Cognitive Behavioral Coaching (CBC)
Pain can be very limiting in not only one’s recovery in therapy, but also in daily life and how we are able to function. Although this pain is felt within our physical self, it’s often overlooked that the true occurrence begins with our psychosocial self, that is to say, pain occurs in our brain.
To understand exactly why this happens, we need to understand how the body’s’ nociceptors interact and react to different stimuli. Throughout our whole body, we have a variety of different nociceptors that receive information and send the appropriate signal to the brain, where a responding signal is sent, all within one one-hundredth of a millisecond. Some of these receptors respond to temperature change, some respond to pressure changes, some to both. It is impossible to anticipate these signals, and how the body will react, causing us to feel pain, fear, frustration, etc. One of the best physical ways to reduce pain is ice, slowing this response system and calming the nerves.
Although there are physical ways to cope with pain and symptomatic limitations, it can also be beneficial to address these issues from a psychological standpoint as well. This is where CBC can be a great tool in the recovery process of an acute or chronic problem. When we can facilitate a more positive thought process in conjunction with a calming presence of mind, the body will release actual “feel-good” chemicals such as dopamine (pleasure center) and serotonin (serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer. It’s the chemical that helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting. Serotonin also helps: reduce depression regulate anxiety heal wounds stimulate nausea and maintain bone health. There have been studies that included patients that did finger strengthening exercises, and another set of patients who were instructed to simply think about strengthening their fingers. At the end of the study, it was shown and concluded that there was improvement in strength for both groups, and that there was only 5% difference in strength gains between the two groups. This isn’t just to say that if you think it will become fact, but rather that positive facilitative thought can be an integrally beneficial way to help in the healing process and overall recovery.
When we can validate and process our emotions and thoughts, it sets us up for a much easier and clearer way to recovering from anything, including pain and discomfort.