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Case Studies - Page 8

Healing the connections between trauma and pain (skill eight) occurred throughout our time together. Amy used the pendulation method developed by Peter Levine as part of his Somatic Experiencing model, learning to focus her attention back and forth between places of expansion and comfort in her body and places of constriction and pain to release some of the past trauma of the surgeries and an earlier car accident. We used EMDR successfully to resolve some of the early attachment issues related to her parents—which freed her to develop healthier present-day relationships with both of her parents, her daughter, and husband.

Love, the ninth skill area, flowed from these positive changes in all of her relationships. She was surprised to discover that she could develop authentic love for herself, especially for the little girl-self who'd felt so neglected, abused, and afraid. As she left my office after one of our last sessions, she told me that she felt softer in every way and that, through our work, her heart had opened.

The ability to build on success (skill ten) is with Amy still. I received a note from her several months ago telling me that she's in better physical shape than ever before, and that she's now in training to teach classes in intuitive eating and mindfulness. She's off nearly all her pain medications, and her pelvic pain is almost nonexistent. When there's unexpected and intense stress, she's been able to reapply the self-treatment strategies she learned to reverse the trajectory of the pain in a day or two. "I have the confidence now that I've always wanted. When something gets me down or causes me to hurt, I know I can take care of it."

Success in reversing chronic pain may not be as complete as this for all patients. Since current research clearly shows that no single method can address the complexity of a chronic pain condition, a multimodal approach like the one described here, based on simple, portable skills that build on each other to promote permanent healing, may prove the most effective and efficient way to remove the hurt for those who suffer.

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