Episode 23: Counseling, Coaching, and Post Traumatic Growth with Dr. Robin Pfaff

Counseling, Coaching, and Post Traumatic Growth with Dr. Robin Pfaff

Talking About Fibromyalgia in the Context of Your Whole Life

  • Fibromyalgia coaching is a unique treatment option: one part life coach, one part health educator, and one part wellness coaching.
  • The difference between counseling and coaching, and how to know which one is right for you.
  • Research has found that a huge group of folks that have experienced post traumatic stress move forward through that and experience what they call post traumatic growth.
  • The BEST approach to living with fibromyalgia: B for Body (or physical health), E for Emotional and mental health, S for Social Support, and T for Transcendence (or spiritual well-being).
  • You don’t know what you don’t know, and having someone to come alongside you, keep you encouraged, share the workload, and offer a different perspective and new ideas can really shortcut that process and help you feel better, faster.

Dr. Robin Pfaff was in the closet about her fibromyalgia, working part-time as a psychotherapist and part-time recovering from the toll that work took on her. A big move in January 2017 caused a severe fibromyalgia flare that put her on the couch for months. It was here that she found coaching and the keys to getting her life back. Robin is now paying it forward as a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach, helping other women take charge of their life and health.

About Dr. Robin Pfaff

Robin has a doctoral degree in counseling and a master’s degree in human development. She has worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years specializing in women’s issues. As you will hear in the episode, Robin has fibromyalgia herself. 

Robin is trained and certified as a Health and Wellness Coach and as a Fibromyalgia Coach. Since she has fibromyalgia, she understands the frustration of living with a chronic illness and trying to keep up with a job, family, friends, pets, grandkids — all the activities that you enjoy. Robin is determined to be as healthy as she can be while managing fibromyalgia, so that she can be present for her own life as a coach, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She’s delighted to have the opportunity to help you believe in yourself again and take charge of your life and health, so that you can feel better and show up for your own precious life.

Links & Resources

  • Get free copies of Tami’s books at FibromyalgiaPodcast.com/book
  • Find out how you can *flourish with fibromyalgia* by visiting Dr. Robin Pfaff’s website here
  • To request Dr. Robin’s self-assessment tool which allows you to pinpoint where you could use some help, what areas of your life to focus on, and where your strengths are — send an email to DrRobinPfaff@gmail.com with the subject line, “BEST Self Assessment”.
  • Below you will find both a full transcript and video of the episode, with the studies mentioned in the show linked in the transcription.

Research Studies

Play Video

Transcript

You are listening to the Fibromyalgia Podcast with Tami Stackelhouse, Episode 23. 

Welcome to the Fibromyalgia Podcast! I’m your Coach, Tami Stackelhouse. 

In today’s episode, I’m going to introduce you to one of my Certified Fibromyalgia Coaches, Dr. Robin Pfaff.

[01:01] Before we get to her interview, I’ve got a couple of quick announcements for you. First off, I have this week’s listener shout out. This is a note that came through on our Instagram feed from @thewritersway. She says, “Thank you for your podcast and all the work you do. I was recently diagnosed, and I would be in deep despair without you and your work. Thank you.”

[01:28] I love that we can be a place of education and encouragement for both the newly diagnosed and those of you who have been experiencing fibromyalgia for awhile. I love getting notes like these. I hope that you guys will continue to send them to us.

[01:46] If you have a review, we would love to have you post that on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, wherever it is that you listen to your podcasts. We would love for you to do that, or even posting notes like she did on our Instagram feed or Facebook or Twitter. It’s just so awesome. Thank you so much for sending us your encouragement for us to keep going with this project. We really appreciate it.

[02:14] I also want to quickly announce the winners for our giveaway, back in Episode 18. In Episode 18, I had Dr. Ginevra Liptan come and speak on the use of CBD products for fibromyalgia. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to that episode yet, I encourage you to do so. Just go to FibromyalgiaPodcast.com/18 and you will find that episode. She talks a lot about the science, the differences between CBD, cannabis, hemp, and marijuana, all of the different terms that we have thrown around and what those differences are. There’s really good basic education, as well as information on what seems to work best for fibromyalgia, and ways that you can use that to help you manage your own pain.

[03:15] We did a giveaway for books — signed books from both Dr. Liptan and me — and some of the Frida Botanical CBD products (affiliate link), specifically her CBD tincture and the CBD muscle balm, which is actually one of my favorite products. I just wanted to share with you guys. We ended up with 461 entries into the contest, which was amazing. And Lyn in Michigan is the one who won the product bundle. Congratulations, Lyn! She won that by visiting the show notes for the podcast page. We will be doing more giveaways like this in the future, so stay tuned. But for now: Congratulations, Lyn, and I hope you enjoy your goodies.

[04:10] All right, let me introduce you to Dr. Robin Pfaff. 

I mentioned a few episodes ago that I was hoping we were going to be able to do these interviews at our annual alumni retreat, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that. The sound environment that we were in just wasn’t good enough for a quality podcast, knowing fibro brains and ears that were going to be listening. We wanted to have a little bit better quality. Robin and I just met, and I interviewed her the way I do our usual interviews, and we talked a lot about her journey.

[04:54] Robin has a doctoral degree in counseling and a master’s degree in human development. She has worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years. She specialized in women’s issues, and, as you will hear in the episode, she has fibromyalgia herself. It was something that she sort of kept hidden from her clients and the public in general. After a move, she had quite a bad fibro flare and just had to find something else to do, rather than going to work in an office as a psychotherapist, which is how she found me and found coaching.

[05:38] Robin is trained and certified as a health and wellness coach and as a Fibromyalgia Coach. Since she has fibromyalgia, she really does understand the frustration of trying to cope with a chronic illness and trying to keep up with the job, family, friends, pets, grandkids, all the activities that you enjoy. Robin is determined to be as healthy as she can be while managing fibromyalgia, so that she can be present for her own life as a coach, a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She’s delighted to have the opportunity to help you believe in yourself again and take charge of your life and health, so that you can feel better and show up for your own precious life.

[06:24] That is her official bio. I will add that Robin is just such a warm and caring person. She and her clients do a lot of laughing together, occasionally some crying together, when needed, and she is just one of those personalities that’s so warm and fuzzy that you just want to be around her. She’s a great coach and really loves on her clients. She’s also a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to post traumatic growth, as we will talk about a little bit at the end of today’s episode, about dealing with trauma and coming through that trauma and creating a beautiful life that you love to live.

[07:15] With that, I am looking forward to having you hear my interview with Dr. Robin Pfaff. At the end of the interview make sure you keep listening. I will have some notes on upcoming episodes, and I will also reshare those links for how you can connect with Robin and request a coach, if you’re looking to find a coach.

[07:43] All right. Hi, Robin. Thank you so much for being here and doing this interview with me. I’m excited to have you here.

[07:50] RP — Hi, Tami. I’m excited to be here too.

[15:52] TS — Awesome. I did a bit of an introduction on you for listeners, but I would love for you to just share a little bit of your story, your fibromyalgia journey, and kind of where you came from as a psychotherapist, a fibro patient and how you ended up coaching.

[08:15] RP — Yeah, it’s a fun story. I have a really long fibro story like a lot of people do, but because I was diagnosed about 20 years ago, I’d probably had symptoms well before then. I was mostly in the closet, so to speak, about my fibromyalgia. I only worked part-time and I would take days in between working to recover. I didn’t really tell very many people I had fibromyalgia.

[08:48] RP — My husband and I made a big move from southern New Mexico to Denver, to be near one of our children, in January of 2017, when I had a gigantic flare with fibro that put me on the couch for months. It was rough. It was really rough. So, I started looking for resources and for other things that I could do for work rather than go into an office several times a week. I found you, and I found coaching.

[09:31] TS — Was coaching ever on your radar, or did that just pop up as part of your searching for “What else can I do?”

[09:40] RP — It was on my radar. I knew about wellness coaching. Health and wellness coaching was a developing field, but I wasn’t sure what I had to offer. It never occurred to me, until I found you, that there was such a thing as coaching for fibromyalgia. I trained with you and with another program called Wellcoaches, and one of the Wellcoaches there said to me, “Well, you know, you could do fibromyalgia coaching.” I took it as a sign, and I signed up for both programs, and I have absolutely loved coaching.

[10:22] TS — You were a psychotherapist for more than 20 or 25 years, right? I could see how coaching would be a natural step for you, but there are also a lot of differences. You and I have talked many times over the last two years about those differences. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that? I think most of our listeners are probably familiar with the idea of counseling, so as somebody who has done both, tell us a little bit about those differences.


[10:57]
RP — 
There are a lot of differences, but there’s also a lot of overlap, which makes it a little bit confusing sometimes. The differences depend on the theoretical orientation of the psychotherapist and the orientation, the way the coach works. In general, psychotherapists use psychological interventions to help clients heal from a whole variety of mental and emotional difficulties, usually focusing on past experiences that are hindering them, hindering their functioning in the present time. Coaches on the other hand, work with folks who are not usually experiencing serious mental distress, and they’re able to talk about and focus on the future they want to build through goal setting and other change-oriented strategies.

[11:59] TS — Okay. Then, for you, as a provider, how is it different for you? How do you work differently with your clients?

[12:11] RP — Well, I work differently in coaching in that I share more of my own experience, because most of the Fibromyalgia Coaches that work with you do have fibromyalgia themselves. I find that my coaching clients really appreciate the fact that I know what they’re going through, and I really understand where they’re coming from. There’s a big relief in that, and there’s a validation for my coaching clients, and that really helps them gain the energy to move forward.


[12:48]
TS — 
Definitely. I think another thing we do, maybe a little bit more as coaches — but you can correct me if I’m wrong here — but I know the work I teach you guys to do, we’re also doing a lot of education and really training our clients, you know, what is fibromyalgia? What are the treatment options available? How do I manage this? I think that education piece is not always there, even in some coaching. Right?

[13:18] RP — Right. I think the fibromyalgia coaching we do is really a unique treatment option, and sometimes we talk about it as being one part life coach, one part health educator, and then one part wellness coaching. For me, particularly, I bring a really broad, comprehensive, holistic perspective to my coaching, and anything that’s going on in the client’s life is something that we can talk about in our coaching sessions.


[13:51]
TS — 
Absolutely. I totally agree with that. I remember telling a client once that if it’s affecting your life in any way, it’s clear for us to talk about, because everything affects our fibromyalgia. If we get stressed out, it really doesn’t matter.

[14:09] RP — That’s right. It affects every aspect of our lives. You know, as we’re laughing about it right now — this is what I often do with my clients, because sometimes the absurdity of it all, or the overwhelming of it all, you just have to take a step back and just laugh at it.


[14:25]
TS — 
Yes. So true. I mean, because I always say, if you don’t laugh then you’re probably going to cry, and it’s okay to cry too. We do that too. Yes.

[14:38] RP — Yes we do. We do it all.

[14:41] TS — Would you say that someone could have both a counselor and a coach, and if so, what might that look like?

[14:51] RP — Sure. I’ve worked with some folks who are doing both at the same time. There are very, very few psychotherapists that have knowledge about fibromyalgia, so it’s not really something that most people can talk to their counselor or psychotherapist about, and yet it has such a huge impact on our lives. Psychotherapy and coaching can go hand in hand and support one another. It just depends on how well the client is functioning, and if she wants to continue to do both.


[15:32]
RP — Another example is: sometimes I’ll have clients in coaching that are also in marriage counseling to focus on their relationship, or perhaps they’re in family therapy because they’re dealing with some issues with their larger family. Coaching can support that as well.

[15:51] TS — Absolutely. I’ve had clients who have anything from severe depression or anxiety to dealing with grief on certain things. Even grief about your fibromyalgia sometimes can be deep enough and hard enough that you need more help than we’re trained to give as coaches. Right.

[16:14] TS — Tell me a little bit about the clients that you work with, and who you like to help.

[16:25] RP — Well, my very favorite clients are probably 50 or 55+ and better. Although I do work with a handful of younger clients, I really like that age group. It’s the age group that I’m in, and I’ve found that in that sort of mid-life, growing older chapter of life, that my clients are really ready to focus on taking care of themselves. Whereas in earlier life, they may have been busy with a career or raising children or taking care of their household. By the time they’re 50, 55, or older, they have an empty nest, and they have the resources and the time and the desire to feel as good as they can for this next season of their life.

[17:21] TS — Yes. I love that. It’s almost like a rebirth that happens when the kids are out of the house. Maybe you’re going to go traveling with your husband, play with the grandkids, you know, all of that kind of stuff. It’s a whole different space in life.

[17:38] RP — Yes, and I’m finding that the clients I’m working with are such creative people, and they love nature. They love making beautiful things, and they have places that they want to go with a husband or grandchildren or friends. They have pets that they want to take care of. They have a lot of living yet to do, and they don’t want to be bogged down by their fibromyalgia. Instead, they want to take charge of it and move forward, but they often don’t know where to start or what to do, how to prioritize, and what to do first. They might not even be sure what they should be doing. That’s where coaching can be really helpful.


[18:24]
TS — Absolutely. I think part of the work that you do with your clients also has to, it’s a term that you used — I don’t know, maybe a year or so ago — that I’ve really loved, which is “post traumatic growth.” You want to talk about that?

[18:41] RP — Yes, I do. There’s a whole research literature around post traumatic growth that most people aren’t aware of. Most people are aware of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because we’re so familiar with that being associated with our veterans that have been in war zones and so forth. PTSD, of course, also applies to people that have been in things like car accidents or plane accidents, or maybe they’ve survived terrible childhood trauma.

[19:12] RP — What the research has found is that a huge group of folks that have experienced post traumatic stress move forward through that and experience what they call post traumatic growth, which means they may have a greater appreciation for life. They may feel a deeper sense of purpose or calling in life. They want to give back. They’ve become more resilient. They bounce back more quickly from adversity, because adversity touches us all.


[19:49]
RP — 
I think that’s something our fibromyalgia clients learn from coaching, is that they are already more resilient than they think they are. The clients that work with us in coaching, they’re the ones who are courageous and willing to try something new, and they’re open minded. They’ll listen to what we’re saying. They may think, “Well, that sounds kind of crazy,” but they’ll try it anyways. Then, they can assess whether or not that’s something they want to keep doing. That puts such a positive outlook on dealing with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, because sometimes, and we all have those days where it’s just like, “Seriously? I’m dealing with this again? I’m meeting myself on the couch again. Here I am!” I think one thing coaching helps folks do is get off that couch just a little bit sooner and not feel quite so bad about being on the couch to begin with, because you realize—well my fibro body, my precious fibro body needs some rest and needs some radical self care for a little while.


[21:15]
TS — 
Yes, and at the same time, because almost all of us do have fibromyalgia, we’ve been there too. Right? There’s no shame in being on that couch because we’ve all been there.

[21:30] RP — That’s right. I remember telling a client recently, when she asked how long did it take for me to recover from that terrible flare when we moved? You know, it took me a long time. I think it was like a year and a half. She was kind of surprised, but at the same time relieved, because that sort of normalized her experience. Fibromyalgia acts as an amplifier, as you say so often, and everything we go through is a little more intense and takes a little bit longer to recover from.


[22:10] TS — Right. It doesn’t matter if it’s catching the cold, or, you know, breaking your toe, or just having a stressful weekend. It just takes us longer.

[22:21] RP — Yes.

[22:24] TS — Now, I know one of the things that you have developed and have been using in workshops and things like that is a sort of a self-assessment, to help people see where they are with all of this. I know that’s something that you are going to offer to our listeners. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that and we can tell people how they can get that assessment from you?

[22:46] RP — Sure. I came across this approach — a model — that I call the “BEST” approach to living your fibromyalgia life. I use BEST as an acronym, with the B standing for body or physical health, the E standing for emotional and mental health, the S standing for social support, and the T standing for transcendence or spiritual well-being. The self-assessment that I have people do in workshops, and now I’m offering it to our listeners, is just a way to gauge where they are in each of those areas. I think sometimes people feel like they’ve stalled in dealing with their fibromyalgia when they reach out to us. They may be stuck in the physical area, or they may be lacking social support, or they may be strong in one area, but they don’t necessarily see that as a resource.

[23:58] RP — I think one thing that people really gain from fibromyalgia coaching is being able to talk about their fibromyalgia in the context of their whole life. We’ve used that assessment to say, “Well, here’s where your strengths are, but maybe this is something that you want to work on.” It serves the purpose to just take a bigger picture. Sometimes, I talk about it as zooming out — taking a broad view of what is going on in your life — and then we zoom in and determine, okay, what’s the next small step you can take to address that issue?

[24:46] TS — Absolutely. I talk all the time about the fact that when you’re in the midst of your own stuff, trying to fix your own whatever’s going on, it’s like you’re lost in the middle of the forest, and you can’t see which way to go, because you’re in the middle of the forest. Sometimes, it really helps to have that larger view, a bigger perspective, where you can see a little bit better. “Oh, okay. That’s the way.”

[25:18] RP — There is a way out. I think a lot of our clients are just so excited to find coaching, and they’re energized by how well they do as they set their priorities and then choose these small—I call them sometimes micro steps—these small changes to make. They start seeing some success, and we celebrate that. Even when they don’t see success right away, we learned something. “Oh, so we tried that and that did not work for you.” We learn as much as we can from it and move forward, so it’s all good.

[25:57] TS — It is. It is. I believe there is no failure. It either worked, or we learned something, and both options are good. Yes.


[26:05]
RP —
Yes. Yes.

[26:07] TS — Tell us a little bit about some of your clients. How they came to you, where they were at with their fibromyalgia, and the results you were able to get with them as you worked with them.

[26:22] RP — Sure.

[26:23] TS — We all love a good before and after story, right?

[26:26] RP — Yes. Some of our clients come to us feeling pretty bad. They’re pretty discouraged. Sometimes, they might even describe themselves as feeling desperate. I think all of us with fibromyalgia occasionally reach the place where we’d say, “I just can’t go on like this. I’ve got to find some relief, somehow, because this is just too much.” Some of our clients come to us that way.

[26:58] RP — They find us via internet searches. They find your book or Dr. Liptan’s book (affiliate link), and now they find your podcast, or they find us on Facebook. These are people that are researching. They’re looking for resources. They’re very proactive. In terms of results, some of the big things I see are that people feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. They feel energized because they’re taking action, and what you were mentioning a moment ago: they’re so into their forest, they can’t even see what other resources are out there.

[27:45] RP — In coaching we can say, “Well, what about this?”, or “What about that?” Because they’re being supported and held accountable, they may find new treatment options that are making a difference, that are helping improve their sleep. They’re finding strategies that help reduce their pain, finding strategies where they have more energy to do the things they want to do. They’re also figuring out how to deal with that brain fog, which is so frustrating. Their thinking becomes clearer. They just feel better overall, and then they’re just so grateful, and they want to find ways to give back. They want to share with others what they’re experiencing, with friends or support groups, or they have the energy to interact more with their communities. Those are some of the things I’ve seen.

[28:45] TS — That’s awesome. I totally agree with that. I’ve seen that with my clients as well. The feeling hopeful, I mean, I think so often when we are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, even our doctors are not really giving us any hope.

[29:01] RP — Oh no, they don’t, generally.

[29:03] TS — Yes, and it’s like, “Okay, we’ve got a few things we can try, but they don’t really work very well.” Right? I often think that the biggest work that we do as coaches is to simply be an example of what’s possible.

[29:17] RP — Yes. Yes. I’ve had people say to me that they feel like, “Okay, I can feel motivated again and not just give up on myself, because you’re me. I’ve seen what you’re going through. You’ve been through what I’m going through, and you are on the other side of it and feeling better.” It’s not that I don’t have to deal with symptoms. I still do, but I know how to deal with most of the symptoms. I like to think about it as I have toolkits for dealing with different situations that arise. It’s a difference between me managing my fibromyalgia rather than having it manage me, and then teaching and encouraging my clients to learn to do the same.


[30:10]
TS — Absolutely. I find so often that what we do on the outside—we may still be staying home from whatever event—but shifting that thought and those feelings from “I have to because I can’t” to “I’m choosing to take care of myself in this way.” It just shifts the entire outlook of things.

[30:33] RP — Yes, it absolutely does. You create a positive spiral when you don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. You can take care of yourself a little better, and you can coach your own family members or friends in how to help you when you’re in a flare, so you get through it more quickly. It doesn’t have to end your life. It doesn’t have to keep you from doing the things that you want to do.

[31:03] TS — Absolutely. For those of you who are listening, who are wanting to connect with Robin, her website is DrRobinPfaff.com. You can also email her, which is probably the best way to get that assessment. Right, Robin?

[31:24] RP — Okay, that sounds good.

[31:26] TS — Just email her at DrRobinPfaff@gmail.com, and we will put all those links in the show notes. You guys can find them at FibromyalgiaPodcast.com/23. This is Episode 23, and you will find all the links listed there, to be able to get all of Robin’s goodies.

[31:47] TS — Robin, if you could give people a takeaway from your experience, because, you know, part of the training to be a coach is to have a coach yourself. So, from your experience being coached as a fibro person, what are one or two takeaways that you would give people from that experience?

[32:09] RP — I would say to be persistent. You were there with me when I was struggling to get through that terrible flare, and I had to try some things that I hadn’t tried before. You recommended a supplement that I’d never heard of that actually was the key to turning my sleep issues around. That was huge. It took some trial and error to get there.

[32:42] RP — The other thing was that not everything I was dealing with was fibromyalgia.

[32:47] TS — Yes, I remember that.

[32:50] RP — I had to be very persistent in pursuing a correct diagnosis. Once I had a correct diagnosis, then things started to fall in place. 

The bottom line, the word I want folks to take away, is to be persistent. Don’t give up. There are answers. They may not be easy to find, but there are answers out there.


[33:13]
TS — That’s where I think coaching is so helpful. If you’re all on your own trying to find those answers, it can take even longer, and it’s easier to get discouraged, and you only know what you know, right? You don’t know what you don’t know, and having someone to be able to come alongside you, keep you encouraged, share the workload with you, and have a different perspective — new ideas — can really shortcut that process and help you feel better, faster.

[33:41] RP — Right. It’s also fun!

[33:45] TS — Yes. I think so too, for us and our clients.

[33:50] RP — It’s fun to collaborate. I think as fibro folks, we often don’t have people to talk to that really understand what we’re going through. The camaraderie that exists between fibro people really makes a difference for people.

[34:08] TS — It really does. There’re so many times when I’m talking to someone on the phone for the first time, and I’m the first person they’ve talked to who actually understands when they say, “I’m in a flare today.” I know what that means. Right?

[34:24] RP — Yes. People have also said that they’re just so grateful for the large network that we have, because sometimes someone in the Midwest needs a provider, and we can connect with people and help them find providers right in their own community. That is huge.

[34:45] TS — Yes. I know. We actually just did this for one of your clients. I was able to reach out to some friends I had in the area, who don’t even have fibromyalgia, and get some good doctors’ names. Yes, I think that is huge, that the network that we have is global.

[35:02] RP — Yes, it is. It is. People realize that they’re a part of a much bigger community, and that gives them the social support that helps them feel better and heal more quickly.

[35:14] TS — Awesome. I love it. We’re coming close to the end of our time here, so any last minute thoughts? Anything you want to share or say to our listeners, to give them a little bit of encouragement?

[35:28] RP — Yes. I would just share that if you’re even a little bit curious about what it would be like to be coached by me or one of our other coaches, reach out. You know, it may not be for you. It may not be the right time. On the other hand, it could be exactly what you need right now to turn a page in your life, and you could be moving forward on a whole different trajectory.

[35:55] TS — Yes. So true. You know, Robin briefly mentioned this, but I want to highlight it. Yes, she is an amazing coach, and if you are her “just right person”, she would be a great coach for you. We have [many different] kinds of coaches. We’ve got coaches who work with women who are in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. We’ve got coaches who work with working women, who know FMLA work accommodations. We’ve got the whole gamut. Young and single, married, like the whole nine yards

[36:31] RP — Fibro folks that are moms, right? Yes, we have the whole network.

[36:37] TS — One of the things we do is matchmaking calls. If you guys are interested in working with Robin, or seeing what other coach might be a good fit for you, go to FibromyalgiaPodcast.com, and under the contact menu you’ll find the Find a Coach option. Just fill that form out. If you know that you want to work with Robin, go ahead and put her name in there. There’s a place for that. If you’re not sure, and you just want our recommendation on who is the best fit for you, then you can leave that blank, and that’s what we’ll do for you.

[37:14] TS — We like to match people up based on your needs, your lifestyle, personality, all kinds of different things, not just where you live. I’m often asked, “Do you have a coach in X, Y, Z?” Maybe we do, maybe we don’t, but I want to match you up to the best coach for YOU, not necessarily somebody in your hometown. Right?

[37:37] TS —Awesome. I have loved chatting with you. It’s been so much fun having you on here.

I know one of the things we had talked about talking about but didn’t actually say, was a little bit on the link between trauma and fibromyalgia, which I don’t want to dive too deep into today, because it’s a whole conversation on its own. There is a link, and I think most people are aware of that. There is one study in particular that is worth mentioning. You want to talk about that for a quick sec?

[38:09] RP — Sure. It’s the ACE study, which is the Adverse Childhood Experiences research study. Just real briefly, this study demonstrated that there is a direct association between adverse childhood experiences, which is basically a childhood trauma, and later in life having significant health issues, including chronic health issues. Maybe on a podcast sometime in the future we can just drill down and focus on that relationship, between trauma and illness.

[38:47] RP — I’m talking just real briefly—I’m finding with my clients that they may have talked about their trauma experiences in a lot of different contexts before they get to coaching, but they’ve never had the opportunity to talk about it in relationship to their fibromyalgia. That just opens wide all kinds of healing for folks to make those connections. In addition to childhood trauma, we often have fibro folks that are grieving. You mentioned grief just over fibromyalgia, but it can also be unresolved grief and loss from losing family members or unemployment or a number of things. All of that material is great to bring into coaching, because when folks talk about it in relationship to their fibromyalgia, they can heal. They can have more emotional energy available for other things that they want to do.

[39:58] TS — Right. I know just from my own experience—I noticed this year in June, I even made a Facebook post about it—that our bodies remember, even when our minds forget. My sister passed away in June three years ago, and June this year, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that date was coming, but I was feeling really tired and grouchy and overwhelmed and just not quite myself, until all of a sudden I realized, “Oh, that’s what’s going on.” Yes, exactly. Even if you sometimes have dealt with the emotional, the mental aspects of the trauma, our bodies still remember.

[40:47] RP — Our fibro bodies are so sensitive, and they will amplify whatever that is that might be going on for us emotionally.


[41:01]
  TS — Absolutely. We will definitely be diving into that in a future episode. You guys can pay attention and watch for that. That will be coming at some point, probably after the new year. Well, definitely after the new year we will dive into that. If that resonates with you, Robin is a great person to reach out to about that kind of scenario.

[41:26]  TS — If you want to explore how working with a coach might help you with some of that, particularly with the intersection of past trauma and fibromyalgia, Robin is a great resource for that. Again, I’ll give you guys Robin’s links. It’s DrRobinPfaff.com and her email address is DrRobinPfaff@gmail.com.

[41:49]  TS — All right Robin, thank you so much for being here. It’s been a blast. We will have you back again sometime, I’m sure.

[41:59]  RP — Okay. Alright. Thanks so much.

[42:03]  TS — I hope you enjoyed my interview with Robin. I think you can see why I wanted you guys to meet her. You can connect with Robin at DrRobinPaff.com. Her email address is basically the same, DrRobinPfaff@gmail.com. We will have those links in today’s show notes, which you will find at FibromyalgiaPodcast.com/23. Don’t forget to email Robin if you are interested in using her self-assessment, to see where you could use some help, what areas of your life to focus on, and where your strengths are.

[42:56]  TS — I like to think of these assessments — she uses a wheel like so many do — and I think so many of us sort of have a “flat tire” so to speak. When we developed fibromyalgia, we ended up with one whole part of our circle that’s not doing so well. We get stuck, just like you would do if you had a flat tire. I think the self-assessments can sometimes be really helpful to identify the areas where you may need some help to round out your circle again, and get you unstuck, and get you rolling, so to speak.

[43:34]  TS — In the next episode, Episode 24, I am going to talk about developing a practice of gratitude, and how to do that — how to practice gratitude when you have fibromyalgia. I know sometimes those two things seem mutually exclusive, but I promise you they’re not. I hope you will listen in to our next episode, as we celebrate Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. with an episode on developing a practice of gratitude.

[44:10]  TS — In upcoming episodes, we will also be talking about faith and fibromyalgia and those intersections. I think a lot of times when we end up with fibromyalgia, it can be very challenging to our faith. I also think that it can sometimes strengthen our faith. We’re going to be discussing that. 

[44:32]  TS — After the new year, we’re going to be talking about setting goals and creating healthy habits. We are also going to be talking about how you can exercise properly with fibromyalgia. There is a trick to it, and we will be disclosing that trick in the new year, when we get to those early episodes.

[44:53]  TS — We also have our next “Ask the Coach” coming up with Episode 30. If there are any particular topics you would like me to discuss, a question you might like to have me answer, or if you’re up for some on-air coaching, we could even do a live coaching call if anybody is interested in that. I have had several questions come in, but I do make that decision on what to answer on “Ask the Coach” sometimes based on how many questions I get about the same topics, so don’t hesitate to send in those questions. Just go to FibromyalgiaPodcast.com and under the contact menu you’ll see the Ask the Coach option, and you can go ahead and send that in while you’re there.

[45:40]  TS — Make sure you grab free copies of my books. We also have that Find a Coach option. As I mentioned in my interview with Robin, if you are thinking about how you might be able to get through the holiday season a little bit easier this year, working with a coach can be super helpful. Having somebody to help you prioritize and to strategize on how to meet all of those obligations, including taking good care of yourself. Working with a coach can be a really great help, and we do have coaches who are still taking new clients, even during this holiday season.

[46:24]  TS — Of course, the beginning of the year is always a time where we end up with a lot of clients coming in, so this can be a really great time right now to connect with a coach, knowing that you’ll be able to do that work in the new year. Whereas, when we get to the new year, sometimes there is a bit of a waiting list. If you’re interested in connecting with a coach, just go to FibromyalgiaPodcast.com, under that contact menu, you’ll find the Find a Coach option, and you can request a consultation. There’s no charge for the consultation. We will be talking about your own unique situation, what your challenges are, what your needs are, what your goals are, what you’d like to accomplish, and we will talk about whether or not coaching can help you get there faster. We’ll also match you to the coach that will be the best possible fit for you.

[47:22]  TS — I do still have space for one or two more, one-on-one clients, VIP clients, for a few of you if you’re interested in working with me. I also have coaches like Robin, who are trained and accepting new clients. We also have coaches who are still in training, and who are working at lower priced fees because they are still in training and under my oversight. There’s something out there for everybody.

[47:55]  TS — I hope you guys have a fabulous holiday season. Stay tuned for our next episode in two weeks, as we talk about developing a practice of gratitude, and I’m celebrating that for Thanksgiving week. Have a good couple of weeks until I talk to you again. Bye!

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, consider subscribing on Apple Podcasts, or anywhere you listen, to receive each episode as soon as it is available.