Healing, Personality & Pain
Psychological processes can have
an affect on physical healing of the body. Emotions
may play a role in our healing. It has
been suggested that laughter had a restorative effect, and others
have suggested that expressing sadness has recuperative properties.
The power of a positive attitude in healing has been greatly acknowledged.
In fact physicians can influence the healing of their own patients
by taking certain attitudes. It has been found that having a warm
and nurturing relationship with someone can help adjustment.
Pain and Its Management:
Pain can be conceptualized as having
a sensory or physical aspect and an affective or emotional aspect.
These two parts of pain are very interactive. How we perceive
pain interacts with our thoughts about
pain. We form theories of pain regarding it and our ability to
control it based on our experiences of it. For example, if we
believe that we are able to overcome our pain, we may be more
effective in doing so than if we believe that we will be defeated
by it. Patrick Wall developed a Gate-Control Theory to explain
how perception of pain can control the physical sensation of it.
This theory states that thoughts and emotions in the brain can
cause the spinal cord to intensify or inhibit the pain. Some may
open the gate and lower the pain threshold (make more pain) or
some may close the gate and raise the threshold. For example,
being fearful of pain and paying attention to whether or not you
are having pain may make you feel more pain, whereas feeling relaxed
and paying attention to other sensations may make you feel less
Personality and Pain:
Some research has found that Personality
Scales (such as the MMPI), can help identify certain patients
that can be particularly susceptible to experiencing pain. It
was found that people that experience acute pain tend to score
high on hypochondriasis scale and hysteria scales. People high
in hysteria tend to show extreme emotional behaviour and also
tend to exaggerate the level and seriousness of the symptoms they
experience. People who experience chronic pain also score high
on hysteria and hypochondriasis, as well as on depression.
& Interpreting Symptoms