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Title: The problem of pain : a heuristic and structural existential analysis of unexplained physical pain
Author: Christophy, Christos
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 6543
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2017
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available