Reconnecting the mind and body: A pilot study of developing compassion for persistent pain
As an alternative to the more typical cognitive behavioural approach to pain management, a novel pain management group based on the principles of compassionate mind training was developed for a particular sub-group of patients. Participants were patients of a community pain clinic, who were invited to participate in this alternative approach to pain management. The eight-week Compassion in Pain Groups included psychoeducation around persistent pain, the underlying principles of compassionate mind training, practical exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing, followed by a series of compassionate imagery exercises and group discussions. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were undertaken to gain further insights into the usefulness and efficacy of this approach. Firstly, descriptive statistics indicated that participants reported lower scores for pain-related anxiety and depression upon completion of the groups. Participants also reported higher scores for self-kindness and self-compassion, pain willingness and activity engagement. Secondly, qualitative data was collected through audio-recorded reflective group discussions at the end of the final session, which were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings from the qualitative analysis suggested that participants experienced themselves and their pain differently over the course of the group due to self-reflection, self-acceptance and the development of new skills leading to a new found sense of wholeness, integrating their current experiences of pain and past selves. Implications and recommendations are discussed.
Parry SL, Malpus Z. Reconnecting the mind and body: A pilot study of developing compassion for persistent pain. Patient Experience Journal. 2017; 4(1):145-153. doi: 10.35680/2372-0247.1175.
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