Chronic Pain or Illness

Living with chronic pain or long-term illness can be devastating and often brings up feelings of grief, fear, sadness or anger. Sometimes just getting a diagnosis can be difficult and navigating treatment options can be overwhelming and exhausting. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems facing people with chronic pain. Whether you are struggling to accept a recent diagnosis or you’ve been experiencing chronic pain for some time, a mental health expert can help. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s specialists today.

Meet the specialists

Navigating chronic illness along with mental health symptoms can be difficult, but you don't have to go it alone. I can help you utilize tools to successfully manage these conditions and have the best quality of life for you and for your family.

— Kellie Collins, Licensed Professional Counselor in Lake Oswego, OR

My graduate, internship and postdoctoral training were all in health psychology / behavioral medicine. I have experience helping people cope with cancer, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, pain, headaches, rheumatologic illnesses, organ transplant, illness anxiety and somatic symptoms. I also have training and experience completing evaluations for bariatric surgery and can conduct evaluations for this and other surgical or medical procedures.

— Dr. Laura Simonelli, Psychologist in Harleysville, PA

If you are struggling with how to live a meaningful life, through therapy I can help you navigate the cycles of relapse and recovery of chronic illness so that you can find more meaning and joy again; to help you find the “real you” again. Over the course of your therapy, we’ll talk about how you view yourself, and how others have responded to you. We’ll gain a better understanding on how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors positively or negatively impact your coping. We’ll discuss your relationships and practice assertiveness so that you can feel connected with people again while respecting yourself and what your body needs. We’ll figure out ways to organize your daily tasks (e.g., medication regimen, daily movement or exercise, special care needs, taking care of your home and people who rely on you) so that you won’t feel so overwhelmed or tired. As therapy progresses, you’ll feel more in control, you won’t blame yourself so much, you’ll have fewer bothersome thoughts, you won’t live in denial about your illness, you will have a better sense of your physical and emotional boundaries, and you’ll connect with others who support and love you for who you are. Essentially, you’ll learn strategies to help you regroup faster and easier when you have a relapse. Towards these goals, we use a variety of evidence-based therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

— Melissa Leedy, Counselor in Broken Arrow, OK

As if excruciating levels of daily pain and the loss of normal function weren't difficult enough, chronic pain and illness often lead to emotional struggles like anxiety, depression, loneliness, shame, and trauma. While I don't have the power to ease your physical suffering, I can help you in your journey to combat your emotional suffering.

— Meg Hrivnak, Marriage & Family Therapist in Kingsport, TN

Do you have chronic pain and find yourself anxious all the time about being in pain? Or notice a connection to stress and the impact on your body? Research shows that early childhood trauma increases our risk of chronic pain or illness. I am a mind/body therapist trained in somatic psychotherapy approaches for healing trauma, particularly how emotions and physiology connect. I also bring 18 years working with clients with chronic pain as a Feldenkrais practitioner, that informs my therapy work.

— Eveline Wu, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Oakland, CA

Chronic conditions can test every aspect of our lives. Through a diagnosis of Type I Diabetes for over 30 years, I do understand. Life and experiences don't always revolve around a diagnosis either. I understand how important it is to be a whole person and not just a label or to give a label too much power. Spiritual and personal transformation can emerge through the acceptance of chronic conditions (even just accepting the chronic condition we call life). I believe we are doing our best.

— Andrea Rábago, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX

I have personal experience in living with debilitating chronic illness and fully understand the tremendous complications and confusion the symptoms can lead to in day to day living.

— Brenda Benjamin, Counselor in Grandville, MI

I began my professional life as a medical student in 1980. I completed 3 years of medical school before my own chronic illness made it impossible to continue. I continued my education in public health and learned the skills of a health educator. Because of this background I am able to understand what is happening medically with a client, I think out of the box when it comes to providing mental health counseling to a person who faces health challenges, and I work well with medical teams providing treatment. I began my counseling experience at the Center for Attitudinal Healing in Houston where I facilitated support groups for persons facing catastrophic and terminal illness. I use a number of techniques including existential exploration of the meaning of illness, guided imagery and relaxation techniques to address pain, and cognitive behavior therapy.

— Cathryn Glenday, Counselor in Albuerque, NM

One of the first surprises I discovered when I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis was the sheer exhaustion of chronic pain. I have learned to specialize with chronic pain as I've had to heal my own. I provide nutritional counseling, and mindfulness therapies to improve overall pain management. My partner provides yoga and massage to aid you in increasing flexibility and function.

— Jon Fenton, Mental Health Counselor in Portland, OR

I have worked with many individuals who suffer with chronic pain conditions. I found that most times the hardest part is the loneliness of chronic pain, especially when it comes from a condition that is not visible to others. People often understand hardship if they can see some proof, but for most painful conditions the proof is not evident. This leaves patients feeling misunderstood and alone in their suffering.

— Mariana Carabantes, Clinical Psychologist in Coral Gables, FL

My own experience with has given me sight nad a unique lens to work with clients who also live chronic illness.

— Jill Pressley, Counselor in Austin, TX

Many of my clients are dealing with chronic illnesses, including lime disease, chronic fatigue, and HPA axis dysregulation. It is important to me to support these clients on their journey of acceptance and healing. The issue of chronic illness is personal to me as well as professional. My mother has survived (and thrived), with courage and grace, a chronic illness throughout her life.

— Sarah Murphy, Counselor in Bryn Mawr, PA

Being a therapist who lives with Chronic Illness gives me a unique perspective to work with, support, and empathize with clients who struggle with Chronic Illness or Pain. I have lived with my own Chronic Illness for over a decade and know the difficulties, confusion, and frustrations that I have faced during that time. I have experienced how certain kinds of support have helped me to live an empowered and fulfilling life, even with the difficulties and pain of my Chronic Illness. As a therapist I feel called to support and assist those who are experiencing the pain, confusion, and hardships that Chronic Illness brings with it. I desire to support people with Chronic Illness in living empowered, self-compassionate, and satisfying lives.

— Eric Young, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, CA

Often times the pain and illness can create other barriers and issues that the person doesn't realize when they make the appointment, but together we can find what the barriers may be, and what the new normal for the person can look like. I have personal experience with chronic pain in illness also that I feel can help the person coming to therapy in a deeper way as a Breast Cancer Survivor myself.

— Erin Gray, Counselor in Lake Mary, FL

I have expertise in behavioral medicine so I work with people living with chronic pain and chronic illness. I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy for pain which is considered one of the best non-medical treatments for chronic pain. Pain is real but I can help you find a way to improve your quality of life while living with pain. Similarly, living with a chronic illness, like cancer, can be difficult and I will help you find ways to live your best life while dealing with your illness.

— Sari Chait, Psychologist in Newton, MA

Using a somatic, holistic approach and collaboration with medical professionals, I support individuals with chronic illness to experience less physical and emotional pain and suffering. From Fibromyalgia to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (through, resolving old trauma and finding a sense of peace from within provides the opportunity for improvement in both the mind and body.

— Amanda Edwards, Licensed Professional Counselor in Parker, CO

I have worked extensively with clients living with HIV/AIDS and related chronic health concerns.

— Lauren Lewis, Licensed Professional Counselor in Loveland, CO

I have post graduate training in supporting people with chronic pain and illness, and have lived with chronic migraines myself for the past 20 years.

— Jennifer Schermerhorn, Counselor in Black Mountain, NC

I have personally experienced living with debilitating chronic illness and understand the tremendous complications and confusion the symptoms can lead to in day to day living.

— Brenda Benjamin, Counselor in Grandville, MI

I offer a unique blend of health education and counseling approaches to learn how to cope with Crohn's , heart disease or cancer. We will look at your mindset, your unconscious rules and tools, and your behaviors to select the right coping mechanisms and ways you can free yourself as much as possible, from these effects so that you can create a meaningful life no matter what the outcome.

— Todd Schmenk, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Providence, RI