Do you have chronic pain or a chronic illness? Does it leave you feeling burned out? Tired of the ups and downs? If so, well then it is time to take your life back!
Health has both physical and psychological parts (such as stress, emotions, and expectations). Providers have known this fact for centuries; that is why the gold standard for medical research is clinical trials. In clinical trials, treatment is compared against placeboes to see if they are more effective than non-specific psychological factors. Pain is defined as a sensory and emotional experience (IASP, 2021) echoing it as both physical and psychological.
Psychological treatments in the context of a chronic illness target your beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that worsen your symptoms and lead to suffering. Treating the psychological parts of your pain and illness can have as large of an effect as treatment, regardless if your symptoms are "medically explained" or not. This includes chronic pain, headaches, diabetes, neurological disorders, and many more. Health and Human Services suggests providing more specialized psychological treatment options and education to improve pain in the US.
Leaving psychological aspects unaddressed can lead to ineffective treatment, ongoing pain, and prolonged suffering. That is why many risky treatments like surgeries often require an evaluation by a psychologist before proceeding. It is also part of the reason that medical treatments can be ineffective. Psychological aspects can be optimized through specialized treatment, leading to better results.
Not convinced? I would be happy to chat with you! Feel free to contact me or book a free consult!
Chronic pain is affected by processes that happen in your brain. Often, this is misunderstood, as the pain is still great and not imagined. This means that the brain has become sensitized to pain. The brain can increase (or decrease) the volume of your pain depending on what you do and how you respond. Pain scientists call this modulation. Through work with a pain psychologist, you learn how to modulate your pain and turn the volume level down.
Our bodies do not distinguish between emotional and physical pain; that is a creation of our culture and language. Although we may feel pain in part of our body, it occurs in our brain. In the brain, physical and emotional pain are processed in the same way. We can also experience social pain, which is why we wince when we see a gruesome injury in sports.
Many people with chronic pain also have diagnosable emotional difficulties like depression, anxiety, or trauma. Again, this is because our bodies do not differentiate between physical and psychological. It is also why many suffer from chronic pain. To improve their symptom and pain management and reduce their suffering, they likely will require psychological treatment and additional support.
Demand for psychological support is continuously growing. The supply of knowledgeable experts in psychology and health has not kept pace, making it difficult to find support and treatment. I created this practice to provide such a resource to people in New York State. If you live outside of New York, you can still contact me and I will try to find someone who can help!
In my practice, I strive to provide high-quality and evidence-based care to people experiencing many different health-related difficulties. Some of these include common types of pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Functional Neurologic Disorder (FND), health anxiety, and diabetes. I strive to support you in reaching your goals, becoming healthier, and getting your life on track. As many patients already have, you can overcome your suffering.
Want to learn more about why suffering is a result of the psychology of pain? Click here!
One important aspect of our work together involves getting the parts of you that you have lost back. Do you want to get your life going again? If so, we should chat!
Many physicians, hospitals, and medical organizations support treatment by a psychologist as part of your team for many medical illnesses. In such cases, it is helpful for your psychologist to have your permission to work with you and your other providers to determine how best to help and support you. Your input is always valued because you know yourself best!
As part of your team, a psychologist can help you address the underlying emotional and psychological aspects that worsen your symptoms and suffering. Unlike many other treatments that focus on short-term improvement, these treatments work to address long-term changes in your mind and body. Such changes lead to long-standing changes in your nervous system which improve your symptoms (e.g., experiences of pain, nausea, dizziness, etc.) and life.
We can also help you adjust your life to help you better live with your illness, and cope with symptom flares. We could maximize the effects of your other treatments by addressing psychological aspects that interfere with medical treatment. Through a focused and research-based approach, I have helped many people get their lives back from their illnesses and back to doing the things they love!
Lisa Feldmann Barrett, Ph.D.
Want to learn more or figure out if I can help? To help people get information before engaging in treatment, I offer free new patient consults for those located in New York State. Although I am centered in Syracuse, NY, I serve people all over NYS.
During this consult, I get about your concerns so that we can determine if I am the best person to help and support you. If there is someone I feel is better suited, I will try to help you get set up with them. I will also answer your questions, provide you with information about my practice, and allow you to better understand my approach and working with me. It allows you to have a free sample before deciding that this treatment is right for you.