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Free Content Growing from Pain – A Creative Process

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This article describes an informal qualitative study carried out with a group of chronic pain patients following six months of weekly Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP). The outcome is presented in the image of a tree, called the 'Channel-it-tree'. It depicts patients' final responses to questions around how pain changed their life as well as the author's/therapist's personal perspective on pain management. An explanation of the symbolism of the tree in relation to personal growth through pain is included. The Channel-it-tree is a gift from pain-survivors, conveying that transformation and recovery are possible to those who may have lost hope. The idea of transformative growth resulting from the integration of painful experiences is supported by the Jungian concept of individuation. The DMP work focused on guiding patients in alternating between states of acceptance and inspiration with the hope of fostering self-compassion and personal growth. Alternating between accepting pain and feeling inspired to move on in life despite pain implicates drawing patients' attention back and forth between painful and pleasant sensations/feelings. This method of working resonates with body-based psychotherapeutic trauma work, which seemed important since the author/therapist felt that patients recognised traumatic experiences as relating to their chronic pain. Studies on the correlation of chronic pain and trauma are mentioned in support.

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Keywords: CHRONIC PAIN; DANCE MOVEMENT PSYCHOTHERAPY; TRANSFORMATION; TRAUMA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • Pain and Rehabilitation is a peer-reviewed, Bi-annual journal of the Physiotherapy Pain Association and special interest group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. The journal comprises a range of different articles types from orignial articles to systematic reviews and letters around the topic of pain and rehabilitation. The journal is multidisciplinary in its focus and welcomes submissions from all professionals working in this multidisciplinary field. the abstract of all articles will be freely avilable online. Full text articles are available free online to members of the Physiotherapy Pain Association, and access to individual PDF articles can be purchased by non members.
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