Emotional Awareness & Expression Therapy for Chronic Pain

The definition of pain is: “A sensory and emotional experience…” as defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Emotions are a part of pain. Not many healthcare practitioners address the emotional side of pain. It is very real and the more chronic the pain typically the more emotional it is. Acute/subacute pain typically heals in a normal linear fashion unless there is severe structural damage that needs surgery etc. But even that heals in time. What we know from the research is that the emotional centers of the brain are implicated in the development of chronic pain.

Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET) has recently been brought into the field as one way to address the emotional side of chronic pain. I have learned from Dr. Schubiner how to use EAET as a treatment tool with my patients. The studies show as a stand alone technique EAET is more effective than Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for chronic pain reduction. I use EAET in conjunction with CBT principles and mindfulness to maximize changes we can make in the brain when dealing with persistent pain. We know the brain and nervous system are at the heart of a lot of chronic pain so we need focus our attention there vs. just the physical body in order to get better results.