Therapy for Chronic Pain and Illness
Do you suffer from chronic pain or lifelong illness? Is your disease a source of dis-ease? Has your body “taken over,” keeping you from living your best life?
Therapy might be the answer to what you need.
My name is Michelle Webber, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and I offer therapy for chronic pain and illness. Additionally, I specialize in working with people with HIV and AIDS, with over 25 years of experience in that field. Chronic health conditions can keep us from living, playing, and loving the way we want, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Therapy offers a chance for you to live a better, more meaningful life, and I want to help make that happen.
Below you will find some common questions and answers about therapy for chronic pain and other health conditions. If you want to learn more please contact me at (323) 301-0083.
“Michelle came into my world at the exact moment I needed her… “
Do I need therapy for chronic pain or illness?
We typically think of chronic pain and illnesses as being physical conditions, which is why we seek medical treatment. Of course, surgery, medication, and physical therapies can all help address many of the physiological issues. However, we often neglect the emotional and relational issues that stem from the physical condition.
Physical symptoms are easy to recognize. Aches and pain, loss of energy, nausea, inflammation, and more. We do our best to manage these things by taking care of our bodies and following the doctor’s orders. However, the physical symptoms often hold us back and keep us from doing what we love. You turn down social invitations. You opt out of going for a walk with the kids. You stay at home, in bed, or on the couch, just trying to survive.
With these sacrifices come emotional problems. The constant pain and struggle to function keep us on-edge, irritable, and overwhelmed. Medical bills pile up. We begin to feel lonely and sad. Issues such as depression and anxiety begin to crop up. To add to this, research indicates that pain and other physical symptoms get worse when we are depressed, stressed, or anxious.
Soon, the relational issues begin to emerge. We might try to hide our illness from others, perhaps out of shame, stigma, or fear of being seen as “fragile.” The more we isolate and withdraw, the fewer resources we have for support and love. We become helpless, hopeless, and stuck.
The combination of physical, emotional, and relational difficulties creates a vicious, self-defeating cycle. If you or a loved one is struggling with chronic pain or illness, therapy can be beneficial.
How can therapy help?
First, therapy offers a source of emotional support and care. You can have a chance to vent, share your experiences, and feel understood. As you process your thoughts and feelings, learn to regulate your emotions, and begin to destress, the physical symptoms of pain and illness become more manageable.
Second, therapy can help you cope with pain medication. Often, we use pain medication to numb the physical as well as the emotional symptoms, which means we still need it, even after the physical pain fades. I can help you make progress towards independence and freedom from it.
And third, therapists like me can help you learn to identify your values and move towards what matters most to you. Instead of spending all your energy trying to make the pain less, we work to help you live more. You can talk through strategies for being active, learn to recognize and set healthy limits and find ways of reconnecting with loved ones.
What does therapy look like with Michelle?
All of my sessions are completely confidential and held online or in the privacy of my office here in Los Angeles, California.
I draw from over three decades of therapy experience to help you identify ways to navigate seemingly insurmountable health challenges. You will have the chance to speak freely about yourself, share your life story, and build a therapeutic relationship. We then work together to help you:
- Regulate reactions to pain
- Decrease worry and fear about medical issues
- Add new coping skills to your toolkit
- Sleep more effectively
- Enhance feelings of independence and self-worth
- Navigate family and relational stressors
- Be mindful, reflective, and curious about yourself
Upon request, I also see my clients with HIV and AIDS each week in the comfort of their homes to ensure that they are up to date on their medications and doctor appointments, as well as to help them deal with any emotional issues that may arise. Therapy is essential to healing, as well as living in a healthy manner while managing chronic illness or pain.
You don’t have to let your medical issues rule over your life – there is hope. I believe that you have the capacity to get better, become stronger, and have a productive, healthy life.
Together, we can make that happen.
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