual training, so that I can quite easily help clients to see deeper into their tensions and educate themselves. When we see more, the antidote is self-compassion, and I help clients develop this. Self-compassion may the most important element to develop awareness of inner tension. We educate our body-mind to not need symptoms when we see where we are, and refrain from rejecting ourselves for being there. That means experiencing our anger, hurt, sadness, or self neglect. Self-compassion helps us stay in awareness.
I am a Life Coach, and therefore do not engage in psychotherapy. I reserve the right to discontinue Coaching permanently or temporarily if life issues arise that may need therapeutic intervention.
Please walk us through one or more examples of what happens during a session, and how that changes over the course of working with a client.
We start with some silence and settling in, being aware of feelings in the body. This body awareness is a basic training I give, and it helps the client know (better than the mind) what they are experiencing right now. I then help the client describe exactly where they are in the moment, and help them become aware of Inner Critic or other forms of rejection, that tend to interfere with staying in the moment.
I might, with a new client, introduce “empathic statements,” which help us stay with ourselves right where we are, and are a gentle way of dealing with the Inner Critic. We talk to ourselves with empathy about what we are experiencing, not suggesting any change need occur in our feelings. This is a deep practice, and I encourage clients to master this over time. It begins to open the inner doorways to allow feelings to be seen. This is part of the “think psychological” education program, because it gives us content to work with when we ask ourselves “If I wasn't feeling this pain, what would I be feeling?” We have some cognition of common inner tensions that we were not previously aware of, and we are also training in deep listening to our feelings. We are telling parts of ourselves that feelings are OK, and preferable over the symptoms.
Inner Critic work is important, particularly to contemplate and eventually feel the feelings of the Inner Child, who is enraged or hurt by this inner relationship. Learning to disengage from the Inner Critic, with strength, allows this relationship to be seen, rather than unconsciously acted out on oneself. Dr. Sarno's approach means recognizing, even if intellectually, the feelings that “aren't OK to exist” in the Inner Child.
In most sessions, the actual progress of home programs is tracked, and reflected on. What is easy? What is falling apart? Are there doubts? In this inquiry, feelings and ideals arise, giving the client more material to learn to be with doubts, pain, fear, and celebration! I want the client to be as clear as possible about his/her engagement with the home program so that obstacles can be worked through mindfully. And with self-compassion.