Coping with chronic pain: assessing narrative approaches

Individuals suffering from chronic pain are of concern to
social workers because such pain disrupts job, family, and
overall social functioning and can lead to depression,
excessive health concerns, and withdrawal from activities.
This article discusses a project developed to gain
understanding of the experiences of people suffering from
fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition with no visible
symptoms, and to test the use of narrative approaches in group
work with this population. The study used a qualitative
ethnographic approach as the primary method and also used some
quantitative measures to assess the usefulness of the
approach. Both qualitative and quantitative findings suggest
that narrative approaches helped participants find their own
strengths and means of coping and helped them find identities
other than as patients.

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