Top 7 Shocking Psychological Stages of Chronic Pain (you may not know)

By Jennifer Martin, PsyD, Columnist

Have you ever wondered if other people with chronic health conditions feel the same way you do?

Throughout my years with chronic pain and illness, along with the hundreds of patients I have counseled, I have found that, while everyone copes in their own way and experiences their condition uniquely, there are common feelings that most of us share.

When I first began counseling chronic pain patients, I often used Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s “Five Stages of Grief” to help them understand what they were going through.

But as time went on, I reflected on what I experienced with my own chronic conditions and also on my patients’. It seemed that these stages, while very helpful, didn’t fully explain the broad range of emotions that people with chronic illness experience.

After all, Kubler-Ross developed them to explain the responses to grief and loss. Having a chronic illness can be viewed as a type of loss, but they were not developed specifically to explain the emotions of people experiencing chronic conditions.

I used Kübler-Ross’s stages as a model to develop the Seven Psychological Stages of Chronic Pain and Illness:

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