Mr Dieter Dvorak, Clinical Psychologist BA(Soc.Sc), MA(hons), DipClinPsych, MNZCP
Whats the relevance to my pain?
Thoughts and emotions as expressions of the pain patient’s dislike of these sensations are to be expected as is a strong desire to be rid of them.
The patient’s awareness is likely to be directed towards these pain sensations.
The naturally occurring aversion to pain is also likely to be accompanied by hormonal changes that create physical tension and other detrimental effects – especially over time – throughout the patient’s body.
Unfortunately, all of these – fairly rigid and automatic - reactions and effects are likely to exacerbate and intensify the unpleasant body sensations thus ushering into a vicious cycle of ever increasing pain and distress.
In many different ways pain can also be expected to affect the patient’s life.
Often the result is that important activities and social interactions are being reduced and significantly less enjoyable than without pain being present. This is bound to create more distress, which – in turn –will feed into the primary pain-distress cycle as well.
When meeting with the Behavioural Pain Specialist, the patient’s situation will be – briefly – explored and the link between pain,naturally occurring distress reaction and the consequences for everyday life will be explained.
The patient will then be informed about the Pain Service’s“Flexible Pain Response Programme”. The aim of this intervention is to provide the patient with instructions and guidance on how to neutralise their otherwise automatic reactions to pain and other adversarial life circumstances.
Daily and ongoing practise of cognitive exercises by the patient will be required in order to facilitate a reorganisation of the patient’s central nervous system (i.e. neuro-plasticity) which – if done successfully – should be expected to break up the “pain-distress-loss of function” cycle.
The “Flexible Pain Response Programme” takes place in the form of an 8 session workshop (typically one 2-hour session a week over eight successive weeks) but in select cases other arrangements can be provided.
The “Flexible Pain Response Programme” does complement all other Pain Service interventions (i.e. Physiotherapy, Sleep and Lifestyle education and Medical consultations and interventions) but is undertaken independently from them.
Where does it take place?
Workshops are held on both the North Shore and Waitakere sites. At times other appointments may also be scheduled at both locations.