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  1. Thank you so much for this post, which I’ve forwarded to a client suffering from trigeminal myalgia…
    In our Functional Integration sessions, we work to improve her function – naturally she is very ‘held’ against pain in her movement – and to soften the tone of her nervous system. She has also been discouraged from keeping a diary of the pain attacks. Very positive results from this approach and heartening to have it validated by neuroscientists.
    Thank you again

  2. Great information for a current client.
    I was very interested in Marsha Lucas’ topic on relationships. Is it possible for her to share that information at another time?

  3. I have been very interested in NICBM’s trauma series for both personal and professional reasons. I work as a RN in a Medical ICU and find many of your broadcasts very applicable for helping my patients as they go through the trauma of facing their mortality and fighting the emotional and physical pain of a prolonged hospitalization. I have been pleased that you have included our hospitalized patients in the series. I haven’t watched/listened to this series, but as I read the comments, I think I just may “go for the gold”!
    What I got out of Ruth’s description of the last broadcast was not from the example of the ice water but the next statement of “If you can get people back into their life activities, then they get the reassurance that, ‘I’m not going to be disabled by this. I’m going to be able to live a life, even though it hurts.” What a challenge this is! Sometimes one cannot “get over” pain, whether it is physical or emotional. The choice then is to learn how to live with it…in spite of.
    I spent years avoiding the emotional pain of past traumas and experienced the frequent “trigger” reactions when reminders came across my path. I remember well the day that my counselor told me that he wanted me to “lean into” my pain. I thought he had no idea of what he was thinking! Because I trust him, I have been learning how to do this very difficult but necessary part of healing. Over the past 3 years I have learned how to “lean into” pain by accepting it’s reality and “sitting with it”. I have learned that “pain and joy can sit side by side and watch the same sunset.” There are some things in life that one cannot “get over”. There are physical conditions that do not get better. I have met many amazing people through my job and in my own community who have found a way to choose and have succeeded in this choice “to be able to live a life, even though it hurts.” It is a HUGE challenge and I am grateful for the role models who show by example and teach how to navigate life’s unfair and many painful happenings. I am grateful for the many wonderful therapists, psychologists, social workers, doctors, pastors, researchers and the staff of NICBM for taking the time to do this research, study the effects of what does and doesn’t work and share what they learn as we all “limp” along together in life.
    I also liked the below statement of:
    “…what people have found most effective is to first of all shift the whole emphasis from, ‘How do I get the pain to be less?’ which had been the emphasis in most chronic pain treatment for a very long period of time, to ‘How do I get function back?’ In other words: ‘How do I get to live my life? Instead of directing my focus (with vigilant anxiety) on pain sensations…”
    I spent many years finding ways to “make the pain to be less”. I am now learning how to live my life in spite of pain and with. It is not easy, but it is worth it. I have consistent memories that bring joy because “pain, my tag-a-long friend” didn’t get to choose how “we” were going to spend the day. Keep up the great work everyone! 🙂

    • Well said… especially applied to painful thoughts. I love the sunset quote.

  4. This series is wonderful. I do have some concerns about the language used. I’m afraid that people with MS or similar illnesses may feel guilty because they can neither control no improve their situation.
    As great as recognizing that neuroplasticity can help most people perhaps a qualifying statement could be made so that self blame doesn’t rear it’s ugly head among those struck down with a neuroligical impairment.
    I say all this realizing that this field is in it’s infancy but perhaps this could be addressed.
    Thanks Anne

  5. I listened with great interest to the Porges talk; the thinking around all of this work and change is so inspiring. Porges mentioned Gene Gendlin’s Focusing as one mode of working with clients and as a teacher of the focusing process I wanted to suggest that maybe you could invite Ann Weiser Cornell to give a talk on Focusing in relation to the change process, chronic pain and trauma.
    Ann Weiser Cornell is one of the leading Focusing teachers in the world. Focusing is a profound and simple method of working with the felt sense. The work develops the capacity to identify what is being felt in the body and to explicate from there. This awareness skill facilitates the capacity to come into relationship with and be with the unfolding of trauma in the body. Ann’s website is

  6. I need a LOT more information on the approach to chronic pain briefly touched on in Dr. Doidge’s segment and by Ron Siegel’s remarks above. I have a patient with a long history of chronic pain, who has tried (quite valiantly) to get function back. His efforts have not proved fruitful, and he is now mired in the belief that he will never get function back, and in fact the limited function that he still has is waning. He sees no hope and longs for death. Please, is there more specific information available on the issue of chronic pain? I also saw, a little further down, comments from another person (Joann Ostern) who felt that what has been presented so far is not practically helpful. She, like me, does not see how the hands-in-ice-water has a practical application in the therapy office.
    I know your current Brain Science series is nearing its close, and I don’t expect that you can immediately answer my questions. Is there information available, articles you can cite, that would provide practical use? PLEASE help. I find that people who have long years of pain history reach a hopeless/helpless stance, and it is very difficult to arouse even glimmers of hope. As a therapist, I can state that it becomes difficult to help these patients without being sucked into their gloom.

  7. I’m happy to have a chance to give feedback. My comment is relative to the last two speakers. I understand the presentation but don’t have a clue about how it relates to individuals in a counselling therapy setting. For me the research presented was far afield from practical application. Even the quoted hands in ice water story does’nt relate. I have a husband with severe chronic pain issues. Suggesting that he tell himself that he only has to endure it for a specific short period of time or even just for this moment, doesn’t help. The research situation may be totally different. This is real life!!!!!It doesn’t have a ratopnal stopping point. Some short term situation is school might benefit, but telling yourself it’s only for these few moments doesn’t help in a chroic pain situation. I have been very discouraged in the applicability of the last two speakers.

    • Sadly, you missed the whole point. Choosing to focus attention on small positive steps toward valued goals puts you in a mindset of empowerment. The source of pain is still the same, but the brain cannot focus on pain and pleasure at the same time, so each time you choose to focus on what you can do, it takes the focus off what you cannot do… each time you choose to focus on the parts of you that are not in pain, it takes the focus off the parts of you that are in pain. The point is, we all have a choice how much attention we pay to how our pain is behaving. The less we focus on it, the more we are able to function in spite of it, and the less we focus on it, the less intense it feels. The person facing 2 minutes of Ice Bath Pain allowed fear and pain to consume their thoughts. The lesser time made it easier for the other to look beyond fear and pain, but even when the pain seems to have no end, staring at it and anticipating more will make it worse. Choosing to focus on anything else will begin to diminish it’s intensity. It is a choice and it does take practice. No body said it would be easy, just that it would work.

  8. Not just physical pain: for me, the ‘recovery of function’ idea resonated with the wisdom, in 12-Step, of “One Day at a Time”, and thus a way to fuel courage to stay in recovery….Also respected the comment about Alexander Technique, which is , as a body-mind modality, under-recognised.

  9. As an Alexander Technique (AT)Teacher, I couldn’t be more impressed with the discussion of “function” over concentrating on pain, that was talked about above. In the AT, we help people with what we call “Direction” which reminds the person of their best functioning alignment, rather than “concentrating” on the area of pain. I have witnessed the success of this approach over the many years I have taught this mind/body work.

  10. My husband and I have gotten so much out of this series. We have each struggled with neurological issues that have caused tremendous problems in our lives. We use tools such as these free webinars to help us learn ways to improve and better our lives. It has helped so much. We would love to be able to see the addtional sessions with Ron and Joan. If you decide to make them available to the general public at no cost, please send out another email! These tools sound VERY helpful to so many people. You have no idea the difference you are making in the world. There are many like us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • Dear Angela,
      What a lovely idea Angela – partners watching the webinars together. Thank you for such a warm and thoughtful comment. I was moved to hear your story, and I’m so glad the series is making a difference for you and your husband.
      We wish we could but we can’t release the gold membership to everyone for free. Not counting the speakers, it takes over 16 people on NICABM’s staff, working full and part time to do what we do to produce this series. We work long hours and try to pay each person fairly for their contributions.
      We really count on the folks who are able to help out by paying for the series in exchange for getting the extra stuff and for having the convenience of listening/watching whenever they’d like. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to continue making this and our other series and be able to offer them for free.
      Thanks again for your note and I’m so glad the series has been helpful to you both. I thank you for making the time out of your busy schedule to watch them. Oh and be sure to watch next week. The webinar with Pat Ogden will be awesome.

      • Hello Angela, May I offer a thought? Because I am mostly retired now…old age, ya’ know, and my own recovery journey taking precedence I too deeply appreciate these wonderful seminars that NICABM makes available at no cost. I have learned so much! Managed and ran businesses/depts as well and understand the costs involved. So how can I help? pay it back? I asked myself. I have many wonderful friends and rellies still working in various fields who can afford a membership and who I’ve had the honor to introduce to NICABM’s work. Then when we chat on the phone or share emails or letters, et al I get to ask them questions about pieces I missed or didn’t get down in my notes…..and we do our own ‘mini-seminar’ with one another, continue deepening our relationships, and anchor the info more firmly, etc, etc, etc. An all win, we think!

  11. I wonder if any of your guests or talk back speakers are familiar with Bowenwork, an Australian hands-on therapy that can dramatically reduce pain in a few sessions? I’d love to know their take on the role of the brain in manual therapies that aid healing!
    As an alternative therapy, research funding is hard to come by, but Bowenwork believes that the brain is being influenced via the fascial communication pathways.