Thursday, March 10, 2011


Wendy Edey and Rachel Stege
(reprinted from the Grey Nuns Women's Welness Newsletter, Spring 2011)
We at the Hope Foundation put a lot of emphasis on hope, strengths and resources in our work with groups of people who have chronic pain. We ask people to share their wisdom with each other. Getting attention and help from professionals is one of the MOST common issues raised by participants in our hope and strengths groups for people with chronic pain. We collect a lot of knowledge from the group members in our process of developing hope by drawing attention to personal strengths and resources. The main issue with chronic pain, from a hope perspective, is that it doesn’t go away. This tests the courage of the sufferers, but also of the people who use their professional skills to relieve the pain. That said, our group members have a lot of good ideas about how to build good relationships with doctors, physiotherapists and other helpers. Here are some of the ideas they have shared with us.
Respect the fact that people are busy and make the most of the time you have. Anticipate common questions and have answers prepared. Focus on the problems you want to address. You may have many needs, but limit yourself to asking for those things that fit the work of this professional. Go in with a list of questions you want answered. Keep a diary of incidents or changes related to your condition and take it in with you.
Help professionals work efficiently as a team. You will benefit if they know what others are doing for you. Make it easy for them to communicate by gathering up business cards and giving them to other team members. Ask for copies of test results from one place and take them with you to appointments at other places.
Appeal to the human side. We all need encouragement. Express appreciation for what has been done, even if you feel that more should be done. Talk about what you have been doing for yourself. Learn the professional jargon and speak in a language that fits the situation.
Finally, don’t give up after the first few tries. Network to find helpful professionals. Ask others what has helped them. Do research to learn all you can about your condition.
Your motivation will help motivate others, and their motivation to help you will keep you moving forward.

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