Therapy for Chronic Pain

Living with chronic pain can be an intensely personal and distressing experience. It often feels like being trapped in a never-ending battle with your own body. These persistent aches and pains can be highly disturbing and provoke overwhelming discomfort. 

Interestingly, many people don't immediately link chronic pain and trauma, but there is often a connection. Trauma, whether emotional or physical, can lead to the development of chronic pain conditions. When the body's stress response system is constantly activated due to trauma, it can lead to muscle tension, inflammation, and heightened pain sensitivity, all contributing to chronic pain. However, it's important to know that there is hope, and effective treatments like physical therapy, pain management techniques, and mindfulness can provide relief and help individuals regain control over their lives.

Manage Pain and Live Freely Through Integrative Therapy

Overcome chronic pain by addressing underlying anxiety and trauma through CBT, hypnotherapy and EMDR.

Laura Faiwiszewski, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist
Chronic, neurogenic & psychogenic pain
EMDR, Hypnotherapy & CBT
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Irada Yunusova, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist
Chronic pain
ACT, mindfulness, & EMDR
Read more
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How We Work with Chronic Pain

Our therapists are Clinical Psychologists who specialize in effectively treating chronic pain, particularly when it is intertwined with trauma. They employ a comprehensive approach that combines various evidence-based techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and notably, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for cases where pain is linked with traumatic experiences. Their expertise extends to addressing the multifaceted nature of chronic pain, from the physical discomfort to the deep-seated psychological impacts of living with it, achieving highly successful outcomes.

The objective of therapy transcends mere pain management; it is about guiding clients to develop robust coping strategies and enhancing their overall quality of life. A distinguishing aspect of their approach is the profound understanding of how psychological factors, particularly trauma, contribute to chronic pain. With doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology and specialized training in integrating EMDR for pain related to trauma, they adeptly use this technique to process and alleviate the underlying traumas that often exacerbate chronic pain. By skillfully combining EMDR with CBT, ACT, and MBSR, they enable individuals to navigate and manage their life more effectively, despite the challenges of chronic pain. This holistic and nuanced approach acknowledges that chronic pain, especially when linked with trauma, stems from complex psychological issues and aims to foster lasting change and emotional relief.

"Chronic pain is more than a physical struggle; it's a relentless test of resilience and courage. Each day, those who endure it embody an extraordinary spirit, facing not just physical discomfort, but also the deep emotional and psychological challenges it brings."

Our Specialists in Integrative Therapy for Chronic Pain

Dr. Laura Faiwiszewski

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Faiwiszewski, distinguished for her prestigious position at the Northport VA Medical Center in New York, brings a wealth of experience and expertise in treating chronic, neurogenic, and psychogenic pain. Her distinguished career includes extensive rotations in neuropsychological evaluation, community mental health, substance abuse treatment, and notably, in Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMH-I). Her work in health promotion and disease prevention (HPDP), along with her significant experience in treating acute and chronic PTSD, positions her uniquely in the field of pain management.

In her approach, Dr. Faiwiszewski combines Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Hypnotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Her application of EMDR is especially effective in addressing pain related to trauma, while hypnotherapy aids in altering the subconscious perceptions of pain. The use of CBT helps patients in reshaping negative thought patterns and developing effective coping strategies. Dr. Faiwiszewski's comprehensive treatment extends beyond chronic pain management to include insomnia, weight management, overall wellness, and general mental health. Her multifaceted and integrative approach, honed through her diverse experiences at the Northport VA Medical Center, offers a deeply empathetic, patient-centered pathway to managing pain and enhancing the quality of life for her patients.

Read More about Dr. Faiwiszewski

Dr. Irada Yunusova

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Yunusova's approach to treating chronic pain, including back pain and pelvic pain, is deeply informed by her rich experience, particularly during her past tenure as a Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center's Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Department (AOPD), as well as at Montefiore Medical Center, where she provided strengths-based, trauma-informed, integrative care. She integrates a variety of evidence-based therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness techniques, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This multifaceted approach acknowledges the complex interplay of physical, emotional, and psychological factors in chronic pain.

Dr. Yunusova's holistic treatment methodology, characterized by deep empathy and a profound understanding of trauma's impact on pain, was always tailored to the unique needs of each patient. Her commitment to combining various evidence-based therapies ensured comprehensive care, guiding patients towards not only effective pain management but also improved mental health and overall well-being.

Read More about Dr. Yunusova

How EMDR Alleviates OCD & Intrusive Thoughts

Chronic pain often intertwines with distressing life events, akin to trauma, and can manifest as persistent physical discomfort. This discomfort frequently connects to negative neural networks, involving related emotions and thoughts. This intricate link between chronic pain and distressing experiences highlights the potential of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in its treatment. EMDR therapy, through its unique process of bilateral stimulation (usually eye movements), targets the distressing aspects of chronic pain. This includes triggers, past traumatic experiences, and even anticipated future scenarios that might intensify the pain. By engaging the brain's information processing systems, EMDR helps to reprocess these painful memories, aiming to reduce their emotional impact and consequently alleviate chronic pain. Through this reprocessing, EMDR strives to lessen the severity of chronic pain and offer individuals a path towards relief and improved quality of life.

FAQ About Therapy for Chronic Pain

Can therapy actually reduce physical pain, or does it just help with coping?

While therapy primarily focuses on coping mechanisms and psychological aspects, many patients report a reduction in physical pain symptoms as well. This reduction can be due to the improvement in emotional well-being, stress reduction, and enhanced coping strategies that indirectly influence pain perception.

What is the role of EMDR in treating chronic pain?

EMDR is used particularly when chronic pain is related to past trauma or distressing life events. It involves processing these traumatic memories to reduce their emotional impact, which can in turn reduce the perception and intensity of pain.

What types of therapies are available for chronic pain?

Common therapies for chronic pain include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based stress reduction, physical therapy, and in some cases, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These therapies focus on managing pain, improving quality of life, and addressing any underlying psychological factors.

What can I expect in my first therapy session for chronic pain?

The first session typically involves an assessment of your pain history, its impact on your life, and any related psychological factors. The therapist will discuss treatment options and set goals for therapy.

Ready To Reduce Chronic Pain and Live Freely?

Begin a journey where self-compassion and relief from chronic pain intersect. Allow us to guide you toward a more peaceful state of being, fostering a harmonious relationship between your mind and body.