Kellie S. Ffrench, Ph.D., P.A.

Licensed Psychologist

If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia And You’re Considering Counseling, It Doesn’t Mean Your Illness Is All “In Your Head.”

How Understanding the Mind-Body Connection of Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Can Set You Free

Did you know that studies have found an important link between Fibromyalgia symptoms and overwhelming negative emotion, including anger, guilt, and shame? Also, research suggests that people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia tend to show similar characteristics that may help to keep them stuck in their symptoms and sometimes even make their symptoms worse.

Examples of these characteristics are:

• Difficulty expressing negative emotion, such as anger

• Difficulty putting your personal needs in front of other people’s needs

• Giving until it “hurts”

• History of depression and anxiety

Do these characteristics sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. Many women with Fibromyalgia struggle with finding a balance between being generous to others and being generous to themselves. It is likely that the people in your life enjoy your kindness and generosity, and have learned to rely on you for many things. As a result, your own needs become less and less of a priority, until your body is yelling for love and attention! A lot of us don’t listen to those messages our bodies are sending us until illness has developed.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, keep in mind that this mind-body relationship does not mean that Fibromyalgia is all in your head, or that you must have psychological problems if you have Fibromyalgia. You are experiencing real medical symptoms as a result of this illness, including muscle pain, tenderness in specific areas of your body, fatigue, and problems with sleep, among others.

Instead, think of the mind-body connection as an important relationship that needs to be acknowledged and witnessed in order for true healing to take place.

Many people that are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia experience roadblocks, or obstacles, to getting healthy.

Common Roadblocks to Health For People Coping with Fibromyalgia Symptoms

1. Dealing with skeptical family and friends, particularly if you are still able to function reasonably well and don’t appear to be “ill.”

2. Getting a clear diagnosis, and enduring numerous medical tests.

3. Finding effective & long-lasting symptom relief.

You might feel that there is a piece missing from your medical treatment program that makes it hard for you to deal with these obstacles. That piece may be mental health treatment to help you understand your emotional and spiritual life and to cope with your illness.

I offer a treatment program for women diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. The goal of this program is to empower women to take a PRO-ACTIVE and INFORMED role in their health. In this program, you will learn:

1. The link between negative emotion and physical symptoms.

2. The role of Fibromyalgia in your life: How does it get in your way and how does it help you?

3. Coping with obstacles to health.

4. Taking care of your emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.

5. Changing negative thoughts to increase positive emotions and coping skills.

6. Gaining greater spiritual balance.

7. Honoring and listening to your body.

Importantself-exploration questions that will be explored in treatment:

• Do you notice that your Fibromyalgia symptoms seem to flare up when you are angry or upset?

• Do you have a hard time putting your needs before the needs of others?

• What lesson is your illness trying to teach you?