Mind-body Health and Mindfulness Counseling
Mind-Body Counseling – Pain Management – Mindfulness
It has been well established in medical literature that the mind is the body. More and more medical practices are seeing the benefits of paying more attention to treating the mind when dealing with physical symptoms or pain.
Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), sometimes called Self-Leadership, is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy that teaches you to regulate your mind/body’s emotional states, especially ones that you don’t usually notice. It is an efficient way to deal with common emotional or behavioral issues like anxiety, mood regulation, or addictions, and can make dramatic changes to physical issues like pain.
Harvard Study of IFS Therapy for Pain Managment
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (affiliated with Harvard University) recently completed a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who used IFS therapy. The study evaluated the patients’ blood levels and other physical indicators of the symptoms of RA to see if changes in their mind and emotional intelligence would create changes in their level of physical pain. The nine-month study ended in December 2010. While results are not yet published, word through the grapevine is of significant positive results.
The video below is of study participants who talk about the effects of their use of IFS techniques to change the level of pain in their bodies.
Mindfulness Counseling: A hybrid mind-body psychotherapy
Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy combines a mindfulness approach with psychological theory in a user-friendly package. It is not just mediation or traditional mindfulness practice and is not just talking about your feelings like many types of therapy. IFS is a hybrid approach that appeals to many personality types. If you are familiar with sitting and meditating, you will be right at home and will develop a more systematic approach to your mediation called Self-Leadership. If your not the “bang a gong” type of person and don’t have experience with meditation, you’ll appreciate how IFS grows your emotional intelligence, clarifies goals, and improves productivity and efficiency.
How It Works: IFS Psychotherapy for Chronic Pain and Stress Management
IFS works by teaching you how to lower the influence of your primitive and reactive reptilian brain (used for survival) when your emotions are triggered. Our self-protective reptilian brain is constantly buzzing with pre-set “programs” (IFS calls these “parts”) designed to help us avoid and fear dangerous things. We usually have many such protective parts of us running at the same time and don’t even know it. A disease that causes pain or discomfort naturally triggers many of its own protective parts in our psyche. Pain and discomfort is drastically compounded by the protective parts of our psyche that have run on auto-pilot our whole lives. IFS helps you tune into these various protective parts of you and turn the volume down, leaving you with only with the actual symptoms of your condition and removing symptoms that were caused by your mind’s automatic resistance to the pain. Learning IFS can be life-changing since pain and things you are used to fearing can be dealt with clearly and with courage!
The general result of this is lowering stress, and increasing your body’s parasympathetic nervous system. It also results in exponential growth of your emotional and relational intelligence. You can courageously begin to see yourself more the way others see you and make small adjustments that allow others to rub you the right way. When it comes to chronic pain, IFS is very successful at giving you direct access to your body’s natural ability to relax and heal itself. You can learn to tune into channels of information inside of you (often at the emotional or belief level) and make adjustments that can have amazing effects on chronic pain symptoms.
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