U.S. Pain Foundation’s network of peer support groups, Pain Connection, hosted its sixth chronic pain support group training the weekend of Sept. 20 to 22 in Newark, NJ. The trainings follow an evidence-based, patient-centered curriculum and are led by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Pain Connection Clinical Director, and Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s National Director of Policy and Advocacy.
This was the largest training yet, with a total of 20 attendees.
“This was the first time that two other organizations, National Headache Foundation and Miles for Migraine, sent their members to our training,” says Herman. “It was a wonderful collaboration. We look forward to working with more groups in the future.”
The trainings are designed to empower and educate people with pain to launch support groups in their areas. Far beyond learning about the logistics of creating and running a group, attendees are trained on how to help group members utilize their own internal healing abilities, as well as about the psychosocial stages of pain and grief, complementary health and self-management approaches, the Pain Connection group model, and how to develop a Treatment Tree Plan and Relapse Prevention Plan. There was also a session on the challenges of being a caregiver, taught by Herman and Steinberg’s husbands, Malcolm and Marty.
“I learned so much from Gwenn and Cindy, not only from their teaching, but also through how they modeled coping with pain and how to be compassionate leaders,” said Margot Andersen, MSW.
Currently, U.S. Pain offers support groups in 16 states, in addition to five monthly conference call support groups. All groups and calls are free.
“We are currently planning for our seventh training, which will be in San Diego, CA, in February 2020,” says Herman.
A limited number of scholarships to offset the cost of attending will be available for registered U.S. Pain Foundation volunteers. For all others the fee is $375.