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Fibromyalgia: Beyond pharmacological interventions and the potential benefit of gestalt therapy

24 July 2006


Fibromyalgia Syndrome is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain, including pain in 11 of 18 tender points in the body. Unfortunately, the syndrome is also characterized by uncertainty, confusion, and frustrating distress. Criteria for diagnosis are vague, treatments are varied, and etiology is unknown. Despite the array of pharmacological and alternative interventions currently implemented in an effort to alleviate any of the myriad of concomitant symptoms and co-morbid diagnoses associated with fibromyalgia syndrome, there is little available literature in which the individual experience of the patient is addressed. In this literature review, this author will present a summary of treatment modalities for fibromyalgia syndrome, what is missing in these common interventions, and suggest the importance of the patient's experience in successful treatment. Gestalt therapy, with its emphasis on present experience and client phenomenology may provide an intervention option which allows the patient to develop an awareness of his or her experience that is not explored in other treatments. Such a focus on the individual, as opposed to a more homogeneous view of fibromyalgia patients, in which patients in a particular pain population are viewed as the same, is in line with a new, heterogeneous path needed in treatment, in which the patient's individual experience is more important than his or her diagnosis.


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