First off, your pain is REAL. Yes, that's right. Despite what anyone tells you, it is not "just in your head."
Ten years ago, the Institute of Medicine (2011) provided a consensus report indicating 110 million people in America have chronic pain, resulting in as much as a $635 billion revenue loss for the country.
Rebecca specializes in the area of chronic pain known as Tension Myoneural Syndrome or The Mind Body Syndrome (TMS), a term coined by Dr. John Sarno of New York Medical Center. This condition has also been called Psychophysiologic Disorder (PPD) and The Smart Brain Syndrome, a term coined by Dr. Lonnie Zeltzer, founder of Creative Healing for Youth in Pain (chyp), to describe highly intelligent brains that have acquired overactive receptors that allow for more pain pathways to develop.
Some conditions created from The Mind Body Syndrome (TMS) include IBS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic regional pain syndrome (CPRS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), whiplash, tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, pelvic pain, low back pain, neck pain, chemical sensitivities, insomnia, sciatic pain syndrome, panic attacks, or other pain symptoms with no known structural cause, known as medically unexplained symptoms (MUS).
Due to these overactive receptors, clients with TMS pain may experience perfectionistic, creative, and sensitive personality characteristics. The good news is that just like the pain was learned through the brain, the pain can be unlearned. Therapy can completely resolve or drastically improve pain symptoms.
The following Ted Talk by clinical neuroscientist, Lorimer Moseley, helps explain how specific danger signals, even from the misinformed medical environment, elicit neural pathway pain:
(TED-Ed, 2011, November 21).
IBD (Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis) Diabetes Pulmonary Hypertension Heart disease
Lung disease Sickle Cell Anemia Hashimoto's Disease STDs, STIs HIV/AIDs
Although Rebecca can't free you from your chronic illnesses, she can help you manage your stress from a psychological perspective and be an addition to your collaborative, health team.
Rebecca agrees that ". . . our early emotional stories determine the body and brain's operating system and how well they will be able to guard our optimal physical and emotional health all of our adult lives." (Nakazawa, 2015, p. 58).
As a result, she strives to help you process these old stories and reduce your physical and emotional pain. Rebecca helps client's process the emotions that come with a new diagnosis, surgeries, "foreign" implantations, emergency medical procedures, medical distrust, misdiagnose(s), medical negligence, new medication and/or nutrition regimens, advocating for oneself at work and school, financial complications, and family stress. Rebecca helps clients understand that they deserve to be heard and not be dismissed as number in the medical system. Rebecca specializes in helping those who suffer from these "invisible illnesses" where others, even own family members, don't believe them and tell them to push through the pain, creating even more pain! Rebecca helps client process the deep shame often associated with chronic illnesses, and consequently, the desire to prove oneself. Through this work, clients feel EMPOWERED to accept their whole selves.
Caregiver Burnout Work / School Burnout New Mom Burnout Cultural & Systemic Burnout
Rebecca's mind-body approach helps clients release stress in the body and develop strategies to increase resources to cope with overwhelming demands.
Complex Medical Burnout
Rebecca helps her clients delve into conscious and unconscious stressors. For clients with a medical history, this could entail stress on the body due to repeated surgeries.
"Stress reactions do occur in lower animals, and even in plants, that have no nervous systems.... Indeed, stress can be produced under deep anaesthesia in patients who are unconscious, and even in cell cultures grown outside the body." Similarly, stress effects can be highly active in persons who are fully awake, but who are in the grip of unconscious emotions or cut off from their body responses. The physiology of stress may be triggered without observable effects on behaviour and without subjective awareness, as has been shown in animal experiments and in human studies" (Maté, 2003, p. 28).
Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety and depression can manifest as insomnia, over or undereating, isolation, lack of motivation, rumination, distractibility, repetitive unwanted thoughts, difficulty breathing, or pain in one's body. Rebecca helps clients explore what they are uniquely experiencing, as well as understand how these symptoms are affecting all areas of their lives.
Relational Grief & Couples Work
"Our painful experiences aren't a liability- they're a gift. They give us perspective and meaning, an opportunity to find our unique purpose and strength" (Eger, 2017, p. 237).
Transitions in clients' lives, whether through job loss, death of a loved one, relationship loss, identity loss, illness, a new child, career change, emerging adulthood, caregiving, or retirement can be scary. Rebecca assists clients in exploring this fear and any associated losses.
From an unconventional view, many adverse experiences, such as sexual trauma, medical trauma, childhood neglect, emotional, and physical abuse are all types of losses.
Many of these previous losses/ transitions can affect a couples relationship. Rebecca works alongside Jennifer Musselman, LMFT, to provide co-couples therapy so that each partner feels heard. During couples work, the two clinicians utilize a non-judgmental, relational approach building on emotion-focused therapy, the Gottman method, and non-violent communication.
Distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity no longer need to be the enemy. Rebecca's strength-based approach helps the client, once given the right resources and treatment, notice their strengths as their biggest asset and "golden ticket" to navigating this unfamiliar world. Her clients report feeling more confident in their ability to pursue their dreams with a new found sense of self-esteem.
Rebecca has a special interest in helping adult woman with ADHD who are often misdiagnosed due to societal limitations (Young et al., 2020).
In addition to helping the client develop behavioral strategies, Rebecca helps the client resolve core emotional conflicts for long-term treatment efficacy.