On June 16 and 17, U.S. Pain Foundation hosted an intensive training for nine future chronic pain support group leaders in Chicago, IL.

The training program was developed by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, clinical director of Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain. By training more group leaders, U.S. Pain hopes to expand its network of support groups. Presently, U.S. Pain and Pain Connection offer support groups in eight states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, and California, in addition to three conference call support groups.

One participant, Necie Edwards, filmed a brief testimonial about her experience, which you can view here. “This was an amazing training; I’m so glad I was a part of it,” says Edwards in the video.

“It was an absolute pleasure to train and educate nine people on how to run a successful chronic pain support group. Their questions, comments, stories and feedback were relevant to the topics taught. There was genuine respect among participants that made the group a safe place to be and learn,” says Herman.

When asked what was most helpful, the participants said, “the acknowledgement, validation and education; roleplaying and sharing with others; learning the mechanics of setting up a group and Treatment Tree; pacing; and, acupuncture, guided imagery, mind-body techniques.”

At the training, attendees learned about empowering their group members to utilize their own internal healing abilities, the psychosocial stages of pain and grief, complementary health approaches, the Pain Connection group model, and how to develop a Treatment Tree Plan and Relapse Prevention Plan. Additional tools and skills that participants learned were: cognitive reframing, acupressure, self-massage, breathing techniques and guided imagery.

To learn more about U.S. Pain’s support group offerings, click here.