What Really Helps People With Chronic Pain
I was recently invited as a part of The Chronic Illness Bloggers Network to take part in and a review a new pain management class. The online course designed by Esther Smith, a licensed counselor and writer is summarized as, “What Really Helps People With Chronic Pain.” This eight week long class is designed to help those living with chronic pain discover new strategies and coping skills. The class approaches chronic pain from a multifaceted perspective and provides a wide range of insights and coping strategies. I especially commend this course for its wide breath of approaches covered in such a condensed and timely manner.
What you should expect in this course
The course contains weekly modules with a reasonable amount of new information and a few big thought provoking questions to ask and sort through within yourself. Each week you should expect to spend about two hours to complete the minimum amount of work. However, the more time and mental energy you put into the class the more you will get out of it. The total cost for the eight weeks, which includes the course material as well as access to a private discussion group is 129$. While this may seem like a large investment to some, I think it’s important to put this in perspective and to understand that a single visit to a specialized counselor can cost the same amount or even double the cost of this class.
Who I recommend for this course
In my opinion, the course is best designed for someone who’s either new to coping with chronic pain or someone whose ready to take on a new mindset. It’s perfect for someone with an open mind and the internal drive to learn, but in need of guidance for where to start. The amount of information that’s availble on pain management can be very overwhelming! But like anything in life, information can only get you so far and to gain significant benefit you do need to do the work.
The work is mainly psychological and internal in nature, not anything cognitive or intellectually challenging but thinking through these things thoroughly does take time and at times emotional energy. No matter what you are prepared to do, or already know, I’m sure anyone can still benefit from this course. By staying in touch with the group discussion, you’ll come out of it with at least a few new strategies and perspectives on managing pain. Even after extensive amounts of research I’ve done in my own life and in putting together this blog , I still learned new tools and especially insightful inner perspectives.
I discovered new points of inner wisdom about the psychological implications of pain and how it affects my daily life, by working through the weekly discussion questions. These questions can be done alone or with a partner. I opted to work on the questions myself and then discuss them afterwards with the class on the online group forum. I love that these questions are the type which can be revisited and rediscussed multiple times and in life beyond the class. I also gained a lot by seeing how they were answered and thought through by others in the class.
Information provided in this class
- learning skills for pacing and saving energy
- techniques for calming the nervous system
- managing pain
- coping with the trauma of accepting chronic pain
- making plans and hoping for a better future
Each week there’s a combination of short articles, an intro video, readings, and guides designed by Esther. The majority of the content found in this course may not be revolutionary in nature, but the curation and combination of these topics sure is! As well as how the course summarizes and introduces a broad range of strategies down into a digestible amount of material. What I love about the chosen content, like the discussion questions, is that the ideas explored can be revisited and expanded upon at any time.
Minor downside from a personal perspective
My only complaint with the structure of this class is it’s several mentions to a somewhat specific view of religion. I have no problems with an individuals view or even an instructor sharing their own viewpoint within a course, however I do expect that a course would be written in such a way as to not imply that the participants have the same view as the instructor. There’s a fine line here, because I do see how spiritually can play such a beautiful role in healing and accepting illness. However, I don’t think an educational class is ever an appropriate place for even the slightest integration of religion unless it is specifically stated in the course description so that people signing up know what they are getting involved with ahead of time. *( please see footnote below) I do encourage anyone interested in this class to not to let this detour you from taking it and to simply interpret any religious mentions that may make you uncomfortable in a way that means something personal and aligns with your own values.
*After speaking with Esther she explained that this was an oversight in the design of the new class and that spiritual nature of the class should absolutely be in the course description for when the next session is available. *
What is Life in Slow Motion?
“Life in Slow Motion has become a place where I use my personal experience as a patient and professional experience as a counselor to help people address the physical, spiritual and emotional impact of chronic pain.” – Esther
click here to learn more about Esther Smith & the variety of products & services she offers for managing chronic illness
click here for the Life in Slow Motion homepage & most recent blogs
For any questions or comments you can reach Esther by email