Have We Gone Mental?
Yes, we have. We’re now offering a psychological service in the form of talking therapy.
A good question. There are 3 good reasons:
1. Chronic Pain and the Pain Cycle
Clear evidence indicates that stress (e.g. anxiety, depression, challenging life events, work issues, trauma etc) is a significant contributory factor in heightened and prolonged experiences of pain, known as ‘sensitisation’.
A negative feedback loop establishes whereby stress contributes to heightened and prolonged pain. Heightened and prolonged pain then increases stress and intensifies stressful experiences, and even just the anticipation of stressful experiences. You can see how our psychology contributes in this video.
2. Unhelpful Behaviours and Patterns
Sometimes our psychological selves undermine us when trying to achieve even realistic health goals. A useful analogy is when we set ourselves a reasonable New Year resolution and then get stuck acting on it. Our psychology can play the role of saboteur or supporter of our health goals.
If the saboteur is at large, exploring and working out what is going on there can be of enormous benefit in helping people implement the beneficial things that will help them achieve the outcome they want, and get back to doing the things they love.
There is a reason high performing athletes and sports people attend as much to their mental selves as they do their physical selves. It helps them do what they do. If it works for them and it works for mortals too. It’s just that us mortals are not aiming for ludicrously high performance, we’re aiming for achievable performance. Nonetheless we can still ‘get in our own way’ when achieving our achievable (just sports gods and goddesses can).
Examining thoughts, feelings, behaviours that create barriers to realistic health goals is the second reason we have gone mental.
3. Life’s Ups and Downs
As musculoskeletal practitioners we consider it a privilege that patients develop a trusting therapeutic relationship with us.
In the course of treatment for physical issues and non-complex pain people the level of trust is such that frequently patients share life’s broader trials and tribulations with us. There is not necessarily any connection to the physical injury at the centre of treatment. And, we wouldn’t have it any other way because all of us are passionate about considering the whole person.
However, referring to quality local psychological services that provide responsive and effective support has not been so easy. This is the third reason we have gone mental.
Are You Mental If You Access Psychological Services?
Unequivocally no. It means you’re ‘normal,’ whatever the hell ‘normal’ is.
Social stigmas, unhelpful narratives and plenty of other guff can get in the way of engaging with our mental life. As far as we are concerned there is about as much stigma in attending to your mental health and optimising it, as there is going for a walk to make a contribution to your physical health. It’s about as nuts as going to a chiropractor because you are experiencing back pain. It’s about as crazed as attending a gym to improve your fitness.
Hopefully that makes our position clear! We’d invite you to join our club on this one. Hopefully, society at large is moving in that direction too.
How Does It Work?
Our service is delivered by Alistair Wilkinson. Alistair practices as Living Psychology. His website is here.
The service is delivered in the familiar surroundings of the clinic or even online via Zoom, if that suits you better.
To get the ball rolling you can:
- Ask your practitioner to refer you, or they may suggest a referral to you.
- Self-refer by contacting Alistair direct on 07421 058229, via his website.
- Ask reception (in person, by phone or contact form) to get Alistair to contact you by your preferred means.
If you want to meet Alistair first, he will arrange a no charge, no obligation initial intro session. It’s important you have an opportunity to get a feel for what he is like and what working with him will be like.
Or, if you prefer to just plough on and set up the first talking therapy session, no problem.
Sessions are £60 and last 50 mins.
So, yes, we have gone mental, and we heartily invite you to join us.