Welcome to the NWSPM Psychology Department
The goal of the Northwest Spine and Pain Management Psychology Department is to provide the highest quality whole body care through the integration of evidence-based psychological approaches designed to increase mobility and functioning while reducing chronic pain.
Pain is More Than a Physical Sensation
Pain involves biological, psychological, and emotional factors. Exploring and understanding how their history is inherently associated with long-term pain can help patients better manage their pain.
Our psychologists are skilled at working with patients to help them understand how their history influences their biology and thus contributes to their personal pain experience. When patients understand why they hurt, they hurt less.
Our team assists patients in developing personalized strategies to address the challenges of chronic pain so patients can recover functioning, improve their quality of life, and return to living a rich, full, and meaningful life.
- Somatic Experiencing
- Compassionate Care (Self-Compassion and Compassion-Focused Therapy)
- Internal Family Systems
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Psycho-Education including Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE)
- Individualized Treatment Plans
- Group Sessions
Pain-Neuroscience Education (PNE)
Pain-Neuroscience Education (PNE) is a structured approach to teaching patients the neurobiology and neurophysiology of pain. PNE stresses the impact of cognitions on pain and how chronic pain can adversely affect cognitions, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. Changing the underlying unhelpful thoughts and beliefs patients have about pain is crucial for improving outcomes. We believe when our patients understand why they hurt, they hurt less.
Our pain-psychology team at Northwest Spine and Pain Medicine has developed a five-lesson plan curriculum for utilizing PNE with our patients.
Traditional education on pain has focused on the biomedical-education model. However, this education, from a patient's perspective, is often incomplete and iatrogenic. Increased pain related fear locks patients into a "fear of pain" cycle that can lead to disuse, disability, and ultimately increased pain over time. By contrast, patients who participate in PNE before receiving traditional interventions, such as surgery or physical therapy, are shown to have better outcomes when compared to patients who did not receive PNE in combination with these treatments.
Meet Our Psychologists
Patricia Fernandez, PsyD
Chief of Psychology Department
Pamela Clark, PsyD
Alyna Ohanian, PhD
What is chronic pain and how does it work?
Please complete the following online forms prior to your initial evaluation.
Online forms allow us to collect important information from you in a timely manner while also being better for the environment and helping to reduce the risk of potential illness transmission.
Each form takes approximately three minutes. The entire process should take no more than twenty minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will I have to go to therapy?
Your psychologist will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that will include goals and number of sessions needed.