The Psychological Causes Of Physical Pain

When I am in physical pain, I don’t enjoy it when people suggest that my problem is psychological. I had one girlfriend, for instance, whenever I complained of pain, she would say, “Do you think it might be psychological?”

I don’t like it when psychology is used as a weapon. My pain might indeed be psychological but when a non-professional brings it up, it does not help things. It does not lead me to discover anything. I just get mad.

There’s nothing good that comes from a non-professional asking, “Do you think it might be psychological?” But when a person voluntarily chooses to see a psychological professional to explore such matters, then great good can come from it.

I’m rereading Daniel Siegel’s book, Mindsight.

He talks about a young female patient he had named Allyson. She was a fine arts teacher and was experiencing such severe back pain, she was considering surgery.

Dr. Siegel did a body scan with her and found that when they went to her back, she experienced great terror. When they explored that, Allyson had memories of being at a party and a friend of a friend tried to have sex with her in the garage, pushing her back painfully on to the corner of the pingpong table. After further work, Allyson realized that it was her step-father, not the friend of a friend, who had tried to rape her.

After this discovery, her back pain went away and she cancelled the surgery.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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