I’m writing this in New York’s JFK airport while waiting for my flight back home after the PPDA conference. This is the third conference organized by health professionals who, like me, are passionate about raising awareness of the fact that many people with chronic pain can actually recover.
Excitingly, attendance at each conference grown as the message spreads further afield to other health professionals who become interested in learning how to integrate this approach within their own professional work.
My own attendance at each conference has been important for me because it has allowed me to create and develop relationships with other Specialists in the field. This was especially important for me initially while there was so little awareness of this concept amongst other health professionals in the UK. I also very much appreciate the PPDA committee’s inclusion of me in their meetings whenever I am in the US, about the future of their work in the US, as we all work together to spread the word.
While waiting for my flight I have been reflecting on my own ‘journey’ since I first read one of Dr John Sarno’s books and ultimately set off on my first visit to the US to learn from him. Having rarely travelled on my own prior to this, that visit to New York in 2007 was the start of a number of work related journeys to, not only the US, but also Italy. Lake Maggiore was the beautiful venue for a 2 day course I was asked to run for employees of the EEC who were suffering from chronic pain, which was a new and exciting challenge.
I feel incredibly grateful for all the support I have had during my journey to being able to not just help my patients manage their pain, but actually help them recover, which can often be life changing. Not only was Dr Sarno so supportive, but also other Specialists, such as Howard Schubiner MD and Dave Clarke MD have been very generous with their time and support. In Howard’s case, even inviting me to stay with him and his wife for the first ever conference in this field, which he organized in 2009.
The following conference was in Los Angeles in 2010 and I am indebted to a lovely lady who funded my flights to ensure that I was able to attend the conference and therefore be able to continue developing my work. After resisting the offer initially, I acquiesced when she suggested I accept it as a ‘pay it forward’ loan. This was such a wonderful gesture and when I have been able to offer support in any way to others since then, I have also suggested they do the same.
So, my journey to being able to develop awareness in the UK of this approach to resolving the numerous conditions that are stress-induced, both amongst health professionals via my SIRPA Training and to people in pain, has been enabled by a number of different people to whom I feel very grateful. I know there is a long way to go yet, but I am going home with a determination to continue towards my goal of having this concept widely understood and accepted within the medical world and the general public before I retire!
I have a good few years yet, but I recognize that when trying to change widely believed paradigms, it can take a long time. When you look at some of the examples below, you can see just how big a challenge those of us working in this field have taken on as we attempt to change the widespread belief that pain is due to a physical cause.
Examples of changes in paradigms that took years to become widely accepted, include:
This might seem daunting, but I really believe that things are changing and these days people are becoming fed up with the limited help available to people with chronic pain, despite all the medical advancements and technology. Times are changing and I feel very grateful for being a part of this revolutionary and often life changing approach to the resolution of chronic pain.