Can Psychology help with managing pain? Dr Shelley Bennett, Clinical Psychologist, Ocean Physio & Rehab

Can Psychology help with managing pain? Dr Shelley Bennett, Clinical Psychologist, Ocean Physio & Rehab

Why see a Psychologist for help with managing pain?

The answer to this lies in the complexity of pain, particularly persistent pain.

Our experience of pain is not a straightforward process and can affect many aspects of people’s lives.

It can therefore take a combination of approaches and professionals to assist people in the road to recovery.

For example, a Doctor may help with diagnosis and prescribe necessary medication; a Physiotherapist might assist in regaining strength, movement and function and a Psychologist will tackle the impact that pain can have on people; their mood, confidence, relationships, work and so on.

By achieving these goals together, we help people to discover the means by which they can calm a sensitised nervous system, influence their pain experience and rebuild their lives.

Understanding why things hurt can really help. This video by renowned Pain Specialist Lorimer Moseley helps to explain things.

How do Psychologists help? Top Tips:

  • Help people to understand their pain: the impact on their beliefs (and vice versa); the impact on their behaviour; and how to break the vicious circle
  • Improve lifestyle factors e.g. sleep, diet, exercise
  • Help people to learn what their needs are and communicate them to others, e.g. develop assertiveness skills
  • Help people to confront and process trauma related issues that may precede or interact with pain conditions
  • Behavioural activation and development of achievable goals; short and long term.
  • Learn greater self-compassion
  • Develop mindfulness skills
  • Learn relaxation to reduce bodily tension and stress, factors that can otherwise wind pain up.

Psychologists work in a non-judgemental and collaborative way, helping people to make sense of their situation, and what they can do about it.

Whilst they do not set out to take someone’s pain away, they do set out to help people to feel less of a victim to their pain.  I draw upon a range of therapeutic techniques and tailor my approach to the individual.

Self-management is often a priority in my work, and can require the development of greater self-compassion.

This doesn’t mean taking the easy route however, it means taking responsibility for one’s own needs, finding the courage and strength to consider new paths, learn new strategies and embrace change.

As well as pain management, I support people with a whole range of common mental health issues including anxieties, panic, depression, relationship problems, work stress, health related stress, loss, trauma, bereavement and performance issues. 

I may meet with someone once, or for an agreed number of sessions.

Telephone and skype are also possible.

Please get in touch if you feel I could be of support to you or you would like to drop in to the clinic for an informal introduction / chat.

I am available on Monday mornings in Woodbury and at the University campus on an individually agreed basis.

Email me on or tel: 01392 952890 or make contact through Ocean Physio.