The problem of pain: a heuristic and structural existential analysis of unexplained physical pain

Thesis


Christophy, C. 2017. The problem of pain: a heuristic and structural existential analysis of unexplained physical pain. Thesis Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC) Psychology
TitleThe problem of pain: a heuristic and structural existential analysis of unexplained physical pain
AuthorsChristophy, C.
Abstract

This study was undertaken to increase understanding of recovery from chronic pain in the absence of medical intervention. Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that inflicts significant human suffering and costs the economy of the Western world £billions each year. Despite advances in modern medicine pain remains poorly understood and difficult to treat.
Applying a heuristic methodology, an in-depth exploration was conducted into the author’s personal experience of recovery and participants (N=8) who had recovered from chronic pain were interviewed.
The results indicate:
• Chronic pain is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that serves a purpose and has personal meaning.
• Pain serves as a non-verbal communication whose meaning can be revealed through tuning in to the felt sense of the experience.
• Medical approaches were ineffective and often exacerbated pain.
• Recovery occurred after all medically prescribed interventions had been exhausted and participants hit rock-bottom. This triggered a radical epistemological shift from the commonly held medical perspective into one that considers the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of the experience.
• Chronic pain is difficult to define within the realms of medical pathology and might be alternatively viewed as a healthy response to an unhealthy social system and world which are inextricably linked to the body.
• Adult chronic pain was associated with physical pain during childhood as well as repressed childhood trauma.
• Key factors in recovery were engaging in a deep personal exploration that involved: (a) remembering and acknowledging childhood adversity, (b) reflecting on the current circumstances of life, (c) challenging previously held views of pain that were based on a medical understanding, (d) Confronting pain and the fear of pain, and (e) making significant life changes.

LanguageEnglish
Department namePsychology
Institution nameMiddlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Publication dates
Print02 Aug 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Aug 2017
Accepted29 Jul 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Permalink -

https://repository.mdx.ac.uk/item/871ww

Download files


Accepted author manuscript
  • 32
    total views
  • 19
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 2
    downloads this month

Export as