How to Choose a Chronic Pain Recovery Coach

The world of chronic pain recovery is going through a Renaissance period. The number of resources and practitioners in the field is growing rapidly, and that’s really exciting! Just a few years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find any online resources at all. These days, it’s hard to keep track of the many online programs, apps and practitioner directories that are aimed at helping you recover from chronic pain. (I’ve compiled some of them here, but the list keeps growing by the day.)

While this is great news, it can also make choosing a coach or online program overwhelming and confusing. Especially because one of the ingredients that contribute to chronic pain is a lack of self-trust and a belief that someone other than you has “the” magic solution to your recovery.

The truth is that we are each unique beings, and finding your unique path to healing is a bit like discovering your purpose in life:

  • Your path isn’t going to be the same as everybody else’s, because it’s your path!
  • Mentors and education can be a helpful and even life-transforming vehicle for exploring your path, but they can’t define your path for you.
  • Finding your path is not about finding the “right” set of rules to follow, it’s about learning how to trust your intuition — and seeking out the supportive people, places and resources that reflect your intuition back to you, helping you strengthen your self-trust.

So, if there isn’t a singular coach, mentor, doctor, therapist or program that’s right for every single person, how do you find a coach or program that’s a good fit for you?

Here’s what I suggest: Explore a bunch of different options and do a “vibe check.”

Contrary to popular myth, therapists, doctors and coaches are not omniscient, objective beings — they’re people with value systems, beliefs and viewpoints. Ideally, a pain recovery practitioner will be your ally in healing and growth. And when choosing an ally — like with choosing a friend — it’s important to discern whether or not you have enough shared values around the issues that are important to you.

A good starting point for assessing a practitioner’s values is to take a look at their website, social media, blog, podcast etc. and notice how their point of view feels to you.

For example, if you read my weekly emails or blog or follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably pick up on some characteristics that are specific to my personal style as a therapist and coach. Such as:

1️⃣ I talk about how the hierarchical culture we’re living in (otherwise known as patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, etc) creates our social social conditioning, and how this social conditioning (in the form of emotional suppression and self-harshness) feeds into chronic pain. I also talk about how we can unlearn our social conditioning and reclaim emotional freedom and self-kindness, both individually and collectively. In my view, this work isn’t just about healing from chronic pain, it’s about healing in a much broader sense.

2️⃣ I’ll never tell you that you need to trust my process in order to heal from chronic pain. My aim as a therapist and coach is to support you in learning how to trust your process by developing healthy communication between your mind and body. And I’ve got plenty of tools and resources to help you explore and discover your process!

3️⃣ I’m not just a licensed therapist and chronic pain recovery coach. I’m also a creative and an entrepreneur — I’m a lifelong writer and I had a career in television before becoming a therapist. I’m intimately familiar with all the particular ups and downs, strengths and challenges that come with the passionate creative’s recovery process!

To get a sense of what some other practitioners’ styles are like, you can use this resource list to start your exploration.

Bottom line: Go with your gut. Trust what feels right and what doesn’t. By doing so, you’re already engaging in the process of healing!

With love, encouragement and limitless faith in you,

💖 Anna


Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Anna Holtzman
Anna Holtzman
Anna Holtzman is a chronic pain recovery therapist and coach based in New York City.
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