I suffered chronic low back pain for 30 years and had reached the point of giving up on any chance of healing, living with average pain levels of 8/10 and relying on pain killers which were becoming less and less effective. Over these years I had seen numerous back specialists and other medical practitioners, who all said my pain was caused by a prolapsed disc. I even had surgery, a number of back injections, physio work, acupuncture, and a host of other treatments which I won’t even mention here. Nothing helped to reduce my pain and the only constant was that my pain kept increasing with time, slowly taking over my life. Up until recently, I couldn’t sit for more than a minute or so without extreme pain. Every facet of my life, both physically and mentally, was now dominated by pain and I felt like I was slowly sinking into an abyss.

That was last December.  I then came across a Dr John Sarno and discovered something called tension myositis syndrome, or mind body syndrome (TMS/MBS). Based on his clinical experience, Sarno claimed that repressed emotions in the unconscious such as anger or anxiety was the cause of many chronic pain disorders with low back pain being a common one. Whilst I was initially sceptical, to my amazement, after reading Sarno’s books and trying his techniques, I was able to reduce my pain levels somewhat and even able to stop taking painkillers within a few weeks. I started to become a TMS believer. However my reduction in pain was only partial at best, and it became clear I would need some additional help.

Seeing Hal was a game changer. Being only one of a handful of psychotherapists in Australia aware of TMS/MBS, I decided to give it a go. Hal was able to help guide me back to a normal life again. He has been instrumental in teaching me how to get in touch with repressed emotions which is the key to eliminating TMS and the chronic pain it causes. In a matter of a few months, my life was turned around.  My 30 years of back pain is now a non-issue  – I am exercising regularly, riding my bike for the first time in 15 years, and even able to enjoy the cinema or theatre while sitting for hours and not feel any pain.

But it was not easy. We all experience negative emotions for one reason or another but it is how we deal with them that decides how they affect us. Learning to embrace your negative emotions and really feel and accept them is very challenging and confronting as we are programmed to repress and avoid them, albeit to our detriment.  Hal’s deep insight and understanding of TMS and his somatic approach to getting in touch with emotions repressed in the unconscious has been very effective. Hal has taught me the skills which I am confident will allow me to deal with any similar pain in the future. The icing on the cake is that I now also have some valuable skills for effectively dealing with the stresses life often throws at you.

I am indebted to Hal for his valuable guidance and help and highly recommend him for anyone who needs help with chronic pain symptoms.

– Jim, VIC