Psychosocial Issues

The Impact of Pain, Disability and Trauma on Interpersonal Relationships

Individuals who become disabled as a result of pain, physical injury or trauma often find that these enduring experiences can lead to problems with attachment, intimacy and interpersonal relationships that were not present before the injury. Among the problems that occur are:

  • Feelings of alienation

  • Mistrust and guardedness

  • Detachment, isolation and withdrawal

  • A loss of pleasure in life; loss of the capacity to feel joy (anhedonia)

  • Loss of the ability to feel sensual and sexual; inability to experience intimacy

  • Loss of capacity to have healthy interactions with others

  • Repetitive self-destructive relationships

  • Inability to receive nurturing from others

  • Problems with setting or maintaining boundaries

  • Problems with communicating; loss of capacity to express wants, needs and feelings

  • Feelings of abandonment and loss

As part of the treatment plan for injured workers, the therapists at South Shore Counseling and Psychological Services explore these issues in order to help patients develop the skills necessary to cope with these relationship issues. The use of communication techniques, insights, and self-instructional training enables patients to deal with relationship difficulties so they are able to heal psychologically from the injury. Healing means the person is able to cope emotionally, physically, inter-personally and spiritually.

In addition, patients are encouraged to bring in significant others in their lives (husbands, wives, children, etc.) in order to discuss these issues directly and to develop a method to strengthen the relationships and regain trust. The impact of disability on a family is often devastating; the patterns of behavior have become altered placing stress and on the family. Providing psychological care for these issues is often a critical component to a patient’s ability to recover. At South Shore Counseling and Psychological Services, family life, relationship issues and personal satisfaction are important aspects of our treatment program.