U.S. Pain Foundation’s Pain Connection has launched several new support groups. Four of the new groups are in-person: two have already begun meeting in Vancouver, WA, and Pascua Yaqui Tribe, AZ; two additional groups will begin meeting in Sacramento, CA, and in Bloomington, IN, in June and August, respectively. Full details are available on the Pain Connection website. In addition, the Pain Connection Live conference call support group is now meeting for a new, third session each month, on Saturdays at 11 am EST.

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On March 3 and 4, U.S. Pain Foundation hosted an intensive training for 11 future chronic pain support group leaders in Phoenix, AZ.

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, and California, in addition to three conference call support groups.

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Special scholarships are available to eligible U.S. Pain volunteers to attend a two-day training program for support group leaders on March 2-4 in Phoenix, AZ. Two additional trainings will be held in Chicago and New York later this year.

Run by Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain, the trainings are designed to teach professionals/peer leaders to work with individuals with chronic pain in a group setting. The trainers are: Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, clinical director of Pain Connection, and Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain’s national director of policy and advocacy. The training provides education on the psychosocial aspects of chronic pain, the ABC’s of starting and running a support group. group work process, program development, and leadership, as well as receiving support for the chronic pain support group leaders.

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Photo of Gwenn Herman, courtesy of Bethesda Magazine.

In May 2016, Pain Connection — a well-known 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides  support groups, support group trainings, and resources to help individuals with chronic illness and pain as well as their families — joined forces with U.S. Pain Foundation.

Pain Connection offers in-person support groups in four states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, and Maryland. But individuals with pain from anywhere in the country–or those who have difficulty traveling–can also get support via the “Pain Connection Live” conference call program, which offers two, hour-long support calls a month.

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Foster, left, and Monarca will lead the support group.

U.S. Pain has created a new support group for Connecticut residents living with chronic pain. The group’s first meeting will be April 19 at 1 pm at U.S. Pain’s headquarters at 670 Newfield Street, Suite C, in Middletown.

The meeting is open to any one living with pain. U.S. Pain’s Lori Monarca, executive office director and director of the ambassador program, and Wendy Foster, senior advocate, will lead the meetings.

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Herman leading a training session.

On Feb. 25 and 26, U.S. Pain Foundation and Pain Connection held “Training of Chronic Pain Support Group Leaders: A 21st Century Model for Chronic Pain” in Tucson, AZ. The training was led by U.S. Pain directors Gwenn Herman, Pain Connection clinical director, and Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain national director of policy and advocacy.

Seven trainees underwent the intensive course on how to lead a chronic pain support group. “The training was developed to take participants through a process of receiving a foundation of knowledge and incorporating the knowledge into practical applications,” said Herman. “Different modalities that lower pain levels were taught so leaders could learn, and then teach these modalities to their group members.”

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