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Is What You’re Doing Getting You the Life You Want?

This interview is from the Like Mind, Like Body podcast. You can listen to the full interview below, on iTunes or Google Podcasts.


Dr. Les Aria found his love in an unlikely place - a chronic pain clinic. For the past 16 years, Dr. Aria’s passion been helping skeptics to believe that pain psychology can help to reduce their physical symptoms. Dr. Aria serves as the Lead Pain Psychologist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Northern California, and has helped countless patients put doubt in their pocket and open their minds to a new way of thinking about pain. Join us to hear more about his unique approach.

Looking to dive deep into the science behind chronic pain? Dr. Aria is hosting a virtual 3-day course on January 22-24, 2021 to provide both patients and clinicians a deep understanding of an emerging approach to chronic pain. Learn more about the "Solving Chronic Pain Summit: A New Pathway to Relief" and sign up to attend here.

You can also hear more from Dr. Aria at his YouTube page, where he teaches proven skills to pause our emotionally, reactive, and habitual habits, and replace them with mindfulness and value-driven life choices.

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Curable is an online program that uses proven mindbody techniques to reduce chronic pain.

Let's go over a brief explanation of your field, which is called Rehabilitation Psychology. You said in an interview once that Rehabilitation Psychology has to do with the physical conditioning of someone through the mind. What do you mean by that exactly?

I break it down into three different components: the brain is like the laptop, the hardware is the body and the software that runs it is the mind. The mind is very, very closely connected with the brain and body to the nervous system. And ultimately when you are struggling with chronic pain or chronic medical conditions and you find yourself not having the right mindset, what happens is it tends to impact the other aspects: the brain and the body.

So having the right set of mind, for example having more compassion for oneself and learning to recognize that everything that your mind says is not the truth, is important. When it comes to chronic pain, when we buy into all those thoughts it really runs havoc in both our brain and body.

One thing that many people find surprising about this sort of approach to treating chronic pain is that the work you do often yields great results for patients with whom many physical biggest treatments have failed. Why do you think that is?

I think it's because we're looking for the needle in the wrong haystack. What I mean by that is it's not that those treatments - I call them traditional medical or biomedical treatments - it's not that they are wrong or not helpful. It's just that it does not complete the whole person in the healing process. The mind, again the software of the brain and the body, is really crucial. In fact, when treatment fails it's not so much that it failed, it actually hit its limits, like a credit card.

What the mindbody work interventions can be used for, just as curable does and as I do in my office, is to basically expand on it. Just think of having a greater set of loans or a higher credit card limit so to speak. We're able to expand on where biomedical treatment leaves off. So I basically put patients in the two categories: pain recovery and pain management. And where pain management stops (the traditional medical treatments) that's where pain recovery can pick up, if the patient is open and receptive to a different approach that is.

[this is an excerpt only - for the full episode, listen to the podcast above]

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