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Vedna Ani Vyadhinsah Changal Jivan by Vidyamala Burch

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Vidyamala Burch’s ‘Living Well with Pain and Illness’ (2008) is a very useful book on many levels. If you, or someone you know or work with, have been living with chronic pain or illness over sustained periods, it will be a great tool. It provides comprehensive information on scientific advances in the understanding of just what pain really is and, at the same time, offers valuable techniques for self –management in dealing with long term pain or illness. Burch reviews recent research before presenting a bio-psychosocial model for chronic pain. Most of us who have long term pain or illness become embattled and distracted ‘fighting’ it, sometimes then collapsing from the effort. Here we are encouraged to change that experience, that relationship, into one of mindful acceptance and kindness. I was struck by how many parallels could be drawn between this work with the body and sensations and the psychological or emotional domains on which we spend so much of psychotherapy time. The lessons rehearsed here can be widely applied to all situations in which we engage in struggling to avoid what we don’t want and have got. Having lived with severe pain for most of her life, the author makes a compassionate and thoughtful guide. The book is presented in clear, confident, fluent style in a well designed workbook format. Detailed exercises for movement, breathing, meditation and changing thoughts are given: these synthesise yoga, pilates, meditation and bodywork systems. As someone who has lived for decades with constant pain myself, and worked with many clients also managing pain or long term illnesses, I thoroughly recommend this title as a helpful companion. Charles Neal: Psychotherapist & Training Consultant.

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