Controversial? Migraines and Psychological therapy (I.E. CBT)

I am new here but I have a query I would like to address;

out of curiosity, has anyone who suffers from Migraines ever been offered or received psychological treatment (i.e Cognitive behavioural therapy) to help to treat/prevent migraine.Also what are peoples thoughts on psychological treatment for migraine would you give it a try if it was offered to you??

6 Replies

  • From my experience I don't believe CBT or anything like it would help migraine.

    However, I'm reaching a point where I might consider it just to get support for the terrible effects of the unpredictable long lasting pain, and the way it affects my life/work/relationships, and the lack of understanding of migraine in society and most especially from the medical profession.

  • The only thing I have been offered, after 20 years of migraine, was 'mindfulness' which I'd already discovered myself anyway. I've had a lot of therapy over the years for depression, one to one and group therapy which had a limited benefit, largely because I was the only one with chronic pain in their experience and so they had no way of knowing how to help me. CBT was considered to be to simplistic to help with complex problems and so was not offered. Out of all the therapy Mindfulness had the greatest potential to help deal with pain but it is very hard to do and requires constant effort and faith and I just am too tired to do it most of the time. If i was stronger that's what I'd do. Essentially psychotherapy is what you get when they finally admit they can't help your migraines! I would have thought anything that can reduce your stress levels will reduce some migraines, obviously many migraines aren't connected to stress, but less stress should help you cope better with pain at least?

  • It's a viscous circle. My headache specialist asked if I was depressed, my answer is, who wouldn't feel depressed when they are in constant pain. Take away my pain and I promise I will be sooooooo happy

  • I'm a Psychotherapist, Psychotherapy can help you deal with migraines,but not cure them unless their psychosomatic or tension/stress related, in that case you have a chance.

  • I have been trying psychotherapy for the last two years and believe it has some value. Dealing with a chronic illness is stress inducing to say the least and talking to a professional can help. For me, it is a good complement to use on occasion to gain back one's health but is not the ANSWER. I have found that meditation and deep breathing are great tools. They seem to bolster my mood better than any antidepressant or therapist visits.

    The psychotherapist can give some great ideas on improving your mood like meditation, deep breathing and journaling and while you don't need to see a therapist to know this they can reinforce the importance of sticking to this routine. Cognitive therapy is also easy to learn through books or online but a therapist can reinforce technique or practice. And when you are dealing with an invisible illness it is good to have as many people in your corner, paid or NOT who offer empathy and compassion.

    However, talking to them on a weekly basis seemed to be more stress provoking for me. They are just not productive enough. I am seeing a person every three to four weeks. The sessions are more productive and do complement my other routines in search of an answer.

  • I have been trying to see someone through my gp but they won't refer me as they say it wouldn't help. However I feel that talking through how debilitating chronic pain is would help. Doesn't offer a solution but no one does (in my experience) it's all about managing the migraine as best we can

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