START YOUR JOURNEY TOWARDS
LIVING WELL WITH CHRONIC PAIN/ILLNESS
Join at any time and “pay as you go!”
Complete the Screening Form to get started
Link to Screening Form: https://forms.gle/ohFx62pm41UzZwH49
Are you struggling with managing your chronic pain or illness? Do you feel like a failure because you can’t contribute like you used to? Do you miss your “old self?” Imagine if you could manage your pain and illness better so that you can work, cook dinner, play with your kids, resume your hobby…get back to your “old self!” With support from others who have “been there” and are battling similar things, you can learn skills to help you manage your energy and thoughts, you can learn to manage the effects of pain/illness better. The name “Battle Buddies” came from a member of the support group who expressed her appreciation for being able to talk about the nitty-gritty aspects of living with chronic pain/illness with others in the group. Those who are not fighting the same battle sometimes just can’t really understand. Are you ready to learn how to LIVE your life with chronic pain/illness?
This VIRTUAL SUPPORT GROUP can give you the support you need and teach you some of the most important skills for managing your chronic physical pain/illness and helping you LIVE WELL WITH CHRONIC PAIN/ILLNESS.
This virtual group meets on a secure online platform every Tuesday of the month from 11:00 am -12:00 pm. The first Tuesday of each month is more of an experiential, Internal Family Systems, meeting in which we explore the parts of us that need kindness and compassion as we go continue on life’s journey. This support group is for adult men and women (ages 25 and older) who have at least one chronic pain/illness condition and who have been struggling with chronic pain/illness for at least 6 months. Due to professional state licensing laws, you must be an Oklahoma resident to join this group.
In this group, you will get support from others who understand what it’s like to walk in your shoes and learn several skills that are evidence-based and scientifically shown to help you enjoy life…even though you have chronic pain/illness. We use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS) approaches in the group.
The CBT skills you will learn include:
- The Gate Control Theory (what most medical doctors are not taught about in medical school)
- How thoughts, behaviors, and emotions affect pain and what to do about it,
- Relaxation strategies to ease pain,
- Activity pacing and how it can prevent the “push-crash-burn” cycle; the “spoon theory”
- How to make plans for “flare days”,
- How to prevent relapse
- Being assertive and setting boundaries
- Improving your sleep
- Ideas and support from others with chronic pain and illness
You can learn more about Internal Family Systems online, but I like this blog to help explain the model, as well as the book Altogether You by Jenna Riemersma.
Learn more about the theoretical foundation of the group in this sneak preview video of the April topic:
This group doesn’t meet in person for a number of reasons. First, you likely have a compromised immune system, so meeting in person during the COVID pandemic doesn’t seem wise. Second, we don’t have the physical space at Legacy Counseling Service to offer this group to a large number of people. Third, your body and/or your illness symptoms are likely to be unpredictable, which makes it difficult to know if you can get up and about to make it into the office. It’s hard to make a commitment to be anywhere. Fourth, it can be difficult to sit or stand for even short periods of time. You need to move, shift, lay down, stand up, etc. and you’ll get more from the group if you can do that in the comfort of your home (it WILL be a goal, however, to get you out of your home more to enjoy life with others). Fifth, you don’t have to come to each meeting (although it’s preferable). New topics will be introduced each month (as opposed to each week) so if you can only come to 1 or 2 meetings each month that’s fine and you won’t be “behind.” Sixth, you likely have frequent medical appointments, and going to just “one more” feels overwhelming.
I’ve designed this group with the above things in mind. I’m confident that a virtual support group will give you the physical freedom you need to get support and learn skills while also allowing you the flexibility to gain the emotional freedom you need.
- WHAT IS THIS GROUP?
- This is an ongoing VIRTUAL support group for adult men and women ages 18 years and older who have chronic pain and/or chronic illness.
- This group is only for Oklahoma residents.
- New topics are introduced at the beginning of each month, as opposed to each week. Each month builds on the previous month (as opposed to each week building on the previous week). You will get more out of the group if you come more often because, while learning about these topics is relatively easy, implementing these things can be tough for people. This is why new topics are only introduced monthly. So, new topics are introduced only monthly so that you have time to experiment with new thoughts and behaviors and time to determine their impact on how you are living life and coping with your pain/illness.
- MEETING DATES AND TIMES:
- The virtual group meets every Tuesdays of each month from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm. The first Tuesday of each month is focused on doing more experiential, Internal Family Systems work to help group members connect with the parts of themselves that need more understanding and compassion.
- The virtual “doors” open at 11:00 am.
- REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY:
- Internet connection or WiFi
- A computer, a smartphone, an IPAD, etc.
- Headphones for privacy (not required, but preferred)
- Google Meet app for desktop/laptops and/or Smartphones
- Click here for a guide on how to use Google Meet.
- Click here for a step-by-step guide to using Google Meet on your smartphone
- The virtual meeting will open at 11:00 am. The “doors” for the session will be closed at 11:10 to members who are joining late.
- At 11:00 am each group will start with a brief “check-in” by members who want to share what they are proud of in the past week. It’s important to celebrate small wins. It’s the small wins, repeated over time, that we learn from and repeat, that produce positive and lasting changes.
- The leader will give a brief recap of the monthly topic based on the teaching video for the month. Group members will then have time to discuss how the monthly topic applies to them (how they are doing it well, where they are stuck, etc.). During this time group members and the leader will be able to offer the group support, encouragement, and new ways of thinking or doing things as it relates to the monthly topic. We will be using the monthly handout as a guide to keep things on track.
- In the last 10 minutes, there will be time for individual reflection of the “nuggets” from the group. This is a great time for members to think about what they learned and heard from others and to identify what they need to put energy into during the next week. If you keep a chronic pain/illness journal or planner this is time to write notes and make plans for the next week that will help you implement the ideas from the group (click here for a link to amazon for pain/illness-specific journal/planners such as Clever Fox Medical Journal, or for more general planners, like Clever Fox, click here). Or, you may want to keep a simple blank notebook to write notes in.
- Your investment into yourself is $40 per group session. This is a “pay as you go” group. This is a private pay group; insurance will not be billed.
- SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL
- A monthly teaching video and handout will be provided each month. You will have access to this information through a password-protected link that will be sent out the day before the group meeting. You will be able to download and/or print the handouts.
- WHAT ABOUT PRIVACY/CONFIDENTIALITY?
- The Goole Meet platform is a secure, HIPPA online platform making it safe for online meetings without people “sneaking” into the group. Further, online registered members of the group will have the link to the meeting and the leaders will not let anyone into the meeting if they are not an established group member.
- For the group to be effective, it’s important that all group members understand and uphold others’ privacy and confidentiality.
- It is expected that group members will NOT share the telehealth appointment link with anyone unauthorized to attend the support group appointments.
- It is expected that group members will NOT record or photograph any part of the group.
- Group members may learn the full names of other group members due to their names being listed on the video (you can change your online name). It is expected that group members will NOT share the group members’ names or the things they discuss with anyone in any format.
- It is expected that group members will be alone where others will not see the screen or hear the conversations of the group. This is why using headphones is preferred.
- Group members who violate any of the above expectations will be dismissed from the virtual support group. No refunds will be given if you are dismissed from the group.
- Being under the influence of alcohol and/or non-prescription drugs (aka, drinking or using non-prescription drugs before the meeting) is not allowed during the virtual support group.
- Actively using alcohol and/or non-prescription drugs is not allowed during virtual support group sessions.
- Appropriate clothing is mandatory. You are required to have on a shirt and pants. If your clothing shows private body parts or does not adequately cover your body you will be dismissed from the group for that session, and possibly from all future virtual support groups.
- All member’s microphones will be automatically muted upon joining each weekly group.
- Yelling, cursing, excessive talking, name-calling, and insults to others are not allowed and you will be dismissed from a session, or possibly from all future virtual support groups.
- Your microphone needs to be on mute while others are talking. Your camera needs to be on during the virtual support group.
- Having others in the room, or allowing others to come in and out of your room, during the virtual support group is not allowed. You will be given one “grace pass” if this happens by accident. From then on you will be dismissed from the group for that session, or possibly from all future virtual support group sessions if you aren’t able to be in the group in a private setting.
- Refunds will not be given for any reason if a group member is dismissed from the group for violations of privacy, confidentiality, or behavioral expectations.
- WAYS TO INTERACT IN A VIRTUAL SUPPORT GROUP:
- You can show support to other group members non-verbally so as not to interrupt the person who is speaking. You can show agreement by nodding your head, snapping your fingers, clapping, or “raising the roof” with your hands. You can show sympathy or compassion by patting one of your shoulders, hugging your shoulders, and nodding your head.
- When you have something to add or you have a question, you can write it in the Chat feature or you can “raise your hand” on the online platform.
- While there is no formal commitment to the group (you can come when you are able to and “pay as you go”), you will get more from the group if you make a commitment to yourself to show up and participate in the group every week that group is offered. You will develop more trust in others, and others will trust you more when you show up regularly. You will also gain more skills and be able to implement them better if you consistently show up and do the work.
- BEGIN THE SCREENING PROCESS:
- Click on this link to begin the online screening questionnaire. Once you complete the online screening questionnaire Dr. Leedy or an employee of Legacy Counseling Service will email you within 7 days to let you know if it seems that you will or will not benefit from this group, and if so, there will be information about the next steps for completing the electronic consent packet. Please check your inbox and spam box regularly for an email from us. Emails will come from (name)@legacycounselingservices.com.
- If you are approved to join the group, registration, payment, and consent forms will be electronically sent to you to complete electronically. Because the group is virtual, acceptable payment options include credit, debit, or HSA cards (or the like). Checks or cash will not be accepted. Once you complete all the paperwork, the link to the virtual group and the teaching videos/handouts will be sent to you. You can join the group for any and all meetings that we have.