Permission to Heal

Permission to Heal Episode #81 - A Conversation with Dr. Alan Weisser about Healing Therapy, Pain Management & Existential Questions

August 10, 2022 Marci Brockmann Season 2 Episode 81
Permission to Heal Episode #81 - A Conversation with Dr. Alan Weisser about Healing Therapy, Pain Management & Existential Questions
Permission to Heal
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Permission to Heal
Permission to Heal Episode #81 - A Conversation with Dr. Alan Weisser about Healing Therapy, Pain Management & Existential Questions
Aug 10, 2022 Season 2 Episode 81
Marci Brockmann

Permission to Heal Episode #81 - A Conversation with Dr. Alan Weisser about Healing Therapy, Pain Management & Existential Questions

Dr. Alan Weisser, JD, Ph.D., and his group at New Options, Inc., a pain management practice, have an extensive background in working with people's psychological problems when living with complex and chronic pain problems.

Focusing on collaborative and realistic goals and practices has provided support that empowered chronic pain patients to transition from dysfunction and disability to empowerment and recovery. He looks forward to sharing concepts and techniques for working with people suffering from chronic pain and medical conditions.

Dr. Weisser is uniquely qualified to lead others in experiences of self-discovery. His personal story led to an emerging need for a more profound change in his life.

His new book  - New Possibilities: Unraveling the Mystery & Mastering Chronic Pain  

Connect with Alan

His website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Courses

Connect with Marci

·       Website, Patreon, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Facebook Group.

·       Permission to Heal on YouTube.

·       Permission to Land  (memoir) - Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook 

-      Permission to Land: Personal Transformation Through Writing

Permission to Heal Bookshop - Buy books from the episodes & support independent bookstores. 

Permission to Heal is a passion of mine.  I need your help to bring more inspirational episodes to the world; please consider becoming a patron through PATREON. You get perks

Support the show

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Permission to Heal Episode #81 - A Conversation with Dr. Alan Weisser about Healing Therapy, Pain Management & Existential Questions

Dr. Alan Weisser, JD, Ph.D., and his group at New Options, Inc., a pain management practice, have an extensive background in working with people's psychological problems when living with complex and chronic pain problems.

Focusing on collaborative and realistic goals and practices has provided support that empowered chronic pain patients to transition from dysfunction and disability to empowerment and recovery. He looks forward to sharing concepts and techniques for working with people suffering from chronic pain and medical conditions.

Dr. Weisser is uniquely qualified to lead others in experiences of self-discovery. His personal story led to an emerging need for a more profound change in his life.

His new book  - New Possibilities: Unraveling the Mystery & Mastering Chronic Pain  

Connect with Alan

His website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Courses

Connect with Marci

·       Website, Patreon, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Facebook Group.

·       Permission to Heal on YouTube.

·       Permission to Land  (memoir) - Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook 

-      Permission to Land: Personal Transformation Through Writing

Permission to Heal Bookshop - Buy books from the episodes & support independent bookstores. 

Permission to Heal is a passion of mine.  I need your help to bring more inspirational episodes to the world; please consider becoming a patron through PATREON. You get perks

Support the show

Support the Show.

They're using a typical cognitive behavioral therapy approach, which is okay, but very superficial. I start asking people questions about, well, you lost your job. What does that mean to you personally? Not to mention what's your story? Who are you? The bigger questions, the existential questions, right. So I had good foundational training in what means to do the physical part of pain management. 

[00:00:21] I also found out what the limitations were with the psychological part of pain management and realized that it was profoundly limited, tried to implement a different approach, but they were stuck. They go like, no, what we do is fine. It really isn't, it doesn't produce permanent changes. 

[00:00:36] Right? Because now people are being confronted with challenges that are beyond their ability to cope. And you're not evolving their coping system. 

Hi, everyone. Welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman and I am really thrilled that you're here today. Today I bring to you a really enlightening conversation that will hopefully expand your awareness. Of your perceptions of your thoughts and feelings about everything. Dr. Alan Weiser, and I have an amazing conversation about chronic pain, about our perceptions of ourselves and a deeper understanding of who we all fundamentally are and how that affects everything.  

[00:00:40] Dr. Weiser, I has a pain management clinic called new options in Seattle, Washington. He is a clinical psychologist. He was also a trial lawyer. He's a martial artist. He's a cartoonist. He is pretty amazing. So he has a pain management practice called new options. As I said, an extensive background, working with the psychological problems people face when they are living with complex and chronic pain problems. Working at new options, he has participated in multidisciplinary teams that has forged successful collaborations between patients, claim managers, medical practices, and agencies, including the university of Washington rehabilitation department, Puget sound, sports and spines physicians, labor and industries, and other physicians. Specialists and community resources. He has presented on the new options approach to care to physicians, to the university of Washington, labor and industries in the national society of spine surgeons, the trial lawyers, association, and numerous medical and rehab practices by focusing on collaborative and realistic goals and practices within a coherent clinical model. His practice has provided support that empowered chronic pain patients to transition from dysfunction and disability to empowerment and recovery. He looks forward to sharing concepts and techniques for working with people, suffering from chronic pain and medical conditions.  

[00:02:13] But it's not just chronic pain. It's self discovery. It can be chronic emotional pain. If it's not chronic physical pain. And he speaks from experience. Having had a life altering injury at the age of 12.  

[00:02:27] He has written a new book called new possibilities, unraveling the mystery and mastery of chronic pain, where you can learn how to engage and support your whole self to improve your day to day experience with chronic pain. 

[00:02:40] Discover you have an existential immune system that protects your whole. Through deep understanding, Dr. Weiser gives you a roadmap that leads you to transformation of your whole self, and it is available where everywhere books are sold and also on our permission to heal bookshop, on So the links to that are in the show notes. 

[00:03:00] You can find him at new options, Again, the links in the show notes, as well as courses that he has to offer that will empowers us to not just be advocates for ourselves in our medical treatment, but also partners in the medical treatment. So, I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did literally transformed the way I think about. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for being here weekly. And please, I encourage you to like share review and, and let me know what you think about this episode and, and other episodes. 

[00:03:37] You know, you can email me directly at Thank you so much.

[00:00:00] Welcome, Dr. Alan. Weisser, I'm thrilled that you're here today. thank you. I've been wanting to have this conversation with you for a while, since I, since you, your, you came across my, uh, my inbox with your, your book and so on. 

[00:00:12] So we were just talking about, um, Re rebirthing ourselves about reimagining ourselves and, and changing our paths. And, uh, if, if you could sort of tell a tiny bit of, or whatever you would like of your story and how you, um, came to be who you are, that'd be great. Sure. Yeah. I'm a clinical psychologist. 

[00:00:43] I'm a specialist in chronic pain management, but how I got to doing that is a story and it actually starts with a personal story. So this is not just something I do as a clinician. Sure. It's something that has very powerful, personal connection for me. And as people usually know, the early re of life can be very formative of what happens next. 

[00:01:07] So let me, let me put it this way. What I currently do to help people with chronic pain is an existential holistic approach to really look at the entire person to look at. What's really happening to people when they're having these chronic conditions and it's not just chronic physical pain, it's any kind of chronic suffering. 

[00:01:24] I don't really make much of a distinction there. The physical part needs to be paid attention to. But the interesting part is how did I get to this way of thinking about it, which is different and fairly unique, right? This is not common practice. It's not common among psychologists that do pain management. 

[00:01:39] This is a different approach a unique and powerful approach. I've seen over 2000 patients over the last 20 years. Wow. So I can, I can measure those outcomes against the model. But the interesting question for me always is how did that get started? Where did that come from? Right? Yeah. I love the career evolution of things like that. 

[00:01:57] Right? So it all goes back to when I was 12 and a half. So picture the situation I was known at that point in time as a headstrong child, uh, A risk taker. Right. And because I was headstrong, I was one of those kids who wanted to figure it out for themselves. Right. So when I decided to try and learn trick diving on the diving board at a pool, figured I couldn't figure it out. 

[00:02:24] Right? No, don't need to take lessons. No, there's no danger in that. No, no, not at all. Did you know when you do a back flip on the diving board, you're supposed to dive out? Not straight up. No, I'm not a diver, but I would think that would make sense. Physics wise. Yeah. Well, I learned the hard ways. So I did that and I broke my neck. 

[00:02:43] Oh. I came down on the board. So this is a long time ago, but picture this situation. So I'm at the hospital, I'm in a cast. The doctor comes in and he says to me, if you don't die and you're not paralyzed, you will be crippled for the rest of your life. And you were how old? 12, 12, 12, and a chance to live yet. 

[00:03:07] So, this is where the story really starts. All right. Just like people have an injury and what happens next is what really matters, right? The injury it's the injury. Right? So what I did with that was, uh, they wanted me in the hospital for several months. I made such a fuss that I was sent home, but I did spend the next year in a bed on my back. 

[00:03:29] Not allowed to get out. Oh God. After about a year of that, uh, I was finally able to take the brace off. It took me almost a year to be able to walk because I wasn't paralyzed, but I was completely atrophy. Sure. Cuz you hadn't moved in a year. Right. So that whole physical recovery was at least three years not to mention at that age, disrupting junior high school getting into high school. 

[00:03:51] Sure. But here's the point? Emotional growth has been halted well, but here's the part that makes it relevant to what I do now. What did I do? I was stoic. Nobody had any idea, including me how frightened I was and how angry I was. I just went on a happy face, told everybody I was fine and just bited my time until I became less obviously impaired. 

[00:04:17] But as a result of it, I was no longer the headstrong risk taking person. I didn't do any athletics. I didn't do anything that was physically risky. I was told that it was fragile. Sure. What do I know? Right. It changed everything. It changed who I befriended. It changed the fact I was almost flunking out of high school. 

[00:04:35] Right. I have two PhDs. Obviously I should have been able to get through high school. Right. I think so. But if you, but if you'd asked me in high school, why I wasn't doing well, I would've told you. I'm not that smart. Literally I'm stupid. And I would've been convinced and I would've tried to convince you didn't know why I was doing that. 

[00:04:54] Or I thought that way it just was what it was. Right? Sure. That might have continued until I ran into a teacher in junior year chemistry teacher mm-hmm and of course I was. And, and one of those, my favorite kind of teacher is very funny, young guy, very energetic, right? So I'm doing my usual failing in his class. 

[00:05:13] He calls me after, after class, he says, I don't get why you're failing my class. I go, what are you talking about? He says, you're a smart guy, but like, no, I'm not. He goes, yes, you are. I go, no, I'm not. I wish I had the video. He literally was debating this. He said, you know what, you're gonna come after school. 

[00:05:28] I'm gonna tutor you. And he did. And I got a C in chemistry, which was unthinkable. Didn't really change my mind about it, but it kind of made me start wondering what is going on here. Sure. Maybe you're more capable than you think. Well, there was something wrong with the way I was thinking about myself because he could obviously see something I couldn't see, but remember I had yet to make any connection to the accident. 

[00:05:53] Right. So I go through high school, I actually graduated and then went on to college. And by the time I got to college, you know what, I'm tired of feeling fragile. It may be true, but I'm gonna have to test it. Right. So what do you think I did? You tested it? I signed up for judo and trampoline. Okay. Well, let's do it first entry into martial arts. 

[00:06:18] I still remember that first throw you you've seen judo. You know what that does, what it looks like. Yeah. So you get slammed to the ground a lot. So I remember the very first throw with my instructor, throwing me to the ground and thinking as I'm going through the air, am I gonna get back up or as I said, right. 

[00:06:35] And not being regretful that I did it at that point. You, I guess you just needed to know regardless of how it turned out, that innate nature of me came back. And just said, we don't take things laying down, period. That's just not the way we operate. So fortunately turned out I was right and I've never had a problem. 

[00:06:55] I've been in the martial arts for a very long time. Uh, that's not a problem. That's wonderful. But nonetheless, I just kind of moved on. I go like fine. So I can be physical. And I got back into eventually started officially studying a lot of other martial arts, uh, became a trial attorney, cuz that was something I was always interested in government and law. 

[00:07:16] Okay. And enjoyed that, did that job, but always on the hunt for like who am I? Cause I, I was, there were things about me that I didn't feel were really working as well as they could. I tended to be to stoic and to suppress my emotions and a lot of stuff. So I was always on kind of this path to self discovery, which led to all kinds of interesting encounters with people that taught me and mentored and helped to help me have a better understanding of who I really am. 

[00:07:43] My essential nature. Including a year of travel, where I ended up living in Marrakesh and being adopted by a local Beto and tribe for a while. Wow. You don't hear that often. well, it was at a point in history where that was relatively safe to do. Wow. But it was a lesson because in that journey I was away from any props or any supports. 

[00:08:04] I was out there with limited money. It was before cell phones in the computer. So I was for the first time, my life completely on my own. Yeah. Right. And pleased to discover that I had a lot more going on for me than I knew. Wow. That journey was the beginning of eventually becoming a psychologist because I realized being a lawyer was something relevant to who I am and something I valued and did well, but not really what I would've done had I not had the problems I had going into college. 

[00:08:32] Mm-hmm this is where it all relates back. A lot of the choices I made were colored by that experience sure. Of being injured and not really dealing with it right. Going for the safe instead of something else. Those things always have their way of popping back in when we least expect it. Yeah. So that eventually led to me taking an internship, which I did at Bronx psychiatric hospital in New York and at a lovely, wonderful experience. 

[00:08:59] I would never have thought to work with psychotic patients cuz they're so difficult, but mm-hmm, found that like with everything else, the more challenging, the more I like it. Okay. And the martial arts school I trained in was the toughest school I could find. Cuz I liked that idea about becoming limitations, Uhhuh you know, doing the unexpected, going beyond what you can think, which the martial arts is all about that challenging your limits. 

[00:09:21] So I kind of got hooked and I stayed in that hospital for 10 years, working with patients there. And that's when I began to learn that you don't, you wanna help people who are psychotic and institutionalized. You don't treat the disease, you treat the person exactly because their lives have been trashed by this condition. 

[00:09:40] So I learned about social work and rehabilitation and psychiatry, all these other medicine, all these disciplines and how they all collectively work together to help that person basically reinvent their lives to take a recovery based approach to these problems instead of a cure based approach. So that actually gave me a lot of framework and understanding. 

[00:10:01] I developed a lot of fairly innovative approaches to helping those patients was able to be successful. It's a long journey as to how I came from New York out to Seattle. Okay. When I left the hospital, came out here and worked in community mental health, but eventually realized the system was so broken, that it didn't matter that I actually had ways of helping people that were really dynamic, but the system didn't support it. 

[00:10:23] Sure. That may sound like a cop app, but after 17 years ago, you know what, that's, that's not gonna work well. I mean, I can't win the war. I saw it with my mom, you know, I mean, she, she had, um, Medical trauma when she was a little girl, you know, she was born in 44 and then the year that she was 10 or eight, something like that. 

[00:10:46] So it was, you know, the early 1950s, she had rheumatic fever and was in bed for a year. Did she need to be in bed for a year? I don't know, but she was and completely isolated from her peer group. So she became really social, really socially awkward and completely separate from, from that. And for most of her life really only got along with people who were significantly older than her. 

[00:11:10] Um, she didn't really have a peer group anymore. Um, she just, I think it created a level of anxiety and. Um, sort of a sense, like you had a, a fragility of her life and she didn't ne never recovered from that. She just was shy and introverted and anxious and afraid of everything and, um, made every decision on her life based on, based on that view, you know, she, she married the first man who asked whether or not she got along with him. 

[00:11:45] It was my dad and, and they were miserable. from the get go. They were both miserable. Somehow I came out of the union and, you know, even after her divorce, she was like debilitatingly depressed. And unable to dig herself out and unwilling to even try. And she had been seeing psychologist after counselor, after therapist over and over and over again from the mid seventies on. 

[00:12:18] And absolutely staunchly refused to believe a single thing any of them ever said to her. And she just wouldn't accept that she had any fault or responsibility or any of it was up to her to fix. She just figured somebody else was somebody else's job to fix it if they loved her enough. And that's where she that's the end of it. 

[00:12:41] Um, and then. She had some sort of injury. I'm not really sure what, um, the doctors could never find anything wrong. She had every test known to medical science and nobody could find anything wrong. And she insisted that she was in pain. Um, I knew just growing up with her that she was definitely bipolar. I, I could just see her behavior. 

[00:13:05] I knew what she was like, and she refused to believe it. And, and self-medicated with everything she could get her hands on with. And it was during the era where you could go doctor shopping, where there was no database, nobody knew what anybody else was prescribing. And she was so annoying that the doctors just would write her prescriptions to get her to leave. 

[00:13:25] And so she wound up with this gigantic shoebox of medication. And was justified in taking it in whatever way she felt like she wanted to, because it was all prescriptions. Anyway, long story short, as she wound up with an opiate addiction and refused to, to see it. And she said that she needed it for pain. 

[00:13:43] Well, at that point, how do you decide what's the residual from that neck injury? And what's actually pain from addiction withdrawal and she never figured it out and I killed her. So yeah, I'm always looking to unravel that for other people, you know, it's a really good segue into lessons learned from me. 

[00:14:05] Right. Remember I was continuously throughout my life, learning from that accident, learning more about who I really was and beginning to see why this discrepancy right, right. Between who I really am and what I thought I was or who I thought I was. Right. But case in point, like with your mom, when I started working in the hospital in general, after my internship, cause I wanted to stay on. 

[00:14:26] First thing that happened when I came out of the training unit, which was dedicated to treatment. So I learned how to treat these patients, right. I come onto a typical ward and the staff goes, don't bother. They're not gonna come to therapy. They're not gonna get out of the hospital. Just don't waste your time. 

[00:14:41] Really? Yeah. Now me being who I am, I go like maybe, but I don't buy impossible. Right. Remember I, majority of proof that the impossible is possible. Well, but I was already into a very holistic frame of reference here. I I've been, even though I've trained psychoanalytically had traditional mentoring and training, the existential approach to understanding things was always what mostly appealed to me and, and evolution. 

[00:15:07] Right. So good example. Right. So they tell me don't bother. Right? And I go like, okay, let me think about this. So I went to the patients and they said, look, I'm not interested in getting out of the hospital. They go, really? I go, yeah. What I would like to know is what you like about being here. So they go, well, you know, safe place, hot meals, staff, 24 7, right. 

[00:15:29] I've got a bed to sleep in. I go, great. Now tell me what you don't have. Well, I don't have, in my own TV, I don't have the choice of meals. I don't have that freedom to be out and about. Not that anybody who's psychotic would want to be on the streets of the Bronx. Right. I go, I said, I tell you what, if I can get you everything you've got in the hospital and all the things you don't have, would you be willing to leave? 

[00:15:54] They said, sure. It took me two years and a whole bunch of work and, and time and energy I won't get into, but I was able to create a situation on the outpatient side that in incorporated what they had internally, but also gave them arrest. It took me over two and a half years, but I got most of those patients outta the hospital. 

[00:16:14] Most of them are still. Wow, because I did not buy into the idea that these patients were lazy and unmotivated to treatment. What was true was they were not being understood. Right. It was an intelligent act to stay in the hospital unless they were provided with a better alternative. Why the heck would you go to treatment knowing you could get discharged, right. 

[00:16:33] And then have a whole host of other problems that you didn't wanna deal with. Yeah. So understanding the person, understanding the uniqueness, understanding the needs, instead of getting tangled up in these other ways of judging situations has permeated my entire experience. You can tell me you lost a job, but I don't know what that means. 

[00:16:53] I know what it might mean to me. I don't know what it means to you. And there could be a huge discrepancy between what that event means to you or me. Right? Right. So typical psychological assessment and chronic pain Chronicles events. It does not Chronicle meaning it doesn't go. What does that mean to you? 

[00:17:11] How important is that in your life? Right. It's really beautiful. So that, yeah, so that foundation in working with those patients, along with the conviction that even people who were psychotic could be helped and I did, and I had lots of good counseling and help and support and mentoring, uh, when I decided to leave working with a chronically mentally ill, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next. 

[00:17:34] So just as a kind of holdover, I took a job working in a pain management program. I knew nothing about pain management, but I knew I, it doesn't seem like a natural fit for a psychologist to go into pain management. Most of the pain management facilities or doctors have been MDs, not PhDs. So that's interesting. 

[00:17:51] There, there are therapists who do pain management. Uh, so like I said, it was a placeholder. I, I had no particular, I was curious, but I didn't know about it. I knew about being a therapist, right. That I knew. So I go in and I find out they're using a typical cognitive behavioral therapy approach, which is okay, but very superficial. 

[00:18:13] Right. I start asking people questions about, well, you lost your job. What does that mean to you personally? Not to mention what's your story? You know, who are you? The bigger questions, the existential questions, right. Right. Who are you? What's what do you value? Yeah. Yeah. So I had, I had good foundational training in what means to do the physical part of pain management. 

[00:18:35] I also found out what the limitations were with the psychological part of pain management and realized that it was profoundly limited, tried to implement a different approach, but they were stuck. They go like, no, what we do is fine. They go like, it really isn't, it doesn't produce permanent changes. 

[00:18:49] Right? Because now people are being confronted with challenges that are beyond their ability to cope. And you're not evolving their coping system. Right. You're not helping them to meet the challenge, adapt and become themselves 2.0, oh, you don't need to do that. I go like, yeah, you do well. Isn't that kind of the point of the whole thing. 

[00:19:10] Well, I understood that, but they did not. And most doctors don't either. So I was encouraged by the doctor in the practice who realized I had a different way of thinking about this to start a practice, which I did, uh, and that evolved into being a practice where that was my specialty. But here's the part that's interesting. 

[00:19:32] My intake packet started at five pages. It is now 75 pages. Wow. Okay. now you can blame my 2000 patients because I was looking for collateral damage. What happens because of the injury, right? Right. You look at your mother's life and you go being bipolar. What aspects of her life were being affected by this? 

[00:19:51] Well, basically everything. Everything. Yeah. But are you treating her life? Are you treating the bipolar disorder? And the answer is you're treating the bipolar disorder. You are not treating the life. Right? Her, her self medication really was just trying to bandaid. Her mood fluctuation, her energy fluctuation, her, her outlook. 

[00:20:12] It didn't change her life. It didn't make her happier. It didn't help her create more meaning in her life. It didn't make her a better person. Didn't make her a better mom. That's for sure. Didn't make her, it didn't improve her relationships. It didn't do anything for her. Yeah. Now, if somebody said to her, you know what, there's no bad coping mechanisms. 

[00:20:31] There's there's no, there's no self-destructive behavior, right? That's a fantasy. Everything people do, no matter how much damage you may cause them is done to try and make themselves feel better and be safer. The fact that it comes with massive side effects, same thing, true with a lot of medication. 

[00:20:46] Right? Right. So if I said to her, you know what, I understand why that's the way you cope at work. It was another way. And in her case, just as with all my patients, it's really addressing the emotional side of the equation as well as the thinking that goes with it. So once I got involved with chronic pain management, the first part is the first part of the title. 

[00:21:07] You know, unraveling the mystery. I go, like, what is really going on here? What's really happened to this person. You know, for example, if you've been to a doctor and they've asked you for a pain rating. Yeah. And there's a discrepancy between your rating and what they think your pain should be. Well, it seems very arbitrary on a scale of one to 10. 

[00:21:23] Well, what, what does that even mean? What does 10 mean to somebody? You know, like I can, I can, I can answer that question. Okay. Please. Do you do? Yeah. If you do my intake packet, I'll have those one to 10, but underneath each number I'm talking about impact on functioning. If you tell me that your pain is so bad, you can't get out of bend. 

[00:21:42] And I know it's a 10. Sure. If you tell me your pain is just a little bit bothersome, then I know it's a two or three, you have to connect it to functioning. Otherwise you're absolutely right. It's meaning it's too arbitrary, right? I'm a martial artist. If you ask, my 10 is most people's 20, but if you ask me about impact on functioning, that gives a much better understanding of it. 

[00:22:01] Right. But here's the point. You go to see a doctor, let's say you have a chronic back pain problem. They go, your MRI suggested should be around a four or five in pain, but you're telling me it's an eight. You're sitting there thinking doctor doesn't know what's wrong with me. They're thinking this person's exaggerating. 

[00:22:19] The doctor is not saying, is your sleep disrupted? Because if it is that gonna add 50% more pain, mm-hmm is your physical conditioning down because that can add another 20 or 30% is your stress off and out through the roof. And is anybody managing that cuz that isn't happening. So you've got all these things that could be adding to your pain, not in your head impacts, right, right. 

[00:22:41] Damage that nobody's attending to. So the patients don't hear that the doctors do not discuss that. And that's one of the reasons why there's huge disconnects with my patients. I've never ever met a patient who understands their diagnosis or treatment and it doesn't matter what their educational level is. 

[00:22:58] Their success in life doesn't matter. Because they're not being, it's interconnected with everything else that's going on in life. That's right. That's right. It's a myopic approach. Right. So I began to understand these impacts and then like a good martial artist is the saying in the martial arts for every attack, there's a counter. 

[00:23:16] Okay. You don't know the counter, use your imagination. So I began to go like, okay, there's tremendous impact here. A lot of needs are being damaged. What do you do with that? Well, I, I knew standard therapeutic techniques for doing that. And those could be helpful and I go, that's not enough cuz I'm an efficiency oriented person. 

[00:23:38] I wanted something that could be more impactful and I, and I began to really get into it. And I realized if we're designed by evolution, millions of years of evolution. Right, right. Here's the things, the revelation. Why is it that people don't know that after millions of years of evolution designed to keep us alive, that we must have an innate way of coping a system. 

[00:23:59] Which I refer to as the existential immune system, you don't just have a physical immune system. You have a psychological, emotional and existential system that come with tools, but we don't know that we don't know that we don't know we have a tool kit. Right. So I go, like, if I could figure out what this system is and how it operates, it was designed to meet any challenge. 

[00:24:23] So that would be maybe the most powerful approach that evolved into now thinking about mastery, because I don't talk about management anymore. Mastering means you are in charge, whether you still have pain or not. Mm-hmm . Well, how do you do that? You do that by mastering and optimizing how you relate to your emotions and your thinking. 

[00:24:45] Explain that. Yeah. You mean about that good point. So think about it. This. In my way of understanding this and looking into it and exploring it. I go like these people have a lot of anxiety and anger, Uhhuh right. Understandably considering what's going on. Initially I go like, wow, that's a lot of suffering. 

[00:25:06] What are you gonna do? But then I go like really it's only suffering. It has no purpose. That was contrary to my understanding of the way humans operate. There must echo, there must be a purpose. I go, what in the world could it be? And that's when I had, I can call it a revelation. I came to an understanding that emotions actually have a functional purpose they're tools. 

[00:25:26] They're not just an experience, but they're tools that we don't even know we have, and we were not educated to use properly. And since anxiety and anger were so prevalent, I go, let me look at those and ask myself what could they do? And that's when I discovered something. I think people know this. I think there's been other ways it's been articulated, but in my case, what I try and do is simplify things. 

[00:25:49] I go like fundamentally, you will never experience any level of anxiety unless your needs are being threatened. Right. That's a revelation makes sense. So you don't ask yourself, why am I anxious? You go, like what threat, what needs are being threatened? Right. And fundamental needs, love of self love of others. 

[00:26:06] Self-esteem relationships with other people, ability to provide all the fundamentals that you think of. Right? Right. So I'm saying to people, okay, anxiety is not your enemy. It's your friend. It becomes letting so letting you know there's a problem. Absolutely. But if you are avoidant, if you suppress and repress it, you wonder why you end up with panic attacks or psychosis. 

[00:26:32] I can tell you that every mental health condition on the books I believe is based on not knowing how to properly manage those two emotions, which too anxiety and, and anger and anger. Yeah. Here's where it gets. Interesting. Anxiety has another OID, just like blown my mind here. Okay. Hopefully in a good way. 

[00:26:53] Yeah. Uh, you can see the potential though, for this being impactful. If I'm saying to people, look, you could use this tool. If you knew how to use it. And we developed techniques, we're actually making use of it. I go like, okay, it's good to know. I'm in the jungle. I run into a lion and I go like, oh my God, I could die. 

[00:27:11] Good to know. Right. Sure. But most of us don't face lions on a daily basis. Right. But we face lots of threats. Right? Whether they're life threatening or not mm-hmm but you still need to act, you need to do something to reduce or eliminate the threat. Right. I go. So what tool has nature provided for that? 

[00:27:27] Well, what's the most powerful tool in, in your toolkit, the most powerful emotion of all love. I'll give you a hint. I'll give you a hint. It's not love. No. Okay. No, it's angry. Oh, okay. Uh, I don't disagree. How powerful love is. But love is more about the motivation than it is about the impact. It can motivate you to overcome a lot, but you still need anger, but anger is just focused in energy of not yelling, screaming, and hitting. 

[00:27:56] That is not anger. That is a mismanagement of anger. Wow. Anger is that first moment where you get charged up, you get super focused. Anything you do at that point that reduces anxiety reduces the sense of threat is appropriate. So I began to talk to people about this and say, look, let's take each of these things that is causing you to feel anxious and angry. 

[00:28:22] And let's use those emotions with specific techniques. Let's use those to diminish or eliminate the threat. It's one of the, it's the most central tool that I use. It's incredibly powerful. Once people get it, it's totally alien to most people in their thinking, right? We are not raised to respect these emotions. 

[00:28:43] You know why people think that anxiety is weakness and shameful? Why it's not the anxiety. If that fire alarm goes off, my reaction is I'm kind of rattled. Right? Right. That weakness is in reaction to the emotion. It's not the emotion. Right. You know, being shame by anxiety is equivalent of saying it would be wimpy to listen to a fire alarm. 

[00:29:06] Okay. Right. And why do people think anger is bad? The think it's bad because they're looking at the misuse of it and going that's anger, but it's not, it's a misalign. You're screaming, the hitting the, all that other stuff. That's, that's the thing think works that does not help. Right? No. So what do you think about those conceptually? 

[00:29:25] I, I feel like you've, it has the, the ability to turn everything that we currently know on its ear to look at something else. It's one of the reasons why I can claim to have made so much progress with people over the years. It's very powerful. Yeah. Cause it cuts what I do. And the technique is really interesting. 

[00:29:45] It's it's some nice cognitive structure. There's a bunch of steps. And then you get down to the hardcore material and I can tell you that having been through a psycho analysis, this approach will get to the same outcome. And a third of the time it takes in psychoanalysis. It is a very different approach, but I was well trained. 

[00:30:03] So I've been able to incorporate a lot of the fundamental principles, but in a way that is more effective, more efficient. Now the second part of this, all right. Think about it this way. All human experience is eventually translate into thoughts and feelings, right? Yes. So they've got to be the target zone, but here's the interesting question. 

[00:30:22] Do you know what determines thoughts and feelings? 

[00:30:28] It's probably pretty obvious, but no. What? No, not obvious. Unfair question perception. Okay. How you perceive something, determines how you think and feel right? Sure. Okay. I was okay. You know, for example, if I'm not the scene of a car accident, I'm probably throwing up cuz I don't do well with that stuff. 

[00:30:45] But if I'm an EMT, I'm probably eating lunch while I'm picking up body parts. Right, right. Cause you see it all the time. It's not a novel thing. Different perception. Right. Right. But then the really interesting question is what determines perception, 

[00:31:03] what does determine perception? Why don't you tell us? we'll have a lot of dead air for waiting for me. okay. Unfair questions, awareness. Okay. Everything, you know right. Everything, you know, determines how you react. Right. It determines how you perceive it. That determines thoughts and feelings I'm going. 

[00:31:24] Every therapy raises awareness. It's the fundamental principle of all therapy. As you raise awareness. In different modalities, but they all eventually raise awareness. Right? Which changes, thoughts and feelings. So I'm going fine in exploring your anxiety and anger. You will learn a great deal about yourself and your needs and your needs. 

[00:31:45] Are you right? Right. But then I go, but what about thinking? Is there any problem? There I go. Yeah. Actually cognitive behavioral therapy figured out a long time ago that certain kinds of thinking is not helpful. Right. It's part of the problem. Don't, don't, there's a lot of things. If you, if you look at social media that, that, that one of the new, the new things is they tell you that your brain lies to you. 

[00:32:08] And lots of the thoughts that you have are not true. Yeah. Right now I wouldn't blame the brain. It's not that simple, but here's the point. A lot of this is learning and conditioning. A lot of it is societal, right? Mm-hmm , here's the problem thinking is the servant of feelings, not the other way around thinking is not as early as impressive feelings. 

[00:32:28] If you're studying any kind of in InLight literature of any kind, anybody who's elevated themselves, they'll tell you about how unimportant thinking really is. Here's the problem with thinking judgmental thinking we, for feeling beings who occasionally think, not thinking feelings, beings that occasionally feel well there's a system, right? 

[00:32:49] And it does have a proper integration, but think of it this way, part of the problem with thinking is judgmental thinking, rationalizations assumptions, magical thinking, belief based thinking they don't represent the truth. You're trying to work out problems, but you're getting information that is the equivalent of fake news Uhhuh. 

[00:33:10] All right. It is distorting your percept. So you have to really sort through that and go like, is my thought process operating objectively? Am I using the cool tools? Like analysis, synthesis, introspection, imagination, creativity. There's a lot of things about thinking that are very cool, but they have to be grounded in, is this a search for the truth? 

[00:33:33] So I work with people I'm thinking. And then once again, there's a lot of techniques to address that. Like I refer to it as non evolutionary based thinking it doesn't support evolution to use this kind of thinking. I mean, look at what's going on in our world right now in our society, you can see how damaging that kind of thinking is absolutely everything is bad judgment, right? 

[00:33:53] Everything is about good people and bad people. Everything is superficial, right? No holistic or existential understanding, or why has the world been so much trouble right now? Greed greed has been here since the beginning, but the way the world has evolved over the last 50 years, The onset of globalism, the onset of technology, the onset of interconnectivity, social media, the world has not kept up with the way the world has changed. 

[00:34:23] And instead of dealing with it, the world is trying to move in a regressive fashion and turn the clock back a hundred or 200 or a thousand years, if you want to. Right. So same thing with people with chronic pain. They're so overwhelmed by what's happened to them. They just wanna turn the clock back. They wanna get back. 

[00:34:40] They go like, if there's no going back, if there is reinventing yourself and moving forward, you know, you're not a one trick pony. You may think, you know your limits, but there's no such thing. No. Cause the limits are self imposed. Yeah. Here's another concept you might find interesting. You know, people attach their self-esteem to who they are. 

[00:34:59] Sure. Self-esteem has nothing to do with who you are. It's who you think you are, has nothing to do with that either. And here's why. Okay. Yeah. Well, we both know, you know, who you are is transitory. It changes, right? Sure. You may like yourself. You may not, you may find things pleasing. You may not, but it changes it's transitory. 

[00:35:22] So from a pure survival point of view, you and I are creating humans. We go, we're gonna attach a person's self-esteem, which allows them to be fully optimized. Right? Mm-hmm we're gonna attach that something as transitory, as who they are. Is that gonna aid their survival? No. No, because you are less than who you are. 

[00:35:41] You can't have full access, right? Self-esteem is based on what you are and what you are as a human being is infinite potential. We know it, we applaud it. We love it. We look for examples. We're inspired by them, but it never occurs to us. That's what we are. How can you not love that? Wow. And if you don't like who you are, no problem. 

[00:36:05] You're the creator change it. Well, that's, that's kind of the, the whole linchpin of this podcast is to give yourself permission to, to be anything or anyone that you wanna be. You don't need, you don't need permission. You need to, you only need your own well, it's your birthright. You don't need permission. 

[00:36:23] You need awareness. True. Okay. You know what I'm saying? Because that just, it is you don't have to create it. You don't have to make it happen. It exists. It's already there. I found that working with the psychotic patients, you never can destroy the total person ever. He's always in there someplace that person's in there. 

[00:36:44] And I learned working with those patients because that was extremely difficult at work. How to find that person, finding that person with chronic pain is easier because they're not psychotic or at least most of the time. Yeah. Right. So these techniques were designed to lead a path. Leave people down the path towards self discovery, towards inheriting, what they innately, always had towards being able to use that in an optimal fashion. 

[00:37:10] That's what makes the difference. That's why so many of the patients I've worked with, it's been life changing case. In point, I work with a neurologist who is in her forties, very successful, really smart, hardworking, more than anything, valued herself based on her work. She ends up having a lower back problem that is completely untreatable and the most extreme pain you can imagine. 

[00:37:32] So from her point of view, I'm done comes through the door in our first session and says six months. I'm killing myself. When the kids graduate from high school, there's no point in sticking around. I go, okay. That makes sense. I understand. We started exploring her life story. We started exploring why she'd invested her entire sense of work and what she could do for work. 

[00:37:56] And we found out and she found out that there was more to the story than she knew that there were many ways in which she might be of value, whether she could do her job or not. After six months of this analysis and approach. And I never challenged her decision, she decided not to kill herself. Right years later, it actually turned out that there was a way to help her physical condition. 

[00:38:21] She's recovered from that. If I hadn't met her, she would never have lived long enough to find it. But what she said to me, which is really important that most patients say after we worked for a while is I dunno if I have less pain, but I don't feel the same way about it. It's not affecting me the same way. 

[00:38:36] I don't relate to it the same way anymore. Right. Awareness perception. Yeah. Once you understand what you're dealing with, once you understand the tools that evolution has provided you with, you're in the game, you've got a. Right. And I've been inspired by all of my patients because I see people overcome stuff where I go like, oh, in a world, do you do that? 

[00:38:58] right. Right. I, I have patients that have multiple physical problems, but with this approach, they find a way they, they find a way to have value, right? We're not designed to be a one trick pony. No, no. I, I guessed on the podcast a few weeks ago, who has been profoundly deaf his whole life. He had a brain injury, he had heart attack. 

[00:39:18] He can barely walk. And now he, you know, he's a, master's storyteller, one of four in the world who have a master's degree in storytelling and he's deaf, you know, like, and he's the kindest, most outgoing, inspirational guy. And, and none of. All, none of those physical limitations actually limited him at all. 

[00:39:42] Well, I see. I'm completely fascinated with it. People like Stephen Hawking, right? Yeah. Shows like America's got talent. These other shows where people come on, they're inspirational. Right? That from my point of view, I go like, there's an example of what's possible. Mm-hmm you can tell me that it's not possible for you to feel any differently or do any better than you're doing with chronic pain. 

[00:39:59] I'll go maybe, but I'm much more interested in what you might be able to do than what you think you cannot do. The minute you tell yourself that you're helpless and you cannot you're done. Right. But it will never, ever be true for a human being to be helpless because we're not designed to be helpless. 

[00:40:15] So you can see there's a lot of ideas in this that are very challenging. Yeah. But they're also impactful because people begin to realize, and there's two chapters in the book on all the things that go wrong in medical treatment. For example, have you ever had a medical appointment? You thought it was too short? 

[00:40:31] Many times. Yes. Yeah. So what do you do with that? Complain. not even to the doctor, I complain to my husband or to whoever will listen. So imagine you do this right. And assuming that maybe this a chronic condition, but it might be acute right before you meet with a doctor, you say to yourself, what is it about my condition? 

[00:40:51] That's making me anxious a question. People usually don't ask mm-hmm anything about it, or diagnosis, treatment, whatever, right? Expectations. Write down that list, send it to your doctor's office with a request to be put in your chart, which you have a legal right to do. Huh? Now that accomplishes many things. 

[00:41:10] I learned this lesson working in the hospital. If you want doctors to pay attention chart, put something in the chart, it's the legal record. Right? Right. Now the Dr. May well be doing a good job, but if they're not, they're gonna have to pay attention. Not only that, but if you think they document what you say in a meeting, they don't that patient documentation sucks. 

[00:41:29] I learned how to do it correctly in the hospital. It's in the chart. If you have to see somebody else, your question's already there, right. Doctor's response already there. You don't have to repeat it over and over again. Right. You also send along an agenda for what you wanna accomplish in the meeting. 

[00:41:47] Well, that's brilliant. Normally I go in with a list. These are my questions. This is what I want. But the list is in my possession and the doctor doesn't have access to it. So giving them access to it ahead of time is freaking brilliant. Yeah. And bring it along with you just in case, right? They may or may not have looked at you going, by the way, if the questions are all in the chart in case you didn't know, right. 

[00:42:07] Uh, you'll get your doctor on their toes pretty quickly taking this approach, but it's not meant to be adversarial. No. Right. It's being an advocate for yourself. No. The other thing you do is if you know what your diagnosis is and the treatment there's things you should look up, I don't have to ask a doctor. 

[00:42:23] What's a herniated disc or what's the typical treatment. I can look that up. I wanna take the time with that doctor to ask things. I cannot look up. right. But most people don't do that. And doctors tell 'em not to look on the internet, not effective, but here's the bottom line on the way I thought about all of this. 

[00:42:41] How long is the typical TV commercial? I avoid them, but I guess 30 seconds, I don't know. 10, 10 to 20. Okay. Sometimes 30. How long do they feel? Hours you know why they feel so long? Um, I just feel like I'm being assaulted basically. Well, a lot of them are unpleasant right. And interrupted, but the main reason that's so much louder than the shows. 

[00:43:08] They increase the volume of those suckers. They just bombard you. Ugh. I hate them. You're trying to sell stuff. So, but here's the point. The reason why they feel longer is because if you are doing a commercial, right. And spending a lot of money, you're gonna go outta your way to maximize the imagery on the words and maybe the soundtrack mm-hmm to optimize. 

[00:43:28] Compressing a lot of information into a short span of time. Okay. Do you ever watch strip pro bowl? Not often, but yeah, I have in the past one of my favorite commercials from years ago was this kid that the, the commercial opens with this seven year old, eight year old, he's got a Cape on and a big dark theater helmet. 

[00:43:47] Right. He's going around in the house going like this, trying to use the force to get things to happen. right. He explained this very nice sunny day, right. Nothing's happening. Right. Dad drives into the driveway and his new Volkswagen Passat. Okay. Right. Gets outta the car, goes into the house. The kitchen's right facing out and his wife are looking out. 

[00:44:05] Kid goes outside, tries to do the thing with the car. This is the point of the commercial dad takes out his remote control. Pushes the button. Car starts, kid jumps back. Precious kid thinks he did it. Right. Yeah. You think about what imagery and messaging is attached to so much of what, you know, that makes this so much more impactful. 

[00:44:24] So if you go, if I properly package my meeting with a doctor, like I was writing a commercial, I can get 45 commercials out of that 15 minutes. Wow. Right. But you have to think about what you need to do to optimize the time, which is why, if there's an entire chapter in the book dedicated to showing here's the different things you can do. 

[00:44:47] And more than what I described to you, because things go wrong in treatment that add to the problem too. Yeah. And, and, and very often we have things that we're thinking and feeling that we don't actually get expressed that don't get addressed. Yeah. So my message to people, if they're hearing this is look, you can go read the book. 

[00:45:06] That's great. That was meant to be out there as a reference textbook for the course. Uh, but ultimately being able to ask me questions, I'm, we're gonna be doing a live webinar. Make available for everybody to look at in the fall, we have classes set up to put online, but as you know, people need to see that there's a reason to do this. 

[00:45:26] And chronic pain patients are so accustomed to not getting what they need, you know, to hear that you're gonna need to work on something like self discovery and personal evolution. You're kinda like, no, I just wanna be out of pain. Right. But this is the road, right? Yeah. If you read the book, you may not understand that the minute you meet with me, life changes. 

[00:45:44] The minute you fill out that intake packet, it changes everything. Cause that's the first thing that I hear people say to me is you're the first person I ran into that actually gets it. Right. I go, did you get it? And they go, actually I didn't now I get it better than they. And I say like, if you have problems with people who don't understand, tell me to read the book. 

[00:46:03] Right. So I think that, I hope that the audience understands that what's going on with this approach is really, I'm not trying to be arrogant about this or have huberous, but I've seen how it works. It's really important that people know it exists. That they find a way to look into it because there's so much suffering going on that I have learned does not need to be the way things go for people with this. 

[00:46:24] And chronic, emotional suffering goes along with this as well. Same. Yeah. I don't, I don't think you have to be in chronic PHY chronic physical pain for this to work. I think you just need to be human and have everyday human suffering and this can make you better. Yeah. People often ask me like, how do you have peace of mind? 

[00:46:42] You seem to be a peaceful guy. They go to begin. And I work really hard and I practice a lot of my systems operating well. Right? Like martial arts, you practice a lot. You get good at it. Right. I said, but my definition of access to peace of mind is that you experience whatever happens, whether you like it or not as a challenge to mastery. 

[00:47:02] Exactly. You don't discriminate your reality and say, I don't like that. So I don't wanna deal with it. Right. Right. You're like, okay. I don't like that. What can I do to make that less of an issue? It's a shift when I I've done a lot of work in management and running companies and business. When I worked as an attorney. 

[00:47:20] Sure. I always tell people don't come to me with a problem. Come to me with a solution. So I get my patient solution oriented. I get them focused on their innate power to be able to do that and partner up with me. Mm-hmm I tell 'em look, I'm a native guide. I know the jungle. I know the lions, but you're the lion hunter. 

[00:47:37] I'll just help, you know how to do that. But ultimately you are at those meetings with those doctors, you're the person having those experiences. You're the person that has incredibly important information. Nobody told you, you have a job description. Nobody told you that you are partner in treatment, right? 

[00:47:53] We have to be our own advocates, your own partner with the person you're working with. It's different than being an advocate, includes advocacy, but it's more than that, you know, so much more as a chronic pain patient than your doctors can hope to know, but they don't tell you to accumulate that information in a useful fashion. 

[00:48:11] They don't tell you to track your problems and have charts and graphs like they do in business. Right? Imagine I could show a doctor, a graphic representation of my pain, my level of functioning, the impact of treatment charted very nicely in the graph. How much time would I save if I could just show them the graph instead of trying to give them a narrative, how do you even do that? 

[00:48:31] I, I know I, I keep the, the, the teacher and researcher in me. I, I always keep a log of, of my medical stuff and injuries and various things. But how do you make a graph outta that? Well, I'm not the expert in this. You can use spreadsheets, you can use the, that typical approach. You can do something more sophisticated, ultimately needs an app. 

[00:48:53] But the first part of it's really understanding what you're trying to track, but also understanding the importance of longitudinal data. Right? If I, if I were in a retail business and I look at sales over a year where I'm learning is where it's up and where it's down, right. And then I can get into it and go like, why is it up? 

[00:49:10] Why is it down? And then I can make an intervention. If you look at your pain, experience your functionality across time, it will reveal things that you can't see any other way. Right? It can show you patterns. It can help you to understand why you have flareups. It can help you to understand what intervention would most likely be helpful. 

[00:49:29] It can help your doctor actually appreciate what's going on. And they don't cuz most patients come through the door and go, it still hurts. Been hurting me for months. Drops are going okay, what are they supposed to do with that? But imagine a chart that discreetly breaks down, range of motion, ability to function, not just pain, right? 

[00:49:49] Frankly in chronic conditions. Pain is not that important. Right. And don't get me wrong. You don't wanna have pain. I don't wanna have pain, but if I ask the patient, does it inhibit your daily living activities? Does it inhibit walking? Does it it's right on the money. If I say to a patient than I have, actually, if you had to choose between less pain, higher functioning, which would you choose higher functioning. 

[00:50:10] Yeah. So the functioning has to be the centerpiece, right? So I feel like I'm kind of running on here, but no, it's true. I'm seeing parallels even with teaching, you know, like I, I'm a high school English teacher and, and I see. You know, a, a lot of what you're saying ha has parallels with what, what we do in the classroom. 

[00:50:33] You know, how do you, how do you improve a specific skillset or way of thinking about things in a student based on performance and, and, and, and test scores, you know, and there's a lot of finessing about how to try different approaches to get at it from the back or the side or underneath, or however, in order to get the kid to, to learn and adapt the skill that, that you want them to acquire. 

[00:50:59] So it's interesting. And part of that, as you know, is understanding the challenges kids have in learning. Right, right. And all the other things that, especially during COVID and, and you know, all the other things that are praying for their time and their attention as well as actually being adolescent. 

[00:51:17] Yeah. You mentioned something important earlier in our conversation about neuro plasticity. Yeah. It's a term that, that has been battered around. I'm not sure I even understand what, what it means, but like, I, I have what I think is a heal spur. I don't know. I haven't been diagnosed. I keep avoiding going to the doctor because sometimes it hurts a lot and sometimes it's not that big of a deal. 

[00:51:38] And sometimes it impacts my walking or going downstairs and other times it doesn't. So, but what I find is that when I'm standing in front of a classroom or conducting an interview like we are doing now, when my brain is focused on other things, I don't have the pain at all, or it doesn't, it doesn't, um, I dunno what the word, it doesn't show up on the radar. 

[00:52:04] It won't register, but I can say why that's the word register? I, that doesn't register at all. And there's the reason there's a reason for that. Okay. The brain has an intentional mechanism, but it's like a tunnel. If it's filled, then there's no room for anything else. Right? Right. So for example, right now, if, if a gunshot went off, we'd both be only hearing a gunshot. 

[00:52:26] Everything else would go away very quickly. Right. Right. Which is why meditation's really important in chronic pain where you can move away from that. People do the other things like distraction, but neuroplasticity, I wanna go back to that for a minute. Sure. But that's part of it what's been discovered in the last 20 years. 

[00:52:44] That's incredibly important is that the brain changes throughout your entire life in response to experiences. Okay. So if you're a chronic pain patient and you're going through the typical experience of it, where you're experiencing and helplessness and uncertainty, and not really feeling empowered and having your life damaged, your brain keeps adjusting. 

[00:53:04] Right. You have unexplained pain, your brain's going, like, we don't know what the heck's going on. We better put more pain sensors out that we better increase our sensitivity to pain. Right? Huh. It changes structurally. Right. It's called chronic pain syndrome, regional pain syndrome, central sensitization. 

[00:53:23] Okay. It's not in your head, but your neurochemistry is shifting. And if you want to correct that, you're more aware of it. Yeah. But to change that you have to impact the person holistically. You have to reverse engineer everything that contributed to it, physical, emotional, psychological existential, and you can do that. 

[00:53:40] The good news is the brain will change. Sure. This idea of psychosomatic conditions, it's a false concept. There's no, there's no separation between the mind and the body. You know, if you have psychosomatic, headaches or stomach aches there, real physical pain. Sure. In fact, they were triggered by a psychological mechanism. 

[00:53:58] So what, right. So what, right. I've never had a pain patient that didn't have a structural issue, but if you're not looking at all these things that can increase your pain, if you're not treating them, that's why patients get the message it's in your head because the doctors don't understand what's affecting you. 

[00:54:17] Right. And they don't often ask the questions or do the investigation to figure out where it's from. See, it's even worse. I work with great doctors. I love the doctors I work within are some of the best people in the state. But one of those people, I, I said to him, once I said, look, you see the model, you see my report, you completely endorse this approach. 

[00:54:36] You send me a lot of patients. And like, when are you gonna start incorporating some of this into your approach? Cause a lot of this is relevant to your work, right? Cause you are the specialist. We don't do that. Huh? I go, I, which is why I decided to not try and change the medical system, but to empower patients so they can, they can get the medical system to work better for them. 

[00:55:00] Right. They can, they know what to do to get the assistance and to get the attention they need. Yeah. Yeah. But in terms of the engagement, I just want to sort of underline something you said about teaching. Sure. My dad, my dad was a public school teacher. I, I did essentially think of myself as a teacher. I just love the idea of helping people learn things, which is why I'm going into counseling next. 

[00:55:22] Cuz I feel like this is the next, the natural transition. Yeah. But as you know, kids have to wanna learn mm-hmm and sometimes the challenge is getting them interested in learning before you teach them anything. Right. I, I think this approach is the same idea. People are gonna need to be interested in learning before I try and show them what they could learn. 

[00:55:42] So if you're hearing this, just keep that in mind. There's lots of ways to get exposure to more about why you might wanna learn this, but just because I'm telling you that it's really important and very cool. It's not enough. And I understand why you would be cynical and reluctant. That's fine. Right? Give me a call, you know, go to the website and look at that. 

[00:56:03] Take a look at the book. More importantly, go to the live seminars and the webinars and all the rest of that cool stuff as it develops, but understand there's something out there that you have not been exposed to that can make a huge difference. You know, that rescue story I told you, I don't know how many people were rescued in the course of the work that I've done. 

[00:56:23] Right. And to see people overcome this stuff, I'm going like, wow, how do you do that? But they do. They do. It's a beautiful thing. Beautiful thing. So your book, new possibilities unraveling the mystery and mastery of chronic pain is, um, attached to the show notes. The link is attached to the show notes. I've added it to the permission to heal bookshop on 

[00:56:49] So people can purchase their own copy and support local and independent bookstores while they're doing it. Um, all of your links to your website, your course, and all that, all that stuff is in the show notes. So you just have to scroll down and it's all there. Um, thank you so much for being here. This was, yeah. 

[00:57:05] I have a quick, a quick question for you. Sure. I haven't asked before, but I'm sorry to think about it. Do you get feedback from your listeners on shows? Not, not often, no. Sometimes in, in the form of, um, reviews, but not often. Okay. Yeah. I thought it might be helpful if there was feedback to get, to be able to be, even if it's negative, it's fine. 

[00:57:28] I'm in the learning curve here about what works and what doesn't investigate. Yeah. Well, let's invite, let's invite the audience. Well, you podcast listeners, you know, you have something to say, please say it. You can email me directly at Marcy Brockman,, or you can add it to, uh, the reviews if you're listening to apple, apple podcasts. 

[00:57:48] Um, I'd love to know . That would be great. Yeah. You can say, you can say please, Marcy, don't put any more snake oil salesmen on your show. No, no 

[00:57:59] questions for you. Sure. What six words would you use to describe yourself? 

[00:58:09] Uh, honor. Integrity. Truth, termination, creativity and innovation. Beautiful list. Wow. Okay. What's your favorite way to spend a day 

[00:58:28] doing my work. Okay. Or spending time in nature, doing a specific activity, being one with it. Well that's, if that's not existential, I don't know. What is, um, uh, what's your favorite childhood memory 

[00:58:51] watching bug bunny. I love bugs bunny. What is it about bug bunny? The, the original from the forties, right? Yeah. Yeah. What was your question? What, what what's, what do you love about bug's bunny? I dunno if you know this, but bug's bunny and that show was modeled after. The marks brothers. Okay. I could see that check out bugs in the forties. 

[00:59:13] He, his character does a lot of the same mannerisms. Okay. That rat marks did, uh, it's irreverent. That's the word I was thinking too. Right? It's it's more edgy than people realize it was much more sophisticated, poor children's cartoon and most children's cartoons are, or at least at the time, the, the graphics of it, the artwork of it, uh, actually inspired me to learn how to do cartooning, which I did. 

[00:59:39] Wow. So, uh, yeah. And plus, I like the idea of stepping into a world where there were no rules in the cartoon universe. Anything could happen. So it appeal to my imagination, which is why I also love science fiction. We're not limited by physics at all. no, no. Um, what's your favorite meal or food? You know, Thanksgiving dinner with Turkey. 

[01:00:04] Oh, I love Thanksgiving dinner. That's a good one. Um, what, one piece of advice would you give your younger self 

[01:00:15] be patient? Yeah. Yes. Lots of mistakes are made by people not being patient. Um, what is one thing you would, would you like, would you like a handy definition of patience by the way? Sure. Why not? Patience is the ability to tolerate reality. 

[01:00:35] That makes sense. Yeah. Sorry to interrupt. Just maybe. No, no, no, no. I think that, that makes a lot of sense. I very hard to, to define things like that sometimes. It fits though, if you think about it, right? Yeah. Yeah. You're like, why, why do we get angry in traffic? I don't know that there can be traffic if I'm driving in a metropolitan area. 

[01:00:57] So I'm not dealing with reality. I want it to be something else. Why? Yeah. I don't know. I don't know why people get angry at traffic. I mean, if you have to pee, that's one thing, but they're not willing to tolerate reality. It's a risk involved in driving. Yeah. I dunno. I'm always listening to podcasts or audio books. 

[01:01:14] So to me, time and traffic is more time to listen and learn stuff. So I don't care, but you do have a more enlightened approach. So that makes sense. Maybe you had another question. Yeah. What is one thing you would most like to change about the world? 

[01:01:37] This is subject that's near and dear to me, I, I understand why the human race is destroying itself at the same moment in time. When it could be the golden age. Whether or not the humans, humans will move in that direction or not. I don't know. But to me it's tragic that in this day and age, when no one should have to go without food or shelter or the basics or healthcare that we're killing each other, we're dividing, we're separating from each other. 

[01:02:04] We're invading other countries. Yeah. It's why the, uh, intergalactic Federation of which I'm a representative. we don't want you guys out there. Humans are crazy. Yeah. Yeah. So my fond wish is that people who really understand what humans are capable of will realize we don't need to do this to each other. 

[01:02:23] We don't need to destroy our environment. Right. There's a big universe out there. That's just open for exploration. I just hope we get there. I don't know. I don't know. I think other worlds are probably looking at us going, yeah, these people are bad. Shit crazy. Let's stay away from them course. We're assuming that the aliens would be good people too. 

[01:02:44] So I don't know. Well, yeah. You know, I mean, there's an assumption, I suppose. There could be all manners of different beings out there. Good ones and destructive ones and bad ones and yeah. But that's what I'd like to see happen. And I think that there's a lot of people who would like to see the world come together instead of being moving apart. 

[01:03:04] Yeah, absolutely. Sign me up. Um, okay. Now completely changing, uh, avenues here. Um, TV shows, what, uh, are you binging and, and loving I I'm a big bender on TV and, and other kinds of media. Uh, I prefer science fiction. Okay. Although if a show is welled, I can enjoy that too. So I like the good doctor, for example, as a oh, that's lovely science fiction. 

[01:03:32] Yeah. But, uh, My most recent favorite show is halo, which is based on a video game. Okay. Which I, but the, what I like about it is as in certain science fiction, if the actors are clearly defined as people with dimension and you connect to them as people, the special effects are great. But the story is about the people. 

[01:03:51] Right? Of course, story for me is everything. Halo has captured that recently, as one of those things, I watch some of the star Trek series. The more recent ones have worked. Not always well enough. Uh, umbrella academy is great. If you haven't checked that one out on Netflix. Yes. I saw an ad for that the other day. 

[01:04:08] I wanted to, I wanna track that one out too. If you like science fiction, it is completely original and unique in a lot of ways. It took me a bit of time to get into it in the first season. OK. I, I highly recommend, uh, also like 1883, the prequel to Yellowstone. I dunno if you've seen either of those. No. 

[01:04:27] That was all about wagon trains and crossing the continent and all the incredible hardships that people encountered. So I like to watch things that involve people, being people, and being able to make that emotional connectivity. Sure. So preferences towards being able to move away from the day to day life mm-hmm 

[01:04:45] But if it's really engaging and good drama, then that's fine, too. Awesome. Well, I have some recommendations now. That's excellent. Yeah, I appreciate that. Well, thank you so much for being here. This was really fun. I took a lot of notes. Good, good. So it's it's important. So it makes sense to you. A lot of the things we talked about. 

[01:05:09] Yeah. Very much. Yeah. Yeah. That's the point that when you have a chance to hear it directly and ask questions, it's a lot easier to really kind of get there's something going on here. Of course, of course. So good. I'm glad that got across. Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you. Bye.