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Clinical psychologists are specially trained in helping people to cope with the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that accompany chronic pain. When working with a psychologist, you can expect to discuss your physical and emotional health. They are likely to ask you about your pain experience, where and when it occurs, and what factors might affect it. In addition, they will ask you to discuss any worries or stresses, including those related to your pain. Having a comprehensive understanding of your concerns will help the psychologist to begin to develop a helpful plan of treatment.
Treatment plans are individualized for every patient depending upon your unique needs. The plan may involve teaching relaxation techniques, helping you to manage unhelpful beliefs about pain, building new coping skills and addressing any anxiety or depression that may accompany your pain. One way to do this is by helping you learn to challenge any unhelpful thoughts you have about pain. A psychologist can also help you make lifestyle changes that may allow you to continue participating in work and recreational activities. Psychologists are likely to collaborate with other health care professionals in the team to address both the physical and emotional aspects of your pain.