At Mary Free Bed's Pain Center, we use an interdisciplinary team to treat a variety of patients who present with chronic pain. As a licensed psychology with a background in art therapy, a natural extension of this approach I have found very effective is the use of a multi-modal approach in counseling which includes; self-hypnosis, visual imagery, and artistic expression. One of our patients being treated for headache pain was generous in allowing the use of her drawings and verbal descriptions in order to illustrate the rich and complex data that can be drawn out through this approach, which engages the auditory, visual, and tactile senses in the processing of her pain experience. Ultimately this enhances rapport, creates new therapeutic insights, and enhances treatment outcome.
Directions for the first drawing were, "Give a size, shape, and color to your visualized pain." Patient wrote the following caption, "I see a big, black, block representing a lonely place to be with red jagged edges that represent stabbing, intense pain. The red circles are my dilated, throbbing, blood vessels. The blueberry lines are a contrast of pain and hope."
|Drawing 1 |
In the second drawing, the instructions were, "Shrink or condense that pain image down into as small a space as you can." The patient wrote, "The image is same but condensed. However, the color/pain is noted here by the red, which represents anger and intense pain. The black void is still there, as is the blue, but the pain has taken over."
|Drawing 2 |
The final drawing instructions are, "Now do the opposite. Imagine the pain getting larger, and as it gets larger it begins to dissipate in intensity, fading around the edges as it gets larger, and allowing you to let go of it." Patient wrote, "Here is the same block crown shape, but the black is faded. The blood vessels are relaxed. The blueberry color has been 'freed' through the now open jagged edges, and the pain is able to fade, free, and fly away."
|Drawing 3 |
More than the programs ...
At The Pain Center, all of our doctor's and therapists see patients outside of the programs. If you have a new injury, significant stressor, severe pain flare-up or need to adjust your home exercise program - come back to the team that you trust. We're happy to help.
Have a question about a flare up?
You are still a part of The Pain Center family. If you ever have a question, please give us a call at 616.233.3480 and we'd be happy to answer it.