Synopsis of group:
This will be run as an open group, members are not required, but encouraged to show up weekly. Participants can start at any time they choose and attend at whatever frequency is comfortable/manageable for their situation. While weekly attendance is not required it is encouraged for the benefit of both individuals participants and the strength of the group. This is a no pressure atmosphere group, however it is better to be sick/in pain in a supportive environment than sick/in pain alone at home. The goal is to have enough people in the group so that if someone is unable to make a group and still needs the support they will always have someone to reach out to via phone.
- Create a supportive community of people dealing with chronic pain, illness and/or disability. The group will be a way to connect with other people struggling with similar issues. The goal of creating a supportive community not unlike AA where there is always someone to reach out to if you are in need. Chronic Pain Anonymous is the only organization that has this kind of community and there is currently no presence in Marin. This group will have components of that type of support, but also an strong educational component, which sets it apart and strengthens the model.
- Learning how to self-coach. The only way to move forward is through positive action. Learning how make changes is a skill in itself. This group will contain a coaching component where participants will learn how to make small changes in their lives that will move them in a forward and positive direction, rather than keeping them stuck in the past.
- Fun! One of the best antidotes to pain is laughter, pleasure and fun. The general theme of the group will be upbeat and positive. Participants can choose to use tools such as a “laughter” book where they record jokes, cartoons, stories, pictures, or anything that makes them and others laugh. Funny stories from everyday life will be encouraged. Our lives are more than pain, illness and disability, lets focus on that! I have a new puppy and colorful mother who both provides me with endless amusing anecdotes.
- Learning how to calm down the nervous system. Chronic pain warps the way our bodies work. Learning how to calm the body can decrease the frequency and intensity of your pain. Relaxation exercises including diaphragmatic breathing, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, mindfulness based stressed reduction can all be explored.
- Tools on healthy living to ease pain. Taking care of your physical self is as important as taking care of your mind. Subjects may include tips on nutrition, sleep hygiene, exercise, proper medical care, and self care. (Subject to participant interest and time).
- Tools on managing emotions. This would including learning how to reframe negative thinking, shift perspective, focus on the positive and learning to see the world through eyes of joy rather than eyes of pain and suffering.
- Learning how to navigate through the medical world as your own best advocate.