Introduction—What You Can Expect
If you’ve been suffering from fibromyalgia, back pain, migraines or any other form of chronic pain then more than likely you’ve been having a tough time for years. You’ve probably spent lots of time in doctors waiting rooms, gotten probed and tested and possibly had a difficult time getting someone to give you a clear diagnosis. Then once you got a diagnosis, all you’ve been offered is a choice between anti-depressant medication and increasingly potent pain medications and possibly both. Many of you are taking a list of medications longer than your arm with all kinds of undesired side-effects like dry mouth, tiredness and the danger of addiction and subsequent rebound pain if you try to come off your meds.
Through all this, because of the pain you’re in and the lack of sleep, you’ve found it difficult to function in your life. Doing even the simplest everyday tasks has been a huge challenge, and on top of it all, people act like you’re crazy and it’s your fault, like you know what to do to get better and you’re just not doing it. At some point, if you haven’t been told directly, it’s at least been implied, that it’s all in your head. As if you were consciously choosing to have this disease.
I’ve got the good news for you. It’s not all in your head. Whether the reason for your pain has been discovered or not, you actually have a very serious and painful disease that has a real physical manifestation. Unfortunately, in the standard medical community, when faced with a physical disease, they only look for physical solutions, and this limited approach limits your options. And now here’s the really good news. Just because it’s not all in your head doesn’t mean that you can’t use your head to get better. Another way to say this is that regardless of the origins of your disease you can use your thinking, and particularly the mental processes and understandings I’m going to share with you in this book, to activate your ability to heal your pain.
In this book I’m going to share with you a different way of thinking about disease and healing that will help you understand how it’s possible to develop a physiological disease that might or might not have a clear physical cause like a germ or exposure to some environmental poison, though exposure to toxins could have been a contributing factor. And then I’m going to teach you how to use the power of your thinking in precise, directed ways that will help you move towards the balanced state that will activate your body’s natural ability to heal. That you haven’t known how to do this is not your fault, because this is likely new to you and a different way of thinking and operating in the world than we’ve all been taught by well-meaning parents and professionals. It is not your fault! But that it’s not your fault does not mean that you can’t start taking responsibility once you learn what you can do. Now, for most of you, everything is going to change. As you heal, you’ll be able to get your life back or, even preferably, create a better life than the one you had before this whole ordeal started. So first, let me tell you about a young woman I helped a number of years ago.
Karen was an attractive, outgoing 26 year-old with a B.A. in business from a good school. When we first met, she was working as a restaurant server while taking classes that were prerequisites for applying to physical therapy school. She had been in a car accident several months before and suffered a neck injury that had not responded well to physical therapy, and her pain had evolved into painful fibromyalgia. She was referred to me by a massage therapist at her physical therapy clinic. She was not on pain medication, but she was taking Amitriptyline, an anti-depressant with sedative effects. Unfortunately this medication didn’t seem to be making any difference in her level of pain, and it had unpleasant side effects for her that she didn’t like very much.
Using the protocol described in this book, I was able to help her become totally free of all pain and no longer taking the anti-depressant in less than two months. After she was free of her pain, she continued in therapy for a number of months to resolve some of the issues that had been uncovered in our early sessions. During the course of treatment she broke up with her fiancée who had not been giving her the loving attention and commitment that she wanted. Many of the emotions that we resolved early on were hurt and angry feelings of which she had not been consciously aware. Using her physical symptoms as a doorway to these repressed emotions, combined with a new, self-accepting understanding of her emotions, she was able to quickly and easily identify and fully resolve these reactive emotions that she had uncovered.
A couple years later she returned to therapy to work on some newly arisen issues in her life, and reported that she had not had any recurrence of her fibromyalgia. Subsequently she got into physical therapy school, graduated to work as a physical therapist and met and married a wonderful guy.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic pain, this story can seem almost too good to be true. But I can tell you that 80% of those people who see me for fibromyalgia, chronic headaches and other forms of chronic pain fully recover or improve significantly enough to reduce and often eliminate their medications and go on to lead normal, healthy and fruitful lives. But the kind of miraculous results we’ve gotten will require your doing some things differently.
In this book I will share with you the exact protocol that I used with these clients. All we did was learn a new way of thinking about disease, a new way of thinking about emotions and how to resolve all emotions easily. In addition, you will learn how to practice auto-suggestion (or self-hypnosis) and to use a visualization for resolving reactive emotions with love and acceptance. In addition, if there is an emotionally traumatic event or set of circumstances in your past that helped trigger your habitual pattern of manifesting repressed emotions physiologically, you will learn how to change your present relationship to these events, so that they no longer control your life going forward.
This seems like a lot, and in some sense it is, because you will be learning to use tools that you probably have not used before. But it actually is very simple and straightforward, and all of my clients were able to easily learn the tools. And as I stated before, 80% of them used these tools to fully or almost fully alleviate their chronic pain while getting off some heavy duty medications.
Mary was a 71 year-old retired wife of a minister who was referred to me by her neurologist. She had been having weekly migraines since she was 13 years old. She had been able to cope with these weekly events, that debilitated her for a day, by using migraine medication as needed(PRN) until about 3 years earlier. At that time the frequency of her migraines increased to three times a week. After her first session, in which I taught her self-hypnosis and shared with her my different (to her) way of thinking about her headaches and how the body/mind works, she did not have a headache for the week between sessions. In the subsequent weeks I taught her how to identify and easily process her emotional reactions, and how to stop reacting emotionally to some present circumstances in her life that were not going to change. She was sleeping better, had only one very mild headache in two weeks, and she was feeling happier and more optimistic about her life. In our last two sessions I was able to help her identify the historical origin of her headache habit. It turns out that when she was thirteen she had her first menstruation. Her mother had not prepared her for this, so she was mortified at the time, and her memory of the event was that, when she told her mother, her mother got very angry with her and basically threw at her the pads she needed to use, without any explanation. That day she had her first migraine. Before our working together she had made no conscious connection between this event and her migraines. It’s not surprising that the combination of hormonal changes and emotional trauma led to a migraine.
After recovering this memory, I took her through the same process that I will be teaching you that can change your present, unconscious, emotional relationship to past traumatic events. Subsequently she was able to think about what happened back then without any emotional feelings. Our next session was our last and she reported that she had not had a headache for 28 days. Six months later, she called me to ask if I could help her husband with something, and she reported that she had not had any headaches in the interim.
Now, you may not have such a dramatic triggering event in your life for your pain, but I can assure you that many of my clients, who have not been able to identify a triggering event or circumstance, still responded to the healing protocol with dramatically positive results. So let me share with you how I think about change, why you need to change and what you can change.