Episode 41: Post-Traumatic Growth in Fibromyalgia with Dr. Robin Pfaff

Post-Traumatic Growth in Fibromyalgia with Dr. Robin Pfaff

Nearly everyone with fibromyalgia has had some sort of trauma in their past. Mental or physical abuse, car accident, illness, the death of someone close to you, chronic stress, and more are all considered trauma.

But some people come through these traumas and become better people as a result. Perhaps they are more compassionate, learn resilience, or have a greater appreciation for life in all its imperfection.

This is Post-Traumatic Growth.

In this episode, Tami interviews Dr. Robin Pfaff about her work with post-traumatic growth, including sharing the story of one of her clients, Laurie. They discuss what trauma is and the impact that it has on fibromyalgia. In addition, Tami and Robin talk about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), what PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is, and the benefits of looking at fibromyalgia through the lens of any past trauma.

Content / Trigger Warning: This episode includes mention of trauma and suicide. If you are experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, or concerned for someone else, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

Key Points

  • A very high proportion of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia will meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder at some time in their life.
  • The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) assessment score has been highly correlated with the development of chronic illnesses later in life.
  • One of the ways that we can mitigate the impact of trauma on our lives and our physical health is to wrap our minds around the concept of post-traumatic growth.
  • Post-Traumatic Growth means you went through a really stressful experience and came out the other side a better person. 
  • In coaching, there’s no failure. We either succeed or we learn something.
  • Coaching in and of itself brings out the growth aspects for people. 
  • Fibromyalgia is so tied to our fight or flight that anytime you can calm down your anxiety and stress response, it’s going to have a spillover effect of making your fibromyalgia symptoms lessen.  
  • Being coachable, teachable, and willing to try new things really does make a difference.

About Dr. Robin Pfaff

Dr. Robin Pfaff is in the business of helping women transform their lives and reach their full potential. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia herself over 20 years ago. After working 25 years as a psychotherapist, she retooled as a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and a Certified Fibromyalgia Coach. Robin has a special expertise in helping women reclaim their lives from the grief, loss and trauma that often accompany fibromyalgia and move through post traumatic stress into post-traumatic growth. She loves working with her fibromyalgia clients and considers Fibromyalgia Coaching to be an invaluable and unique treatment option that helps women regain their health and learn to love their lives again. You can connect with Robin on her website at DrRobinPfaff.com.

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