Endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain are most certainly not “all in your mind” but, like any debilitating chronic illness, have the potential to affect your emotional and psychological well-being. Chronic pelvic pain can weigh heavily on your personal, social and sexual relationships, sometimes resulting in the erosion or breakdown of vital relationships and in turn social isolation and depression. Inability to pursue your education or sustain a job along with the financial repercussions can place you under considerable stress. Simply stated, living with chronic pain can take a tremendous toll on both your mind and your body, and optimal treatment should extend beyond your physical health and include your mental well-being and the mind-body connection.
Pain psychology and counseling offers you the opportunity to explore and address the psychological impact of living with chronic pain.
- Working through and acknowledging the negative emotions and the effect your illness has had on all aspects of your life, including on your perceptions of others and of yourself
- Building realistic expectations and resilience in the face of adversity, improving self-esteem and a sense of empowerment in spite of your illness
- Adjusting to improvements in your health following successful treatment
Most patients will experience dramatic improvement in symptoms following specialist treatment. Even when pain is resolved and you are able to achieve a higher level of functioning and return to normal activities, you may find that previous cognitive strategies and defense mechanisms employed in dealing with chronic pain stall your progress. One example is the fear of pain (pain catastrophizing) and the effect this can have on your ability to make plans and go about your daily life. It may take the help of a professional to guide you back into the activities that you previously avoided or were unable to participate in.
At Vital Health we work closely with pain psychologist, Dr. Douglas Drucker, PhD, who provides treatment for the psychological impact of chronic pelvic pain.