I often see how family tensions can compound the problems when I discuss how to manage pain with clients and their families in my pain psychology clinics in Milton Keynes and Bedford.
Communication, or lack of it can be a big issue here. Often when someone is in pain they can become withdrawn and silent. This can make family members feel that they have done something wrong, or that they are powerless to help.
If you are finding family communications difficult, here are some of the things which I advise.
For both of you:
Make a regular time to talk. Even if it is just five minutes, set aside time. Think about how to put this: ‘let’s just have a catch up,’ ‘let’s have a few minutes to decide what we will do later,’ ‘let’s have a quick chat so you can tell me how you feel today,’.
By doing this, both of you, the person in pain and the other family member are signalling that your relationship is worth this time and attention. That will be giving a good positive message to your subconscious and putting things on a positive footing.
If you have fallen into bad communication habits make a conscious effort to move on and get things back on track. For example, choose a new spot for your chats; somewhere pleasant, perhaps the garden or your favourite room, perhaps change the time.
Keep this time free from distractions. Turn off the mobile, don’t answer the doorbell. Speaking as a family is important so give it the time it deserves.
To help a person in pain:
Be mindful and pay attention to how you sound. It is amazing how this can make a difference. Practice keeping your voice gentle, low and calm and you will feel better. Try it and see.
Really listen. If you are trying to help someone with pain then remember you do not need to have all the answers. A listening ear, time and kindness counts as much. Comfort can come from a nod at the right time.
If you are in pain: help your family to help you:
Share and explore. It is possible to control your pain but it can take some time to find what works for you. If you are attending one of my hypnosis for pain clinics then you will have a whole number of tools, techniques and routines to support and help you. (If you are not already seeing me you might want to try out some of my techniques at home (link to products)
Share how you are using these and which you like best with your nearest and dearest. You may even find there are some techniques, for example pleasant visualisations, which can be used and enjoyed by your family.
I hope this helps. Next time we will look at family routines.