Chronic pain may be constant or episodic, however it is unquestionably unpleasant and may therefore affect mood and emotions. This common problem is typically diagnosed in individuals who experience pain for several months. Here at CBT Denver we often treat individuals who struggle with either mood or anxiety issues (or both) that are related to the experience of long-term physical pain and discomfort. Common areas for pain include low back, neck, pain associated with fibromyalgia, headache, irritable bowel, or pain associated with chronic illness. Pain can disrupt desire for everyday activities, including the ones that would normally feel pleasant or joyful. Chronic pain is associated with other problems as well, including substance use, diet concerns, social isolation, and emotional distress.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Associates of Denver approaches chronic pain treatment with a variety of evidenced based skills and strategies. Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) approaches include understanding, observing, and shifting how an individual thinks about and reacts to their pain. We assist our clients in developing more helpful reactions to the automatic thinking and response process that often drives mood and anxiety. At CBTDenver we also use Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) strategies for helping people discover and understand how their values play a role in behaviors and how pain can interfere with committed action. We also use mindfulness-based approaches to chronic pain that include teaching clients diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, body scan, and other experiential awareness strategies.