#MotownMom: New Wayne State research findings offers hope to people with fibromyalgia
A novel psychological therapy that encourages addressing emotional experiences related to trauma, conflict and relationship problems has been found helpful for people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia. A research team led by Mark A. Lumley, Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Wayne State University, in collaboration with a team from the University of Michigan Medical Center led by David A. Williams, Ph.D., professor of anesthesiology, has released the results of its research in the prestigious journal, PAIN.
In the randomized clinical trial, 230 adults with fibromyalgia received one of three treatments, each of which was presented for eight weekly sessions to small groups of patients. The new therapy, which Lumley and co-developer Howard Schubiner, M.D., director of the Mind Body Medicine Program at Providence Hospital, call Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET), helps patients view their pain and other symptoms as stemming from changeable neural pathways in the brain that are strongly influenced by emotions. EAET helps patients process emotional experiences, such as disclosing important struggles, learning how to adaptively express important feelings — especially anger and sadness but also gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness — and empowering people to be more honest and direct in relationships that have been conflicted or problematic.