From Would Like to Should – The Unenforceable Rules
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I was asking a friend of mine about what I could write about this week. He suggested, “What about resentment?” I hadn’t thought about this for a while but it’s a significant problem that does wear us down. Should There are many reasons for resentment. I think the essence of … Read More

Wake the Fun up!!
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Watching a baby take in every aspect of his or her surroundings with curiosity and awe is wonderful, delightful and inspiring. The capacity to learn is almost infinite. Their laughter is contagious and when they are upset they show it. They are completely connected to what is right in front … Read More

Chronic Pain is Solvable -Take Back Your Life
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It has been my observation that suffering from chronic pain affects almost every aspect of your life, especially trying to enjoy yourself. Every enjoyable experience is lessened in the context of pain. You may be able to successfully distract yourself for a bit and not even experience the pain, but … Read More

Omega 2017: Awareness, Hope, Forgiveness and Play
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I will be holding a weekend workshop this July at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. This will be my fourth workshop at Omega. The results have been overwhelmingly satisfying. As in the past, joining me will be my wife, Babs Yohai, who is a professional dancer; and my daughter … Read More

She Just Let Go
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My migraine headaches began on the Fourth of July when I was five years old. By age fifty I had over fifteen physical symptoms of an over-adrenalized nervous system. The last five years were extreme. After trying almost everything, I had completely lost hope of ever regaining any semblance of … Read More

Your Unconscious Brain
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Your body is a lean and mean fighting machine. That is all it is designed for and intended to do. We somewhat cheated nature in that we possess consciousness and language so we are able to control and manipulate our environment to our advantage. Human consciousness is a recent development. … Read More

Society’s Pain and World Peace
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We live in an era of unprecedented comfort and freedom. A recent experience that drove this home was spending a few days in New Orleans. As my wife and I were on a walking tour through the French Quarter, our guide pointed out that it was not until 1890 that … Read More

Out of the Valley, with Dolls
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When I first met Sarah, she was close to 75 and had been experiencing debilitating pain for decades. But, since her spine x-rays revealed only normal degeneration consistent with her age, I set her to work on the DOC process. After about a year of working diligently through the tools, … Read More

Taking on the World’s Suffering
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The tipping point in successfully solving  chronic pain is becoming aware of your anger and processing it. When you are upset you body is full of stress hormone and as each organ system responds, you may experience many physical symptoms. When your anger drops these symptoms will diminish and usually … Read More

The “Benefits” of Becoming Disabled
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I have always enjoyed hard work. I began working in heavy construction at age fourteen during the remodeling of our house. I fell in love with it and kept working at it for another 18 years. I poured concrete slabs, framed, did some finish work, plumbing, and spent three summers … Read More

Stress and Getting Sick – Howard’s Golf Story
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For those of you who are golfers, you know that golf is a great metaphor for life. It is both challenging and social. I think the bonding is a result of such deeply shared suffering. What is fascinating is that it really is just a game. This is a story … Read More

Aced Out
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I received an email from an orthopedic colleague who I have never personally met. We are both part of an Internet discussion group about chronic pain and disability. His observations were very succinct and I think summarizes the problem of physicians not being adequately trained in chronic pain. Here is … Read More

Your Personal Brain Scanner
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  Every second of your life depends on your brain scanning your surroundings for trouble. This unconscious process guides your behavior so as to avoid danger and maximize your chances of survival. You will become conscious of this ongoing interaction with the environment only when a given need is unmet. … Read More

The Power of Pain
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Recent world events have raised a lot of questions about why would people dedicate their lives to the pursuit of destruction? My observation is that this unspeakable behavior is one of the expressions of what is learned in school that we call, “sociaization”. The First Day of School Every child … Read More

Rewire Your Brain – Omega 2015
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Omega Institute, July 2015 Dr. Fred Luskin, author of Forgive for Good, my wife Babs Yohai, a professional tap dancer, and I will hold a five-day workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. The course is structured around education, hope, forgiveness, and play. It is based on the concepts presented … Read More

Ready to Blossom – Omega 13
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The Omega Institute In August of 2013 I put on a 5-day workshop at the Omega institute in Rhinebeck, NY with 11 participants. The other two faculty were Dr. Fred Luskin from Stanford and my wife, Babs Yohai, who is a professional performer (tap dancer). We designed it to address … Read More

“But You are Still Angry”
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Organizing your approach The DOC project is not a formula. You are not going to read my book and experience healing. My book is a framework that will organize your thinking. You can then systematically address all the variables that are affecting your pain. Unless you are actively using the … Read More

Your Book is Bullshit – The Encompassing Power of Anger
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An unhappy reader “Your book about back pain is bullshit! I learned the hard way that pain is an indication something is wrong. The unsuspecting public goes to idiot doctors like you that say, “It’s all in your head you crazy bitch.” Guess what, that pain I was told was … Read More

Nick’s Winning Run – Off of the Hill
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Junior Nationals Champion My son, Nick, has been a competitive freestyle mogul skier since he was 14 years old. He is an extraordinary athlete and within three years of beginning his skiing career he won the Junior Nationals in two years in a row in the Duals event. He was … Read More

“The Cup Song”
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Could it be that the answer to chronic mental or physical pain is The Cup Song? Omega Institute, August, 2013 Dr. Fred Luskin, author of Forgive for Good, my wife, Babs, and I put on a five-day workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. The course was intended to … Read More

Ugolino
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Neurological circuits are permanent Pain pathways are permanent. So are the intertwined anxiety and anger circuits. I am personally reminded of this fact on a daily basis. It happened in a particularly dramatic fashion while on vacation in Italy. Florence My wife lived in Florence, Italy from 1983 to 1990. … Read More

Bullying – My Challenge to the Charter for Compassion
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I am a partner in the Charter for Compassion. They are doing some wonderful things regarding creating an awareness of the need for compassion as well as supporting some great projects. However I think all of us need to dig much deeper. Sartatoga Teen Hangs Herself I am upset. It … Read More

The Elephant’s Noose
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The Elephant’s Noose If you are angry, in a reactive mode, it’s difficult to develop a plan. A metaphor showing the impact of anger is how they handle elephants in India. When the elephants are very small, they train them to stay in one place by tying one foot to … Read More

School or Prison-What’s the Difference? Bullying
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Bullying bothers me–a lot. When I was in middle school and high school, I was very fortunate in that I was not a target of bullying. However, I have watched dozens of friends and family come under attack from bullies. The results are often devastating. No part of bullying is … Read More

Anger Simplified
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Anger = loss of control The need for control is caused by anxiety Therefore Anger = anxiety + adrenaline BF

Anger-The Absolute Block
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You Will Get Better It has become clear that if a given patient engages in the principles outlined in this book, he or she has a high chance of experiencing a dramatic decrease in pain and improved quality of life at some point in time. The richness of this new … Read More

Maslow’s Miss
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Abraham Maslow Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was a brilliant professor of psychology. He founded a branch of psychology known as “Humanistic Psychology,” which focuses more on psychological virtues or excellences rather than on psychological disorders. Maslow is best known for his conceptualization of “man’s hierarchy of needs.” This hierarchy is usually … Read More

Reactive to Creative
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Both hard work and creativity are important in being successful in developing and implementing new ideas, both personally and in the business world. It can be argued that insanity is the antithesis of creativity. Consider Albert Einstein’s thoughts on what constitutes insane behavior? Insanity is Doing the same thing Over … Read More

“C”ing Clearly
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CREATIVE REACTIVE The difference is the location of “C”.

Video 16/19: “White Bears”
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I talk about how the suppression of negative thoughts associated with chronic pain can really fire up the nervous system.  Dr. Daniel Wegner from Harvard published an elegant paper in 1987 demonstratng the impossibity of trying to suppress thoughts. I’ve talked about it before in White Bears and ANTS. BF

Enjoy Your Day-Today
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“Happy” We all want to become better, happier people, and we work pretty hard at it. The marketing world keeps reminding us that we are not even close to our potential and holds up endless images of perfection that reinforce that idea. The solution advertising offers is a better appearance, … Read More

“I Am Not Angry”
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A few years ago, I evaluated a retired businessman for pain down the front of his right leg. It had begun about eight months earlier. The pain was moderate but frustrating. He had not experienced prior back problems and was not used to dealing with pain.  It was unclear what … Read More

Video 2/19: Your Hand Over the Stove
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Consider a situation where you are forced to hold your hand next to the hot burner of a stove.  What would happen to your anxiety?  What would be your next response?  In chronic pain, you “can’t get your hand away from the stove.” I talk about this in depth in … Read More

“I Understand Your Anger. Get Over It.”
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I was relaxing this weekend and cleaning up stacks of papers that have been piling up over the last six months.  I ran across this letter a patient had shared with me from her prior surgeon. She had undergone a major low back surgery and came to me with unrelenting … Read More

Depression Masking as Pain
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Patient’s Letter Hi Dr Hanscom, I have been meaning to check in with you for a while now and let you know that the DOC program seems to have worked for me. My lower back & leg pain has disappeared and I’m a firm believer in the process, especially the … Read More

“Call Things by Their Right Names”
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The culture of medicine is immersed in high standards, ideals, and perfections.  Society demands perfection from physicians.  It is manifested in many ways.  The legal system, hospital staff privileging, no mercy for personal mental health issues, harsh criticism from our mentors.  Consequently, as others judge us, we are idealistic regarding … Read More

My Victimhood
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I play the victim role as well as anyone. I still do. The most difficult step is to recognize that I am actually in the role. Abuse as the Baseline I was truly a victim, but I didn’t know it at the time. I was raised in an abusive household … Read More

Perfectionism
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Perfection doesn’t exist in the human experience. The only vision of perfect I have seen is in nature and the design of the human body.  Well, almost perfect–the inevitability of death seems to be a design flaw. Still, a living, fully functioning organism is beyond wonder.     But the … Read More

Anger and the Continental Divide
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Playing the victim role is a universal part of the human experience. The word ‘victim’ does not sound very pleasing. However, it may be the one most important words affecting the quality of your life. This is particularly true in the context of chronic pain. All of us are limited … Read More

Suppressing
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We frequently deal with negative thoughts by suppressing them. We don’t want to feel negative, so we don’t. We think that we have no alternative to a difficult situation, so we just move on. 80 Hours a Week? I have witnessed the downside of thought suppression firsthand in the medical … Read More