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Psychological Services at Center for Pain Management

Psychological Services at Center for Pain Management

The goal of pain management is to help you combat pain and improve your overall quality of life. Center for Pain Management is committed to providing the best services for patient needs, such as psychological services. As our practices continue to expand and evolve, we have welcomed Dr. Ari Dean Gleckman as our Chief Psychologist and Director of Clinical Training for Psychological Services.

Hear directly from Dr. Gleckman about his experiences, the role of psychology in pain management, and his plans for bringing our patients these integral services.

What Brought You to the Center for Pain Management?

Dr. Gleckman shared, “I have been a practicing psychologist in Indianapolis since the late 90s and have participated in many subspecialties.” His focus took a turn almost two decades ago when he began practicing a subspecialty called Behavioral Medicine. It can also be referred to as Health Psychology or Pain Psychology.

This put his skills to work in a new arena, one that is focused on aiding those affected by pain and/or physical disability in an integrated medical system. Behavioral Medicine is about using coping skills and general psychological principles to enhance patients’ quality of life. It is meant to optimize patient responses to traditional medical interventions, such as medications, infusions, and surgery.

When asked what brought him to the Center for Pain Management, Dr. Gleckman said, “I was drawn to the opportunity to create a Department of Psychological Services at a larger, multi-state practice eager to offer its patients a quality psychological practice that enhances the work of its medical colleagues.”

Dr. Gleckman continued, “When I contemplated the fact that Center for Pain Management is a leader in this industry, with terrifically talented practitioners and executives who are intelligent, supportive, and excited, it turned into a marriage that I believe will suit both parties for years to come.”

Should Someone With Acute Pain Seek Psychological Services?

Acute pain is pain that lasts for a short period of time. Dr. Gleckman noted that there is no data to suggest that individuals experiencing acute pain should seek mental health/psychological care.

However, there are exceptions to this statement. If someone is already actively participating in mental health treatments, their sudden experience of pain or disability should be promptly discussed with their mental health provider, PCP or specialist. Another exception applies to people who require a certain level of mobility in order to perform their job. This encompasses anyone who performs physical labor to musicians and elite athletes. People who experience new, acute pain should immediately consult their physician.

Should Someone With Chronic Pain Seek Psychological Services?

This answer is straightforward: Everyone experiencing any form of chronic pain should be evaluated at a minimum by a qualified psychologist with experience in Health Psychology/ Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Gleckman describes the multifaceted benefits of this simple formula:

  • It helps reduce the incidence of addiction
  • It helps physicians and health care providers attain optimal outcomes for patients
  • It allows individuals to learn about available non-pharmacological and non-surgical options as a means of better managing their pain and optimizing their quality of life

How Can Patients Benefit From Integrating Psychological Treatment Into Their Pain Management Plans?

Dr. Gleckman said, “It has become universally accepted that mental health directly impacts our physical health, and our physical health directly affects our mental health.” He added, “When it comes to chronic diseases, such as cancer, lupus, arthritis, diabetes, and an entire array of other chronic conditions, this ‘mind/body’ effect is even more pronounced and profound.”

There are numerous benefits to psychological treatment. Psychological services can:

  • Enhance healing
  • Contribute to optimal functioning
  • Teach coping skills
  • Provide guidance on psychological factors that impact a person with chronic pain/disability
  • Assist the patient with the grief associated with losing aspects of their life due to pain, such as jobs, relationships, fitness, or hobbies
  • Evaluate medications and ensure they are being used for physical pain management and not emotional pain management

Dr. Gleckman noted the purpose of psychological services is to enhance function and quality of care while reducing and eliminating human suffering.

What if a Patient Is Hesitant About Adding Psychological Services to Their Treatment Plan?

Dr. Gleckman has a simple response to this: “A quality physician and healthcare provider will tell you this is something you need. It’s not an option.” Psychological services are medical care. Dr. Gleckman says you should expect an evaluation with a mental health provider affiliated with a medical center that delivers treatment to those with chronic pain.

If your provider says psychological services are the next step, they are practicing good medicine. As Dr. Gleckman puts it, “Making psychological services…optional is quite simply bad medicine. Allowing patients to refuse or indefinitely put off these visits…is also bad medicine.” Trust your provider to put you first, and that includes referrals for psychological services. If you need additional incentive, he also shared, “The large majority of people I have had the privilege of treating in the past 20 years are grateful for the referral, come to the appointment with enthusiasm, and later in treatment are grateful for the lessons learned.”

How Do You Plan to Develop And/or Enhance the Psychological Services Available at the Center for Pain Management?

For Dr. Gleckman, it starts with the right environment. He said, “Everyone affiliated with Center for Pain Management and American Pain Consortium has been truly wonderful, supportive, kind, encouraging, and clearly articulating their enthusiasm for the future of Psychology at its practices.”

With that unwavering support, he has already begun implementing a robust, holistic plan to enhance the Psychology Department. Part of that includes building on his strong, existing relationships with doctoral training programs at Purdue, Ball State, IUPUI, and The University of Indianapolis. Dr. Gleckman said, “We will forge a collaborative teaching relationship with these universities. We will offer their students state-of-the-art opportunities to train and treat our patients under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. This will give us a wonderful opportunity to share our brand with the larger community.”

Dr. Gleckman will spend time moving between Center for Pain Management’s locations to grow and manage our psychology practices. He believes an optimal model of care has Psychology present at each site, with staff in the office and collaborating in real-time with colleagues in order to better manage patient care and outcomes.

“All of these things should profoundly enhance the quality and availability of psychological services at the Center for Pain Management,” Dr. Gleckman said.

Dr. Ari Dean Gleckman is an incredible asset to the future of the Center for Pain Management and its Psychology Department. To learn more about what we can offer, check out one of our convenient Indiana locations or give us a call at 317-706-7246.