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Case Studies - Page 10

Developing this sort of radical acceptance of pain sensations can dovetail nicely with the other aspects of treatment that Phillips outlines—particularly the exploration of past trauma. Whether stemming from medical interventions or unrelated traumatic events, integrating these experiences and the emotions surrounding them is an important step in breaking free from a chronic pain syndrome. Otherwise, unconscious fear that these thoughts and feelings will erupt into consciousness causes increased muscle tension and increased pain. Mindfulness practices can be used to facilitate this integration, while loving-kindness (metta) practices can be introduced to help clients feel safe and supported as they embark on this sometimes difficult work.

Maggie Phillips, Ph.D., is the author of Reversing Chronic Pain and the creator of a multimedia online program for professionals and those with pain conditions, offered at www.reversingchronicpain.com. Her previous books are Healing the Divided Self and Finding the Energy to Heal. She's a fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Contact: mphillips@lmi.net.

Ronald Siegel, Psy.D., is an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and serves on the board of directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He's the author of the step-by-step self-treatment guide Back Sense: A Revolutionary Approach to Halting the Cycle of Chronic Back Pain; coeditor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy; and author of a forthcoming book for general readers, The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems. Contact: rsiegel@hms.harvard.edu.

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