Mind-Body Treatment For Chronic Pain and Related Symptoms
Jessica Leavell, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist
Certified in Pain Reprocessing Therapy
Blogger, and Lupus and Chronic Pain Thriver
Your Pain is Real
Having experienced 15 years of severe chronic pain I know how psychologically harming it can feel not to be believed. Pain may begin in the brain but that does not make it "all in your head." In fact, brain imaging studies have demonstrated that chronic pain and related symptoms are quite real and are the result of how your brain is processing sensations. The symptoms are very real and can be incredibly debilitating.
Another exhausting and frustrating aspect of living with chronic pain is that typical medical treatments are geared toward managing acute pain -- often generating little, inconsistent or no improvement for the individual living with chronic pain. PRT aims to tackle that which traditional medical treatments do not address.
Find Joy and Get Back to the Things you Love
I am a neuropsychologist specializing in the mind-body treatment of chronic neuroplastic pain and other stress related physical symptoms. I use evidence-based psychological interventions rooted in the latest neuroscientific research. The interventions have been shown to reduce or eliminate most chronic pain symptoms. Please see my resources and research page for links for the latest research.
What is neuroplastic pain? Pain is a danger signal created by our nervous system to warn us about an acute physical threat to our bodies. It activates the body's stress response system to help us prepare an appropriate defensive response to the acute threat. Chronic stimulation of the stress response system, however, often results in an over sensitized nervous system -- one that anticipates, expects and experiences pain -- following small internal or external triggers that the brain associates with past pain experiences. Stated more simply, neuroplastic pain is a false alarm that results in the brain misinterpreting safe messages from the body as if they were a sign of imminent danger.
What is Pain Reprocessing Therapy. PRT applies evidence based psychological interventions to pain and other chronic physiological symptoms. The goal of PRT it to retrain the brain to respond to everyday triggers from a space of safety rather than from danger, thus breaking the symptom/fear cycle. PRT is a systematic treatment that involves psychoeducation, mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure/response prevention techniques, safety reappraisal and positive affect induction. For more information see my About the Treatment and Resources/Research page.
You would be surprised at the number of chronic conditions that are secondary to a chronically triggered fear response. For more information on why please see my blog post: The Mind Body Connection-Just the Basics In addition to pain, mind-body therapeutic techniques are highly effective for chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, anxiety/panic disorder, depression, some forms of migraine, most forms of chronic back/neck pain, some forms of arthritis, facial neuralgias, and pain that persists post injury or surgery.
I bring with me the level of empathy that can only come from direct experience. Explore my personal journey through pain and recovery.
All therapeutic sessions are completed remotely through a HIPPA compliant medical record system.
Due to Massachusetts psychology licensing restrictions you must be present in the state at the time of our Session.
Sessions are self-pay and I do not accept insurance. I can provide a superbill for you to pursue reimbursement from Insurance Companies. Most companies have streamlined the process and are good about reimbursement. However, I also recommend you contact your insurance company to check.
Book an Intake Consultation to determine if your symptoms are neuroplastic and if PRT is right for you
Jessica Leavell, Ph.D.
Finding Light Psychological Associates