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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.



Trauma-Informed Care

  • Somatic Experiencing
  • Compassionate Care (Self-Compassion and Compassion-Focused Therapy)
  • Mindfulness
  • Internal Family Systems
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • EMDR
  • 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.


*Click above to enroll in the course.

Meet Our Psychologists

Dr. Fernandez

Patricia Fernandez, PsyD

Chief of Psychology Department

Dr. Fernandez completed her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Loma Linda University and finished her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Southern California. Her interest was in Health Psychology, working in the Pain Clinic, Hematology/Oncology and Craniofacial unit. Dr. Fernandez is committed to bridging gaps through integration, and in the healthcare field. She has been involved in research regarding the clinical aspect of cultural needs to help strengthen professional relationships within diverse backgrounds. Trained in attachment-based psychodynamic and the unique needs of a medical community, Dr. Fernandez continues to work in an integrative model in modalities of group therapy, individual therapy and family therapy. Psychological testing, from neuropsychological examination to pre-surgical psychological assessments and emotional & cognitive diagnostics, is another area of focus. She also enjoys the classroom environment and has taught Social Psychology, Testing & Measurements and Abnormal Psychology. Recently, she was a staff member at Gonzaga University in the psychology department and currently enjoys homeschooling her children. The last decade has brought continued interest in attachment, mindfulness, yoga and exploration concerning individuals living in chronic pain. Mindful of resilience and loss within this community, Dr. Fernandez values the infinite worth of all. Deep Peace.


Pamela Clark, PsyD

Clinic Psychologist

Dr. Clark is a licensed psychologist who completed her doctorate at Alliant International University. Her background is in Marriage and Family Therapy and she is trained in clinical assessment, evaluation and diagnostics. She completed her postdoctoral training at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute where she served as a staff psychologist within a multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation program. She has 12 years of experience in helping individuals, families and couples adapt and thrive with chronic illness and medical limitations. Special populations she has experience with include traumatic brain injuries, concussions, stroke, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress, injured workers, as well as chronic pain. In addition to her clinical work she serves as a Balint group facilitator at the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.  She is passionate about providing empathetic, compassionate, and evidence-based treatment to reduce the impact of psychosocial stressors and collaborate with patients to improve their quality of life and reduce their sense of suffering. Outside of her work she enjoys hiking and country swing dancing.

Dr. Alyna Ohanian

Alyna Ohanian, PhD

Clinic Psychologist


What is chronic pain and how does it work?

Psychology Forms

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.

  1. Patient Questionnaire
  2. PHQ/GAD7
  3. Audit
  4. PC-PTSD
  5. PCS

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.