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Steven Ozanich TMS The Man Sarno

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Steve Ozanich, May 8, 2012.

  1. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant


    I healed from 27 years of pain and a wide variety of other health problems 11 years ago, after finding Dr. Sarno’s work. The good doctor saved my life, and I have dedicated my life to helping others heal. Everyone experiences pain and unpleasant symptoms at some point in their lives. But when these things alter the quality of life they need to be addressed. The pain is not only diverting the mind’s awareness but is also sending a message of imbalance. Many who are suffering try to piece together this thing called TMS; often confused by what to do, and by conflicting messages. If you are suffering, be of great cheer because healing can occur, it is occurring, and anyone can heal if that is what they unconsciously desire. TMS healing is an esoteric process accepted only by a fortunate few.

    I suffered a life altering ordeal with TMS. Today—I’m pain-symptom-free and very happy thanks to the good doctor. Last week, I had a phone conversation with Forest about TMS; its current state, its future, Dr. Sarno’s impact, and other TMS topics. It was a lengthy talk, and the main theme was: how can we help people who are suffering? The only way is to provide access to the information about TMS and try to expand that information to the general public through increasing awareness. This TMS Wiki is a great platform for those who are currently seeking answers.

    Forest contacted me because I recently published a book on TMS called The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse. It is a detailed look at TMS, and the reasons for rejection of TMS that took me 10 years to research and write. I was mentored along the way by the good doctor’s close friend, Marc Sopher, MD.—an excellent TMS physician and great person that I’m honored to call friend. The first third of my book is about my own story/struggle and ultimate victory over suffering using Dr. Sarno’s work as my guide. The middle third is what people need to understand to heal using a wide variety of real life healing examples, and the last part of the book is about life, and childhood, and all those incremental steps that form our personalities that can lead us into the TMS-abyss. The Great Pain Deception shows the many bumpy roads into TMS, and the many roads out. It has been reviewed and endorsed by MDs, Sarno, Sopher, Northrup, Pelletier, Travis, Anderson, and Miller.

    How did we get here? John E. Sarno, MD, through great insight and the deep desire to heal his patients had discovered decades ago that something was amiss when it came to healing people who were suffering. He had noted that modern therapeutic modalities weren’t working in the majority of sufferers; that there was something else “going on” within those patients. Being an insightful observer, he noted common denominators within them, similar causes and effects that necessitated their symptoms. He came to realize that tension/hidden anger was the source of most all of our health problems from pain to anxiety, dermatological to gastrointestinal, immune to circulatory, fatigue to allergies. People who tried to be good people, and to make everything perfect were suffering at higher rates because they were placing greater demands on themselves, generating great anger that got buried by the persona within their unconscious minds/bodies. The good doctor’s dogged determination to seek the truth has become his legacy as a healer. His 4 books, Mind Over Back Pain, Healing Back Pain, The Mindbody Prescription, and The Divided Mind have changed the way we now view our health and have created a whole new industry, jump started many new careers, and launched a sea of books on the topic. I hope that the good doctor’s contribution is never forgotten or diminished in any way. My own book is a tribute to all of his work and the many other pioneers who also understood that thoughts and emotions caused effects/symptoms, and that the mind and the body were synonymous by nature.

    Where are we now? Dr. Sarno is now the avuncular gentle-man that we know today; the discoverer of one of the greatest insights in medical history. What was that discovery? That people’s lives, past and present, attitudes and fears, were the causes of most of their current health problems. He initially labeled this discovery TMS. His personal desire was to eventually have the acronym TMS replaced with PNPS, Psychogenic Neural Pain Syndrome. But he has been using an interim/transitional term, TPS, for Tension Psychogenic Syndrome. However, there are currently over a dozen different replacement acronyms for TMS, each one coined by a new author who has embraced the good doctor’s work and now made it their own. It should never be forgotten that all the variations began with the initial term, TMS, and that the newer versions are all variations on the original concept.

    Sadly, Dr. Sarno has now retired, leaving behind a beautiful career. But his legacy will live on in the lives of all of us who have healed, and through the professional practices of many others who are now integrating his life’s work into their fields.

    I’ve recently completed a national radio tour for my book, of syndicated radio stations in New York, Memphis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Boston, and Los Angeles. The result was always the same; people believe that TMS is true for everybody but themselves. They understand the concept but reject it when it comes to their own health because their doctor told them they had a bad knee or back or shoulder, or broken sinus. The inundation of false medical advice over the past 70 years has created what Dr. Sarno rightfully labeled a “nation of the partially disabled.” Sufferers simply cannot think outside the box as they limp and stumble daily over old knowledge.

    The most difficult part of spreading the TMS message is the ego-driven resistance to anything that people cannot immediately understand, and because of the fact that people really want to believe their doctor is right. Physicians are the ones who create our healthcare realities. If that reality is based on a false assumption the suffering spreads and only those with vested interested come out ahead. Based on misinformation of the past, people are stubbornly clinging to false realities and refusing to believe their bodies are ok physically, protected by the TMS itself—the safe haven in which they can hide.

    Fibromyalgia sufferers are more often hostile to the mindbody message. Many that I have approached attack me like badgers if TMS is even mentioned. It’s clear why they react this way—but the reason for the response is multifaceted. I can see varying reasons in different people.

    Dr. Sarno has called TMS a protection mechanism. The pain or unpleasant symptom diverts the mind’s eye away from emotions that are too powerful, too sad, or too threatening. So the brain feels it is providing a favor to the individual by allowing him to not have to face any violent, shameful, guilt-ridden thoughts and emotions; thereby protecting not only the sufferer, but also those around him. And—since fibromyalgia is simply a more severe form of TMS it stands to reason that people would indeed reject the notion of TMS more vociferously. If the symptom exists to protect them from painful emotions and since fibromyalgia is a more severe form of TMS, then it’s clear why fibro sufferers would be abnormally hostile at the notion that there may be emotions in-play just outside their awareness. When the truth threatens to breakthrough it must be condemned by the conscious mind—the more painful the truth the greater the condemnation must be.

    And so we have this elegant message of TMS that works “virtually every time” and yet most people will not accept it because of the false memes that have been planted in their subconscious. I called Dr. Sarno to tell him my message was being met with great resistance and he laughed and said, “Well…good luck.” There wasn't much he could say. He had been met with great resistance to the truth over his entire career by laymen and colleagues alike. So the main question remains, how do we expand the message from here?

    Mindbody professionals understand that TMS healing is not a passive modality like giving an injection or handing out a pill. It is something that must be accepted by the sufferers, it cannot be “given” to them. She must be willing to open up to the possibility that her symptoms may be emotion-driven. But as Dr. Sarno once again insightfully declared, “One of the unfortunate realities about working with a disorder like TMS is that most people will reject the idea until they are desperate for a solution.” Early on Dr. Sopher advised me not to argue with people over TMS. The emperor has no clothes. You either see it or you don’t. I have followed his advice closely and only spend my energy and time explaining the process to those who are curious. I walk away from people who want to argue the validity of TMS. Beware the pit-bull and the fibro sufferer, each may turn and bite at any moment—both out of instinct.

    What is the future of TMS? The future was a main reason that Forest contacted me. He felt that the message could best be spread if we worked together; the pain groups, physicians, psychologists, therapists, counselors, authors and past sufferers. There is strength in numbers. The problem I see is the message getting fragmented, diluted, confusing those who may be open and interested. The biggest danger for the future of TMS healing is if professionals begin sending mixed messages as to what is physical vs. what is psychological—obfuscating the message. One of the reasons Dr. Sarno had so much success was that he stayed steady on his message through the years, only adding value to it as his awareness expanded.

    The greatest impact on society must be through the medical professionals themselves. Word of mouth on the ground is important but is not integrated as swiftly and powerfully as when the message comes through a position of authority. Another great help may be mass media like Michael Galinsky’s film on Dr. Sarno’s work, “Story of Pain.” Anything and everything will be helpful in telling the world about the mindbody syndrome. I wish Michael good luck on his project; he’s a great guy with great intentions and a big megaphone.

    There are two TMS “healing basics” that should never be meddled with. First, the most important aspect in healing that should be emphasized is a full belief in the process. If the sufferer cannot get past doubt, deep healing can’t take place. Doubt must slowly be erased through repetition and reinforcement. Second, the desire to heal people should be out of compassion. Part of the cause of suffering today is that healers in the past became distant and took the patient out of the healing equation, foisting upon him advanced medical procedures as surrogates for the physician’s time, listening ear, and powerful touch. Throwing drugs and surgeries and injections and therapies at pain removes the most vital aspect in healing, which is the sufferer himself. As Majid Ali, MD stated, “If a physician can shut up for long enough, the patient will tell him what is wrong….The chronically ill have an intuitive-visceral sense of what is wrong with them.” Deep within they have buried the reason for the current problem due to a covert process called repression.

    Dr. Sarno also stated that medicine was much better 80 and 90 years ago. The proof that he is correct is shown by the fact that we have the greatest medical advancements in history and yet the epidemic grows worse every decade. Our health is by-and-large an effect of the strength of our personal relationships, past and present. When we take the individual’s life out of the healing solution we remove the most powerful healer with it. Healthcare took a nosedive in the United States when the bedside manner disappeared and was replaced with M & Ms: machines and medications. With the PPDA there is renewed hope to get the patient back into the healing process and to witness a reversal of the relationship between the professional and the patient. The move should be back to patient… from client.

    Hopefully with this Wiki and the other TMS groups like TMS Help and Rapid Recovery, the information provided by foot soldiers on the ground will always be available to answer questions for anyone who is willing to open their mind with a deep desire to heal.Also, the great hope is that more TMS healers begin to pop up around the world as the truth spreads.

    Finally, I would like to quickly convey a common problem and typical complaint I hear regarding mindbody healing. Typically it is stated, “I finished reading Dr. Sarno’s book last month and my pain is still here, what am I doing wrong!?!” Pity me that the heart is slow to learn. The faster you try to heal the slower you often heal. Healing is more of a transformational process through self-individuation; a series of steps forward often followed by a few steps back. The concept is not to take the pain away but to take the reason for the pain away through the expansion of natural knowledge. Dr. Sarno stated in the 2004 Medscape interview, “I do not have an approach to dealing with pain but rather the stresses that cause it.” Trying to take pain away is once again focusing on the pain by monitoring progress. A watched pot never boils and a monitored back never heals. People try to heal too fast and the anger and frustration that accompany the feeling of failure generates more anger and tension which further slows healing, and the pain loop continues. It is the paradox of healing. We spend every waking second focused on our health to our own detriment. Every TV ad and most of the health websites are set up to keep people in fear. They are marketing experts playing on the fears of everyone who is in doubt. One website headline recently read, “Your current good health and wellbeing could be hiding a very serious disease!” It’s the business of marketing sickness. If we could only learn how to live instead of how not to die we could be much healthier and happier.

    So the future of TMS in general depends on how the message is delivered and who delivers it, combined with a common voice, all with the purpose of undoing the damage done by the medical business over the past century. I cannot recall a single back pain sufferer over the past 11 years who hasn’t agreed with TMS, but has followed up that same agreement with, “Yes, but I have degenerated discs and multiple herniations, my doctor told me I did.” It will take great patience and persistence to overcome the damage already done.

    Over the past 11 years I’ve answered approximately 35, 000 emails on TMS, perhaps many more, and I’ve spoken live on the radio to millions of people about the TMS mindbody process. The main question people ask is, “Ok… I see the point… but what do I do??” That question doesn’t have an easy answer because the human brain is involved. We all learn differently. Our biases and fears, beliefs and biographies are all different. I hope, with the formation of the PPDA, and the existence of the TMS Wiki, TMS Help, and Rapid Recovery that all these questions will be answered as the questions arise. The move is on and it’s a great step forward. It is a return to healing that includes the sufferer who got himself into his current state, and only he can get himself back out. But he needs the guiding compass of knowledgeable and compassionate teachers. The Latin word for doctor means, “to teach.”

    Good luck, and know that healing can take place if the belief is deep enough. It’s not always simple knowledge that heals people; it often takes much work and repetition, and patience. I’ve helped hundreds to heal and you can heal too. Sometimes lives, lifestyles and perceptions must change, but in the end it’s worth it. Pain has no place to hide in a person who is deeply happy and fulfilled, absent of conflict and armed with the correct information.

    I will try to answer any questions here if I can. If you doubt you can heal don’t worry, most of us who healed also doubted. Answers are all around to assist you. If you want to heal, you will heal. This is the good news.

    Happiness first and good health will certainly follow…

    Steven Ray Ozanich
    The Great Pain Deception

  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Steve,

    Great post! Thanks so much for writing this. I'll write more later, but just wanted to jump in and thank you for writing first.

  3. honeybear424

    honeybear424 Well known member

    This was just what I needed this morning to get me out of my funk. Thank you.
  4. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Great inspirational post Steve, thank you.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I am glad that you mentioned repetition and reinforcement as the way to eradicate doubt and fully belief in the process. One of the best lines that I have heard recently was that even though we can understand something on an intellectual level, it can take a while for us to believe something on an unconscious level. This is where reading and re-reading Sarno and info about TMS can really help the message sink in. In my recovery, I found that reading about TMS and other people's stories really helped me to believe that I was not fragile.

    I absolutely love the idea of trying to take away the reasons behind the pain and not the pain itself. This really is all about how you view your symptoms. If you want to take away the pain, your focus will be on the pain. If you want to address your repressed emotions, your focus will be on your repressed emotions. This of course takes time to achieve, because, as you mention, we are inundated with messages that we should be afraid of having a serious disease. From ads on TV to the medical community, we have this idea that we have a physical problem shoved down our throats. Recovery is journey and it can take time to reprogram how we view our symptoms and their causes.

    Part of what thinking psychologically involves not worrying how are symptoms are day to day, because our focus is not on the symptom, but on our emotions. This involves, as Steve mentioned, just going out and living our lives and doing what makes us happy. That is the biggest reason I recovered. I just dived in to doing the activities I loved to do, and they made me a lot happier.

    Steve, thanks so much for posting this. It touches on a lot of really important points.

    hecate105 and Laudisco like this.
  6. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    How did you copy those pieces of text and highlight them in pink?

    I learned from my own experience and from helping others heal.... where many mistakes are made in healing. We learn by fire or we get burned repeatedly. The biggest mistakes I made on the painful journey were trying to get rid of pain and then giving myself daily report cards on how I felt that day. Trying to take away pain is still focusing on the body and therefore detrimental to healing. You should do what Forest said here, "I dived into doing the activities I loved to do..." That's it! My work is done, he summed up everything nicely in one sentence. But we have been bombarded by the notion that we are falling apart physically and so we are afraid we are hurting ourselves further. That--plus the fact that at some deep level we want to think we are hurting ourselves so we can rationalize why the pain is present, in order to avoid those pesky emotions.

    There are over 600 emotions studied but only 4 truly significant in TMS--anger being the most misunderstood but most relevant. The emotion we most fear is anger because we have the least control over it. TMSers have tempers, very silent but very big. Long fuses with big bombs. They have tempers because they were taught, or picked up through memetics, that showing anger was a bad thing. So they never learned how to express it. If you can't express something, or face it, then you have to repress it. Anger is energy, if you repress energy it destabilizes the ANS disrupting its smooth operation. This is why John Lee's Facing The Fire is such a good tool in recovery.

    Self expression is vital to deep healing. The good doctor used the example of the mother who threw cold water in her kids face to stop him from showing anger. It works--the kid stops expressing for life--with a host of physical problems. It's instant conditioning, not as good as instant coffee but powerful nonetheless.

    I smiled when Forest wrote "medical community" because I did that too. But when my editor (who was an MD) first read my manuscript he told me the term did not fit as I was using it. Community implies they all hold hands and sing Kumbaya in perfect agreement as unicorns dance around singing "long live world peace." The problem, as I had described it in my manuscript, was due to the fact that they could never agree on anything, and added to the problem by throwing in conflicting messages. And since they all had different purposes for being in the field; from genuine concern to financial gain, he felt it should be "medical industry." I agreed with him and changed all the communities to industry. I think most people agree that when their physician comes in late, never talks to them, looks in their eyes quickly with a flashlight and writes out a prescription, that that person is not in the field to heal people, but to make a career.Few physicians treated people like Marc Sopher, MD and Don Colbert, MD.

    Do what you love in your life. Express your concerns to anyone you care about, and forgive with all your heart. Pain is both a message and a diversion. Pay attention to the message and pay no attention to the diversion. It is the yin and the yang...

    Steve Ozanich
  7. Justina

    Justina Peer Supporter

    Thanks Steve, your posts are inspiration and you have a very expressive (and convincing!) writing style.

    Do you have any plans to create a Kindle version of your book?
  8. Chuck

    Chuck Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve - It is great to have you hear. Quoting text is pretty easy to learn. I made a tutorial video about it that you can watch in the thread: http://tmswiki.org/forum/threads/how-to-use-the-quote-function.292/ . The easiest way to do it is to copy and past the text you want to quote in the reply box and then hit the blue quote tab.

    Control really is a big part of it. We get angry at our employer when we don't feel like we are in control of our career, and we get angry at life when we feel like we are not in control of it anymore. It reminds me a lot of the Existential ideas Dr. Zafirides mentioned in this thread . There are certain core issues that create anxiety and stress because we just can't control them. We want to be the perfect person who is kind. Having strong emotions like anger can be difficult for us to process. It is important to remember that we are not our emotions, and there is nothing wrong with having anger and fear.
  9. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Interesting to read about your views on 'fibro' sufferers being more militant than other pain sufferers. Today I went to my medical practice to pick up a prescription for my OH. I also picked up a copy of their monthly newsletter. In it there was an announcement about one of the doctors in the practice giving a talk next month on guess what? Fibromyalgia. Shall I go and gate crash? I might not live to tell!
    hecate105 likes this.
  10. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Justina my book is on Kindle. I don't own a Kindle but quite a few people in England wanted the book converted so I did it. Someday I may get one but I'm sooo tired of reading right now. I may do an audio book soon. It was hearing Dr. Sarno's voice that catapulted me forward.

    Chuck thanks for the tips. I will try it "here" to forever encrypt your usage of the word hear...lol.

    I'm teasing you Chuck, but things like that used to bother me if I made an error in writing, but not any more. I don't care to have that much control, and mistakes are a part of life. I know I will make them, and learned to laugh. As the old saying goes, "I'm not laughing with you, I'm laughing AT you." Eye wheel spelll sum wordz rong two mayke peep-hole pheel beddur ubowt mayking missteaks. We need to lose some control if we are suffering. We need to let go of our past and let life flow freely, unfolding as it may with a lighter heart.

    You are so correct about control. The want of total control results in the loss of all control. It is part of the paradox of life. Worry of health brings on health problems. It is the essence of Jung's work on the shadow. Everyone carries a shadow, instead of fearing it, it's best to embrace it. We all have anger and fear. Accepting it is a transformation as well as realizing that we are not our emotions. Our emotions are simply a part of our experience (filling our dry river beds). Each neuropeptide chain produced gets reproduced each time we reexperience that particular event (in reality or just in our imagery). But we can alter how we react and create new experiences/chains. We are more than what we see, and have greater control than we think.

    YB44 please go gate crash the fi-bros. Wear your bulletproof vest. We will visit you in the hospital. Those of us who healed simply try to help the fibroginians; trying to do a good deed, but we get met with great anger. I remember years back after I healed I went into a FF, fibro forum, to tell them how they could heal. It was like running across a group of wounded badgers. The forum moderator was a little old lady who looked like the old lady in Tweety Bird. If I had been near her she would have stuck me in the eye with her knitting needle. It was then that I realized that fibro was her life, and that I was threatening her. Her entire life was in putting out her daily column on fibro and in answering questions about fibro. I remember that day she had written a fibro column on a new type of tea that she said would help them "manage" their pain. I come in like a bull stomping on her new china, threatening her very existence with heretical words of healing! What an oaf I was. Her very existence, her column, her reason for getting up in the morning, her self esteem, her self worth, were all tied to the continuing suffering of others. I know exactly how she feels. It is so rewarding to help people ease their pain. So she feels good about herself, that she is adding value to the world with her tips of ointments and teas, and good books, and granny's rheumatize medicine. I had threatened her very reason for getting up each day. I may as well have cut her heart out by telling them that they could all heal. She felt good about herself because she felt that she too was doing good in her life, and she was being heard by people, which I put on the first page of my book under, Life Is Relationship. Plus she had friends at the site who also liked telling of new placebos that they had discovered like drinking birch bark water and new types of candles. They all had self interest there, and much of it was complaining about life together in a beautiful commune. It was a sweet social interaction for them that dumb little me had threatened.

    That was my first encounter and new understanding that people do experience "secondary gain" in suffering as Freud said they often would. There have been other bloody encounters with the fibroites, and each one has been offended in a different way. After I healed I was so excited to take the message out to the folks, but I could never have planned for the the reaction to possible healing. I learned through experience how to approach people in pain--yet the resistance is still great. But I keep trying, and I learned to put my cup on BEFORE I begin speaking. I read on this site the other day of fibro sufferers who healed with the good doctor, and so the risk is worth the danger. But I still get all my travel shots before I journey into the kingdom of sufferers.

    Steve Ozanich
    Enrique likes this.
  11. Pandamonium

    Pandamonium Well known member

    Yep, been there and done that, those people are not ready to listen, more's the pity.
    Beach-Girl likes this.
  12. MsMetaP

    MsMetaP Peer Supporter

    Loved reading this post from Steve. It's been a challenging week, with the death of a friend from cancer, the services and trying to be supportive of her husband, who I'm actually closer to. I've known the hubby for years and became friends with the wife when they married a couple of years ago. Very sad situation. A second marriage for both of them after many years of lousy first marriages. Two years together being so happy, finally, then this. She was diagnosed in late January and gone in three months.

    Of course I stuffed feelings about this, and was also anxious, so I had some sciatica this week. Still, it's now probably 20% of what it used to be so I'm not complaining. Progress is progress and I'm grateful. This post was just what I needed to get me back on track. Thanks Steve!
    danielle likes this.
  13. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    I love the idea of an audio book.

    Hello from a fibro-er. I just started the structured program. Been aware of and trying to heal from severe TMS for a couple years...had suspected the mindbody connection basically the whole time (14 years) but learned of Sarno a couple years ago.

    I am maybe rare in that my symptoms are severe but I really believe the connection between the tension, repressed/suppressed emotions, and the pain. Maybe because I've had just enough 'aha' moments to convince me.

    Steve, I am in the middle of your book right now and really appreciating it. I have some questions I would love to ask about a therapist I'm working with and how to tell if it is the right thing. I'm putting so much time and money into it and I don't want to be feeding anything in the wrong direction. Is this a good place to ask or should I start a new thread?

    hecate105 likes this.
  14. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Hi Danielle,

    There's something about an audio book that deeply connects with people. Every day we try our best to avoid rejection, and the goal of that is to prevent isolation. If someone is "talking to us" we aren't isolated, we are sharing the same problems. We don't fear life as much when we feel we are in it with others.

    I haven't seen the structured program here yet but from what I've read on here the people who set this Wiki up know what they're doing. Keep working on it.

    It's very rare that someone doesn't feel they are the exception to healing. Most people ask me if I think they are in the minority and might not heal, that's normal. But they do heal. One problem is that people often read of miraculously quick healings and when they don't heal fast they feel they have failed. But healing takes time, lots of persistence, and the continuing gathering of information. The brain changes very slowly to old ways.

    You're not rare in that your symptoms are severe. TMS can be horrific, but that means the emotional pain behind the physical pain is just as painful. The deeper the emotional scar the more aggressive your brain will be in preventing anything from flowing back into consciousness. All roads lead back to childhood.

    I know what you mean when you say that if you're going to put your blood sweat and tears, and money into healing, you want to make sure you're going about it in the right manner.

    Your therapist should know about TMS. Dr. Sarno sometimes sent people to his psychologists, there's nothing wrong with that, in fact it's a great idea if everyone saw one now and then. But the good doctor said that sometimes the psychologists would call him back and say, "hey your patient is straying." So he would call the patient back to his office and begin again. What that means is that the patient felt that he or she was supposed to talk about their life, and childhood and spousal problems, etc. And as he said, "that's all well and good" but the purpose is supposed to be to connect the symptoms to the emotions, and then to sever them. So, talking about your problems can be cathartic, but it's not the concept behind TMS therapy. Your therapist should be helping you connect your health issues to your psychological state. So they need to have some idea of mindbody disorders, if not, hopefully they will be open to learn about it. Give them a copy of the good doctor's book or even my book and tell them this is what you're working on. tell them you know you have TMS and you need help with TMS healing.

    Was there anything specific you wanted to ask? Keep reading my book, your questions may be answered as you read on. Everything in there has a purpose for being there, from separation anxiety, to not being able to say no, to highly sensitive people, to placebos, to laughter, to birth order, to archetypal figures, to memetics, etc. It may take several readthroughs but each time should reveal something new.

    I will check back to see if you have anything you need some help with. You will heal, but it takes full belief that often comes from falling backward sometimes, and finaly to that "ah ha" moment. You will heal when you no longer think you have TMS, but when you know it.

    Forest likes this.
  15. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    I like that, and also for me reading is associated with pain—maybe conditioned but still a good excuse to put off reading!

    Thanks. The scars must be pretty deep then.

    Thanks for your reply. I look forward to learning more and more as I read your book. I'll ask about my situation now anyway in case you can comment: my therapist is a Reichian therapist so he is very familiar with the connection between thoughts, emotions, illness, suppression, repression, etc. "Somaticizing" is his speciality. I am just not sure if the approach is best-suited for TMS. Do you know anything about that style? I know he knows the mindbody connection very intimately, but after 2 years of very intense therapy, twice a week, the pain is basically untouched (I get a lot more relief from a simple a-ha moment reading something on this forum for example).

    He does spend a lot of time trying to help me get in better contact with what I'm feeling, I'm just not sure of the approach. It is very confrontational, and during the couch work (which isn't every time) there is a lot of controlled kicking, screaming), and basically every session there is a lot of crying. Some things have improved, like for example I was getting a lot of hot flashes (I'm only in my mid-30s) and I got a clear connection between that and stuffing rage, and those have improved. As well as dizziness.

    But for some reason the fibromyalgia-ish pain is stuck in there. And the only time I really notice a relief from it in connection to the therapy is after a big emotional catharsis, because it takes so much pressure off. But it is really temporary—I question whether deeper habits are really changing. It is really helpful to trust someone and have someone know about my life and problems who I can talk to, and I really appreciate this , but I don't know if it's the most direct approach. I bring up TMS regularly and he seems on-board. But when I ask him why after 2 years, so much pain is still there (and why my jaw clenching is not improving except for the very rare insightful moment where it lets go for a bit), when I keep hearing stories of other people healing more quickly, he says that I don't know if those other people's cases are as severe as mine. That I am a lot worse off than most people he's seen in terms of somaticizing problems due to the emotional pain I've been through.

    Thanks Steve! I appreciate it.
  16. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    BTW, I saw my therapist soon after I wrote this. I shared a lot today about what I'd been observing & experiencing the last few days (TMS insights) and a lot of stuff came up, some deep old emotional pain, and my neck felt freer than it has in probably 14 years since a car crash started my excuse for neck problems!!! I was really in touch with something and the neck had no limited motion or pain at all for a little bit. Now the pain is back again (though not as bad, and more in other places besides the neck) and I get frustrated again. But trying to remember what everyone's been telling me, that progress can still be happening if the pain comes back over and over, but pay attention to the small changes happening...they add up... Anyway that felt amazing today and also made me think maybe he is a good therapist but I just need to be more involved in actively directing the sessions and keeping them focused on my TMS-related stuff.

    Just wanted to add this about the therapy session. Thanks for reading.
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  17. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Hi Danielle,

    Scars do run deep but don’t think that you can’t overcome them. The unconscious doesn’t understand time; it doesn’t work on a linear scale. Something that hurt you deeply when you were a child, or at anytime, stays in you like it happened a few moments ago. You learn to live with it, or around it, by adding layers to your persona, and by giving yourself more physical symptoms. Sometimes you need to express or recognize and face that pain, and sometimes you need to let go and forgive what was. Neither is easy, but it’s part of the personal growth or transformational process of midlife where you move from ego development to ego transcendence.

    However—you don’t always have to do these things to heal from TMS. It is healthy to heal your past and is often recommended. With TMS healing all you’re doing is changing how your brain reacts to symptoms. As the good doctor said, “It’s simple…and it isn’t.”

    I know that Reichian is some form of mindbody healing and that it attempts to unite mind and body through mindfulness. And if your therapist is an expert in somaticizing then that sounds like a good starting point. But I don’t know much about it beyond that so I’m not comfortable handing out advice. Dr. Zafirides or Alan Gordon would be better to ask about how effective it would be in TMS healing. I’m not sure about controlled kicking, and screaming. Sometimes you can more deeply condition yourself to act a certain way. Venting is conditioning. And you say that after 2 years your brain is “basically untouched.” TMS healing takes time but there should be some progress after 2 years. Deeper habits may not be changing; you may just be touching the surface with each session and falling back with no net gain. This could be why you’re reverting back after each session. But again, I don’t have that type of knowledge, best ask Dr. Z or Alan G., Si?

    I don’t know how far you’ve read in my book but I spoke of something called psycho-archeology. This is the nit-picking of your life’s details over and over, digging up your pain, never releasing it, never allowing for the pain to just fade away. This could be the cycle you’re in. If it were me, I wouldn’t look to cry each time I went into therapy, my goal would be to heal (look at that example of programmed dreams that psychiatrist Clancy McKenzie gave me on page 307). If healing involves crying sometimes then by all means, but healing may just come from greater insight…those tiny ‘ah has’ that piece together your past, how you got here, and what is necessitating your symptoms now. It is more important to understand WHY you are repressing something than WHAT you are repressing. What necessitates you to repress deep and powerful thoughts and emotions? That answer is because you were brought up in an environment that either wouldn’t allow for expression of fear and anger, or because you never learned how. No matter the “why,” those emotions are too powerful, too sad, or too threatening to face and you don’t know how to face them today. And since you can’t express them or don’t have anyone to express them to, you bury them in your body to cope through each day, to appear “as normal”—whatever normal is--to continue on in life. Remember, Carl Jung said, “show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” He knew the persona was there to cover some deep issues in everyone who lives. We all have our issues, they are part of the human condition. Or as the good doctor would say, “it is universal.”

    I can see the mechanism so clearly. I used to think that I wished I had easy answers for people. But not so much anymore. I now believe suffering has a greater purpose. Did you read my Chapter 25 yet?

    I don’t know why your Reichmologist would tell you that your case may be worse than others? That sounds a bit self-defeating and plays right into the strategy of the TMS-brain; to keep you thinking you are unfixable. I wish I had the answers for you but I’m no expert, and when it comes to the brain even professionals are often dumbfounded. All they have to go on is cause and effect, a posteriori.

    I’ve worked with thousands of TMSers over the past 11 years with their TMS and they are always so insightful about their lives, just like you are, and how well you’ve thought through how you’re healing. But it isn’t surprising since those who come to open their minds to TMS are astute and insightful people to even open up to the concept. Sometimes I think this acute awareness is part of what gets them into emotional chaos but it is also the trait that pulls them out. So be of great cheer. You can heal and you will heal if you are patient, and you remain persistent. I have never seen TMS healing fail, that is, in people who stick to it. I see people try and quit after a few weeks, and then say it failed, but it did not, they failed it—it didn’t fail them. We own our lives and our health is a report card on the strength of our relationships, past and present.

    I see a second email where you’ve just described your neck pain and how it released for a bit, but did you notice what you said before that?

    There ya go. This is TMS healing, and that comes from little TMS insights. Did you notice how I kept saying that healing for me was like piecing a puzzle together? Month by month I kept getting those little insights, and most of those came from the good doctor. I kept soaking up everything he said or recently published. Back then there wasn’t this entire movement of TMS healing and so we grasped at straws hoping that more details would come out. The final piece of the healing puzzle for me was the role of anger. I never felt it, and so didn’t think I had an anger problem. I am controlled and serene, which is the problem. If you have symptoms then you have a temper, if you don’t feel that anger/rage then that’s the problem—because you should!

    As far as you actively being involved in your therapy sessions I would say yes, of course. I believe in humanistic psychology, Carl Rogers, et. al.. Client Centered healing. I learn best by the Socratic Method, and we tend to heal according to how we learn. And of course we know that learning is the key to healing—it is the penicillin to this disorder.

    I hope you have hope because without hope we are lost. The human spirit is immutable, just believe in yourself and your abilities and know that you have much greater control over your life than you currently think you do. Don’t wait for healing to be handed on a silver platter, take personal charge. Bad health isn’t something that just happens to us. There are many reasons for our current health state, many deeply buried—and our bodies react accordingly.

    Good luck Danielle, I will check back later to see how you’re doing. People are just now finishing my book and the emails are rolling in rapidly.

    Steve Ozanich
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  18. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just read chapter 25 and really liked it. It may sound odd to someone just starting out, but suffering can have a positive affect on our lives. There is a terrific line from the chapter stating, "TMS pain can be a blessing, since it provides the catalyst for needed change. Suffering also uncovers the deep desire for spiritual balance because it unveils to the individual that he isn't happy-not on his own path-out of balance...Suffering is not the goal in life; it is an integral part of life that gives opportunity for creativity and growth as it insists upon needed change."

    We have TMS for a reason and it is a sign, not that we are in pain, but that we need to change some part of our life. Having this mindset can help us change how we view our symptoms and our recovery. Instead of being frustrated and feeling sorry for ourselves for having these symptoms, we can focus on what TMS can teach us and how it can get us to live a more balanced life. If we understand what TMS is trying to show us (that we need to focus on our emotions) then we will be able to use it in a positive way in our life.
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  19. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve, thanks so much for your reply. I have been out of town but will get back to this thread soon.
    In appreciation,
  20. danielle

    danielle Peer Supporter

    Hi Steve, thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot. I have made some progress and backslid a few times since we wrote these last messages but I am more hopeful than I have been in years. Still working on your book. You sure went through hell and so your recovery provides some good inspiration. I had a bit of a breakthrough in therapy and feel less conflicted about it now — at least when I’m not doing the forced catharsis. If I focus the right way, I can use that time to really be with difficult feelings that are coming up without letting them go into the body instead. I might still ask those TMS docs what they think about it all though. The psycho-archaeology thing makes sense. I’m not sure that my therapist is encouraging me to do that but I think I do this a lot.

    I have had some moments of emotion that was so intensely painful and uncomfortable that I was like, “oh, it makes total sense that my brain would rather experience physical symptoms.” But the rest of the time, I’m wondering why I’d rather be in so much pain than just feel some emotions. When the emotions are really real, I get it. The strategy totally makes sense.

    What I notice right now is there is still a lot of pain but there are bits of relief a lot more regularly now. Whenever the pain is back though, I get really discouraged and act as if I’m not getting anywhere. Trying to stay objective and ‘stay the course’ because I think something good is happening. It’s just hard to believe it when I’m sitting here typing through all these aches and pains.

    Back to your book... :)

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