Step 1: Accept The Diagnosis
A key to getting well from TMS is understanding and believing the diagnosis! The TMS pain process occurs, we believe, in order for the unconscious mind to hide "unacceptable" emotions. It is a form of distraction.
When this TMS process is exposed, the symptoms begin to resolve. Accepting the diagnosis also pushes aside fears of a damaging structural condition that may reside in your belief system.
Treatment For TMS
The treatment program begins with the diagnosis, which is typically made at the time of the initial consultation. A home program--materials that are educational, brain-focused, and psychological--is often advised after diagnosis and is an important part of the treatment.
Patients are typically seen for a 45 minute initial consultation. Usually a follow-up visit at 3-4 weeks is advised and additional follow-up is scheduled as required. Follow-up visits can be done via phone or teleconference (e.g. Doxy.me or Doximity) if you come from out of town. In 2020, many telemedicine options, contact the office.
The program of treatment is about empowering people to get well (not to become dependent on the practitioner) and therefore involves fewer visits than other approaches to chronic pain. Homework is essential and psychotherapy sessions are often very important, as well. (referrals)
Step 2: Think Psychologically
The second part of the treatment process is learning to think psychologically, not physically. By this we mean focusing on emotional tension and your internal response to external events and not on prior, conventional, mechanical or so-called structural explanations for your pain. We also teach a cognitive system of blocking, then shifting attention that is very effective. (a form of self-talk)
It then becomes crucial to gradually become more physically active; this further causes the apprehension and fear to diminish.
Patients with intense, long-lasting, or debilitating symptoms benefit from seeing a TMS trained psychotherapist. In the LA area I am fortunate to have developed professional relationships with a good number of psychotherapists who have evolved over years of working with me into "TMS Therapists". More than one has successfully treated his own pain via a TMS model. Some of these therapists are skilled in telephone or skype therapy, ideally after an initial face-to-face session or two.
Therefore, out of town patients may wish to schedule with Dr. Schechter to confirm the diagnosis, and if able to stay in Los Angeles for several days, "quick intensive" programs can be arranged. Follow-up is done on the telephone with Dr. Schechter and/or the psycho-therapist, where indicated.
While not every patient needs to see a psychologist as part of their TMS treatment, I find that the percentage of those that benefit from therapy is quite high. In my experience, I use this collaborative treatment model more than is cited in earlier books. (Dr. Sarno's)
If you see a psychotherapist in your area who is not familiar with TMS, suggest they learn more about this disorder via the web site, written materials, audio-program, and/or DVD.
For most of our patients, the daily journaling is a key part of the treatment program and recovery process.
updated August 2020
MindBody medicine will help you
use your mind to relieve your pain.
This book has changed many lives.