Behavioral Medicine Institute

Behavioral medicine services are offered at Pain Consultants of East Tennessee by Behavioral Medicine Institute, P.C., a private practice group of psychologists and licensed clinical social workers who specialize in helping people with health-related problems. In 2000 Behavioral Medicine Institute, P.C. (BMI) opened an office inside of Pain Consultants of East Tennessee to make it easier for patients to get behavioral medicine services and to work closely with their medical specialists. It is a unique arrangement that gives patients a multi-disciplinary treatment approach to their pain.

“Behavioral medicine” is a name for psychology and psychotherapy services offered to people with health issues such as chronic pain. People are not referred for behavioral medicine because their physician thinks that their pain is “not real” or “all in their head.” Behavioral medicine helps people deal with their chronic pain. We offer practical ways to help people reduce their pain, to better cope with their pain, and prevent their pain from overwhelming them. We also help the physicians and practitioners at Pain Consultants of East Tennessee to assess and understand their patients so they can help them more effectively. Specifically, we conduct “risk assessment” on all patients before opiate (i.e., “narcotic”) pain medication is prescribed. This assessment does not say who can have prescriptions for opiates and who can’t– rather, risk assessment helps the Pain Consultants clinicians know where to start with pain medication management. Risk assessment helps Pain Consultants make informed treatment decisions to maximize the chance of improved outcomes for each individual patient. Actually, our BMI psychologists are nationally recognized for their risk assessment services and have published multiple times on the topic.

In addition to assessment services the BMI psychologists also offer treatment services to PCET patients. We offer short-term counselling for patients who are having difficulty coping with their pain. We also can sometimes help patients with general life issues that come up during treatment, such as grief and loss issues and marital problems. If you need psychiatric medication we can offer some guidance and resource lists as well so you can find someone to meet this need. While we do not have the time to offer long-term services to PCET patients, we can offer some limited help in a way that is often more convenient than a patient trying to find another mental health professional at another practice.

Most medical problems are best treated with some combination of interventional treatments (such as surgeries and injections), pharmacological treatments (medications), and changes patients can make for themselves (lifestyle changes). We have found that in the field of chronic pain there are five essential skills patients need to best deal with their pain. One service Pain Consultants of East Tennessee offers to patients is a unique single group session that teaches patients these five essential skills (“Pain Pearls”). By offering an introduction to the five core skills in a single session rather than in a multi-week format, we save patients time and money while giving them the highest quality service. Follow-up surveys about this group find that it is very well-received and in fact 97% of all patients surveyed recommend this session for other pain patients.

Our psychologists can also teach relaxation skills and offer coping strategies to better deal with pain. We have even begun use of computer virtual reality sessions to decrease pain. The BMI psychologists who work with Pain Consultants of East Tennessee strive to offer excellent assessment and cost-effective treatment services as a part of a comprehensive PCET pain treatment package. This collaboration is unique and enables you as a pain patient to get one of the highest quality pain treatment experiences in the nation.