Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain

neuropsychology health rehab

Many years ago I was plagued with debilitating headaches associated with a number of seemingly unrelated activities that included cooking for company and sewing drapes for the house. I thought I might be allergic to natural gas or certain fabrics until one day I realized that I tensed my facial muscles when I concentrated intently on a project.

The cure was surprisingly simple: I became aware of how my body was reacting and changed it through self-induced behavior modification. I consciously relaxed my muscles whenever I focused on a task that could precipitate a tension-induced headache.

Fast-forward about five decades: Now it was my back that ached when I hurriedly cooked even a simple meal. And once again, after months of pain, I realized that I was transferring stress to the muscles of my back and had to learn to relax them, and to allow more time to complete a project to mitigate the stress. Happy to report, I recently prepared dinner for eight with nary a pain.

I don’t mean to suggest that every ache and pain can be cured by self-awareness and changing one’s behavior. But recent research has demonstrated that the mind – along with other nonpharmacological remedies — can be powerful medicine to relieve many kinds of chronic or recurrent pains, especially low back pain.

As Dr. James Campbell, a neurosurgeon and pain specialist, put it, “The best treatment for pain is right under our noses.” He suggests not “catastrophizing” – not assuming that the pain represents something disastrous that keeps you from leading the life you’ve chosen.

Acute pain is nature’s warning signal that something is wrong that should be attended to. Chronic pain, however, is no longer a useful warning signal, yet it can lead to perpetual suffering if people remain afraid of it, the doctor said.

“If the pain is not an indication that something is seriously wrong, you can learn to live with it,” said Dr. Campbell, an emeritus professor at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Too often, he explained, “people with pain get caught in a vicious cycle of inactivity that results in lost muscle strength and further pain problems.”

Throwing powerful drugs at chronic pain problems may only add to the problem because ever higher doses are often needed to keep the pain at bay. Knowing this, a growing cadre of specialists are exploring nondrug, noninvasive treatments, some of which have proved highly effective in relieving chronic pain.

The American College of Physicians recently issued new nondrug guidelines for treating chronic or recurrent back pain, a condition that afflicts approximately one-quarter of adults at a cost to the country in excess of $100 billion a year.

Noting that most patients with back pain improve with time “regardless of treatment,” the college recommends such remedies as superficial heat, massage, acupuncture or, in some cases, spinal manipulation (chiropractic or osteopathic). For those with chronic back pain, the suggestions include exercise, rehabilitation, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, progressive relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Drug-free pain management is now a top priority among researchers at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health. A comprehensive summary of the effectiveness of nondrug treatments for common pain problems – back pain, fibromyalgia, severe headache, knee arthritis and neck pain — was published last year in Mayo Clinic Proceedings by Richard L. Nahin and colleagues at the center.

Based on evidence from well-designed clinical trials, the team reported that these complementary approaches “may help some patients manage their painful health conditions: acupuncture and yoga for back pain; acupuncture and tai chi for osteoarthritis of the knee; massage therapy for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefit; and relaxation techniques for severe headaches and migraine.”

Weaker evidence also suggested that massage therapy and spinal and osteopathic manipulation may be of some benefit to patients with back pain, and relaxation techniques and tai chi may help patients with fibromyalgia find relief.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain

Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

The school environment can be challenging even for a child with optimal psychological health. The responsibilities such as school assignments, homework, interaction with other children, and co-curricular activities all can contribute to considerable stress in a child. The level of stress in children who suffer from ADHD can be even greater because of the unique challenges they confront due to their symptoms.

The following pointers can help prepare a child with ADHD for school:

1.    Psychological Assessment

It is important for a parent who is suspecting that their child is suffering from ADHD to take the child to a professional for an assessment. The assessment is the first step towards supporting the child to have a successful school life.  After identifying the particular challenge the child is facing, the professional can empower the parent on how to support the child at home and in school.

2.    Meet with the Teacher

The child needs support from the teacher. The school teachers are essential in the success journey of the child. The parent should have a meeting with the teacher to brief them on the psychological condition of the student.  The parent can also empower the teacher on some of the support techniques that have been beneficial of their child.

3.    Establish a Rewards System

A child with ADHD often has a compromised ability to grasp future consequences and rewards.  Therefore, a more immediate and concrete reward system can be of great benefit to an ADHD child. For example, after every completed assignment, the child can get an reward. The short term rewards can help the child to be more focused in pursuing.  Your child’s therapists can be an important resource for helping you develop an effective positive reinforcement behavioral plan.

4.    Home environment

A structured, consistent, positive and nurturing environment that a parent provides for their child at home and after school is key for success. Positive attention and support, a consistent routine, clear expectations of the child and realistic expectations from the parent will help the child both cope with their school stress and develop the skills, behaviors, and motivation to succeed.

5.  Get Professional Help

At Pathways Neuropsychology Associates we are here to help you help your child succeed and reduce both the parents and the child’s level of stress.  ADHD/Executive Functioning Coaching and Parent Management Training teach evidenced behavioral strategies and compensatory strategies to increase school success. Psychotherapy and biofeedback teach and enhance coping and stress management skills.  A thorough assessment helps identify your child’s strength and weaknesses, rules out any other academic, behavioral or emotional factors contributing to their difficulties and directs treatment strategies.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD & brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Tips for Parents Supporting Children with ADHD

Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience

Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience

adhd evaluation

Children with ADHD benefit from knowing what to expect before they arrive to the classroom. This will not only prevent any potential issues (e.g., behavioral, academic) during the first days or weeks of school, but it will also provide the child with a much-needed boost of self-confidence, as they won’t be as overwhelmed with their new classroom environment, new teacher(s), classroom rules, peers, and the numerous other distractions and challenges they will face.

Children with ADHD thrive in structured environments and when they are provided clear and specific instructions. Unfortunately, your child’s academic environment won’t always (or consistently) provide these things, but you can create a sort of classroom crash course for your child in order to provide that sameness and structure that he/she needs.

Creating a behavioral plan with your child and practicing the techniques and strategies in the plan ahead of time is like taking a practice makes perfect approach: You and your child will understand and rehearse the objectives on the plan before he/she is presented with the situation and repeated exposure to the behavioral plan objectives will help your child master these tasks before school starts.

The behavioral plan can be tailored to your child’s unique needs, but oftentimes includes objectives such as impulse control strategies (e.g., reducing interrupting/talking out of turn), managing restlessness/fidgeting, following directions (e.g., listening skills), and getting homework/assignments completed on time.

Below is an example of one component of the behavioral plan that you and your child can create and practice together so that you can both start the school year prepared, confident, and ready to get the most out of the academic experience.

Managing restlessness/fidgeting in the classroom

  • Provide your child a “stress ball” that can be used at home when the child is participating in an activity that involves staying seated and concentrating
    • This will teach your child to get used to squeezing the ball when he/she becomes restless in class
  • Practice deep breathing exercises at home
    • Take about 15 minutes every day for you and your child to practice diaphragmatic breathing, where you take several deep “belly breathes,” in through the nose and out through the mouth
    • Instruct your child to practice this breathing exercise when he/she feels like “moving around” while doing a seated activity at home that requires sustained mental effort (e.g., put your child to do a series of math problems or writing exercises so that he/she learns to anticipate when it’s time to take a break for deep breathing)

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with ADHD. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

If you would like additional information on relaxation exercises, contact PNA for an appointment for a biofeedback session for your child

 

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Plan Ahead to Help Your Child with ADHD: Tips for Mastery of the Classroom Experience

Therapy Podcast – Forgiving Yourself for a Bad Day

Therapy Podcast – Forgiving Yourself for a Bad Day

In this Podcast with Dr Gordon: Forgiving yourself for bad day. “Self talk” and having faith in yourself.


The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Therapy Podcast – Forgiving Yourself for a Bad Day

Therapy Podcast – Supporting Significant Others During Diet Part 2 & Self Image

Therapy Podcast – Supporting Significant Others During Diet Part 2 & Self Image

In this Podcast with Dr Gordon: Supporting Significant Others During Diet Part 2. Plus

Taking day off and treating yourself….Believing you could do it (most important thing)… Self Image.

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Therapy Podcast – Supporting Significant Others During Diet Part 2 & Self Image

Therapy Podcast – Supporting Significant Others During Diet & Exercise

Therapy Podcast – Supporting Significant Others During Diet & Exercise

In this Podcast with Dr Gordon: Supporting Significant Others During Diet & Exercise

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Therapy Podcast – Supporting Significant Others During Diet & Exercise

The IQ Test Broken Down

The IQ Test Broken Down

iq testing psychology Psychologists | Toms River, Manahawkin, Freehold, NJ

The IQ, Intelligence Quotient, test is a standardized test created to measure intelligence.  It is a helpful tool to predict academic and vocational success. The idea behind the IQ test is that by assessing certain measurable cognitive abilities of a person, one can make predictions regarding a person’s abilities and future functioning. Questions on the test range from vocabulary to pattern completions to arithmetic problems. While some of these questions test general knowledge, others test the ability to learn. These questions hone in on your short-term memory, analytical thinking, mathematical skills, and spacial recognition.

Here at Pathways, we administer official Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC-V) and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV) IQ tests for children and adults, respectively, and give you professional insight into what your score really means. The results of the test are weighted against people of the same age and then the numbers are normalized such that a score of 100 is average. Your place above or below that mark gauges approximately how your cognitive skills are compared to the average population. The placing on the scale is a helpful predictor of academic performance and general success. Parents, for instance, often consider giving their children the IQ test when their child is having learning difficulties at school. Since school curriculums are geared for the average learner, the IQ test can give insight of where a child lies compared to that base line. From there, our team of experienced child psychologists, in collaboration with the parents and teachers, can work towards locating the source of the academic disconnect and set forth a plan of action accordingly. Sometimes this entails considering a more accelerated track, digging deeper to understand his or her behavioral and learning characteristics better, or finding gifted educational programs. IQ tests are also very useful for making diagnostic decisions for ADD/ADHD or the presence of cognitive impairments from a concussion or TBI.

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/encyclopedia/what-is-an-iq-test/
http://www.seemypersonality.com/IQ-Test

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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The IQ Test Broken Down

Therapy Podcast – Keeping Things in Perspective

Therapy Podcast – Keeping Things in Perspective

In this Podcast with Dr Gordon: Keeping things in perspective— “Apreciation of chaos”— while raising children; Guy or girl say “I love you” first?


The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Therapy Podcast – Keeping Things in Perspective

Prozac Nation Is Now Xanax Nation

Prozac Nation Is Now Xanax Nation

Psychologists | Toms River, Manahawkin, Freehold, NJ prozac xanax

While to epidemiologists the disorder is a medical condition, anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too: a shared cultural experience that feeds on alarmist CNN graphics and metastasizes through social media.

This past winter, Sarah Fader, a 37-year-old social media consultant in Brooklyn who has generalized anxiety disorder, texted a friend in Oregon about an impending visit, and when a quick response failed to materialize, she posted on Twitter to her 16,000-plus followers. “I don’t hear from my friend for a day — my thought, they don’t want to be my friend anymore,” she wrote, appending the hashtag #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike.

Thousands of people were soon offering up their own examples under the hashtag; some were retweeted more than 1,000 times. You might say Ms. Fader struck a nerve. “If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious,” she said on the telephone, “there’s something wrong with you.”

It was 70 years ago that the poet W. H. Auden published “The Age of Anxiety,” a six-part verse framing modern humankind’s condition over the course of more than 100 pages, and now it seems we are too rattled to even sit down and read something that long (or as the internet would say, tl;dr).

Anxiety has become our everyday argot, our thrumming lifeblood: not just on Twitter (the ur-anxious medium, with its constant updates), but also in blogger diaries, celebrity confessionals (Et tu, Beyoncé?), a hit Broadway show (“Dear Evan Hansen”), a magazine start-up (Anxy, a mental-health publication based in Berkeley, Calif.), buzzed-about television series (like “Maniac,” a coming Netflix series by Cary Fukunaga, the lauded “True Detective” director) and, defying our abbreviated attention spans, on bookshelves.

With two new volumes analyzing the condition (“On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety,” by Andrea Petersen, and “Hi, Anxiety,” by Kat Kinsman) following recent best-sellers by Scott Stossel (“My Age of Anxiety”) and Daniel Smith (“Monkey Mind”), the anxiety memoir has become a literary subgenre to rival the depression memoir, firmly established since William Styron’s “Darkness Visible” and Elizabeth Wurtzel’s “Prozac Nation” in the 1990s and continuing today with Daphne Merkin’s “This Close to Happy.”

Excerpt from New York Times. read the full story here

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Prozac Nation Is Now Xanax Nation

Therapy Podcast – Self Awareness

Therapy Podcast – Self Awareness

In this Podcast with Dr Gordon:

Keeping your cool when stuck with children for very long time during winter break; understanding we arent perfect; self-awareness; taking vacations

The Pathways team of professionals has helped thousands of people with brain injuries. We are Dedicated to effective and compassionate care for individuals with neurological challenges.

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Therapy Podcast – Self Awareness