This question is foundational and one that forms part of a greater reflection for the client and therapist.
A client’s initial focus for the Yoga Therapy sessions may be that they would like assistance to better manage a lower back chronic pain issue. The client has shared that they have tried many other therapies, they continue to struggle with ongoing pain, express feelings of frustration, helplessness & a sense of being at a loss and asking what to do next..?
Opening the doorway
As a Yoga Therapist the focus is on listening, and developing an understanding of the client’s story. Supporting a person with chronic pain requires much consideration. The assessment is multi-dimensional and the utilisation of key questions and observational skills is paramount. It is fundamental to understand how their chronic pain may be restricting their current daily activities of living and life in general.
The doorway has been opened
Approaching assessment and history taking with curiosity & a non-judgmental stance lends itself to the establishment of a caring alliance and often fresh perspectives for the person to better understand and take charge of their chronic health issue.
The approach of the Yoga Therapist includes but not limited to – staying up to date with current evidenced based approaches to chronic pain management, understanding the person’s physical condition, considering lifestyle factors such effects on sleep, social connections, consideration of pain thresholds, resiliency & the persons perception of their current circumstances.
Further unfolding of the story includes exploring personal goals (short-medium-long term) and explorative questions around sense of purpose and personal values. Through this multi-dimensional approach very often a fresh shared understanding of the client’s story is unveiled.
A Yoga Therapist is trained to establish a therapeutic relationship and will have learnt and developed an array of assessment and history taking skills. It is this skill set that enables the client to share story so – no stone is left unturned – and from this story we work towards establishing appropriate yoga based practices to facilitate levels of relief, improve functioning and positive change.
Of course, it’s the client who takes the actual steps that will lead them toward the change. For the Yoga Therapist the role of facilitating the process and providing support as they walk the path is incredibly rewarding.