The Pain Is in the Brain
Think all those aches and pains are just in your body? Think again. Despite Descarte’s separation of mind from body, the two are indeed one. Science is proving it. My experience teaming with Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Carol Low has shown me time and again that it is true. To give you some insights, I’ve asked Dr. Low to talk a bit about her work and its relationship to physical health.
I am Dr. Carol Low, a clinical psychologist. I specialize in mind-body issues—physical illnesses that refuse to improve: pain that does not go away even with medication, irritable bowel, allergies, headache, autoimmune disease. The connection between psychology and these medical conditions is the brain. To answer the obvious question, No, that does not mean your illness is “all in your head” in the usual, disparaging meaning, but that your brain is generating symptoms, and it is doing so for a reason.
Here is the short version: Pain is a signal that something is damaged or diseased. Pain that stays when there is no longer illness is a sign of a disconnect between brain and body. Autoimmune disease is a sign of an immune system out of harmony. IBS and other functional gut problems indicate an autonomic nervous system in distress.
And that is why body-aware psychology is the right approach to these issues. When you suffer from a functional illness, your brain is trying to solve a problem. But since the solution has created a worse problem, another solution must be found. A variety of techniques can be applied to such issues. Clinical hypnosis is a powerful way to help calm an overactive nervous system, regulate your immune system, and get to the bottom of that stubborn pain. Rational emotive therapy, the precursor of cognitive therapy, is a great way to work on your thoughts. Thoughts and beliefs affect feelings, and feelings affect health. Sensorimotor trauma therapy is a pathway to memory and emotion via the body. Minute, unconscious movements and gestures are tracked to discharge the traces of old traumas.
With these and other powerful techniques, and the integration of your Feldenkrais lessons, many distressing symptom patterns of mind and body can be effectively treated. Essentially we are taking a top-down/bottom up approach to helping you heal.
Carol B. Low, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in Naperville. Her practice, Center for Conscious Living, is in its 19th year of offering holistic psychotherapy to people of all ages. Dr. Low specializes in clinical hypnosis and trauma therapy as well as working with mood problems, anxiety, phobias, dissociation, and physical ills such as headache, RSD/CRPS1, FMS, and IBS. She also offers marital and family therapy, as well as hypnotic preparation for surgery and childbirth.