Mind-Body Syndrome/Chronic Pain/TMS

Do You Have Mind Body Syndrome/ Chronic Pain/ TMS?

Are you experiencing chronic pain, fatigue, or other mystery symptoms that doctors cannot solve? Have you been to numerous doctors, chiropractors, and alternative health practitioners spending thousands of dollars and are ending up nowhere? Have doctors told you that your symptoms are “all in your head”? I understand your frustration and your stress! Many of these symptoms can be categorized as Mind Body Syndrome (MBS), also known as Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). Mind Body therapy can help.

Examples of Mind-Body Syndromes:


Chronic Back Pain


Chronic Pain

Chronic Pelvic Pain (Vulvodynia, Interstitial Cystitis, Prostatitis)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Chronic Fatigue

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

And More….

Many people with these syndromes have similar personalities/ qualities such as:

Type A

Motivated, Achiever


Have ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Come from high pressure families


Frequently feeling guilt

Wanting to be good or liked

Hold thoughts in, have a hard time expressing feelings

(not all traits are needed for a MBS Diagnosis)

Sound familiar?

The great news is that these syndromes can be healed and are mainly brain/nervous system based.

About Mind Body Syndrome/ Tension Myositis Syndrome

Mind Body Syndrome was brought into the mainstream by the late Dr. John Sarno. He published his first book Mind Over Back Pain in 1982. Sarno found that subconscious emotional states were driving chronic pain disorders in his patients. He coined the term Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS), a term still used today to describe many different mind body disorders. Interestingly, Sarno found when the subconscious emotional states were released, the mind body syndrome disappeared.

Fast forward to today, you may have heard the buzzword Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that our brains are malleable, they can change. Every time we learn something new or do something physically, our brain is changing, new neural connections are being created. Researchers have also found that thinking changes the brain too!

Learn more HERE.

What I Do

In my Ventura, California mind body therapy practice I blend the emotional work of Dr. Sarno with new neuroplasticity techniques called Pain Reprocessing Therapy or Brain Retraining. I have done multiple professional therapist trainings with Dr. Howard Schubiner, the author of the popular workbook Unlearn Your Pain. Dr. Schubiner has also been involved in many clinical studies with Mind Body Syndromes and the findings are that these neuroplasticity methods are helping people heal. Also, I am very knowledgeable about many self-help brain retraining programs and can assist you with these. Examples are: Dynamic Neural Retraining System: DNRS, Gupta Program Brain Retraining, ANS Rewire.

As a Mind-Body therapist, I also use Somatic Experiencing therapy to help regulate the nervous system. Often, people with mind-body syndromes are disregulated in their nervous system. I use somatic techniques  to help my clients feel regulated, socially engaged, and safe. Trauma and complex trauma can throw someone’s nervous system into a survival mode. In prolonged survival mode, symptoms like pain, fatigue, and illness start to show up. Overall, when a person’s system is regulated with somatic techniques, bodily healing can take place.

Chronic Back Pain

Research shows that most people have mild to moderate back or neck MRI abnormalities like bulging disks, some spinal stenoisis, or other issues. Many of these people DO NOT have pain even with the abnormalities. Subsequently, if you do not have any major back abnormalities but are experiencing chronic back pain and discomfort, you most likely do have Mind Body Syndrome.


From my own experience, I know how stressful Vulvodynia can be. Vulvodynia is vaginal chronic pain/ vulvar pain. Fear over having painful sex will make anyone anxious and depressed. Commonly, Vulvodynia often starts from an injury to the area or an infection such as yeast. The infection clears up but the chronic vulvar pain lingers. Sometimes there is no clear reason why Vulvodynia starts. While I use similar techniques for all Mind Body Syndromes, for Vulvodynia I also add in the Vulvodynia Protocol of Sophie Bergeron, PHD, Canada Research Chair in Intimate Relationships and Sexual Wellbeing. You can find out more HERE. Overall, with Mind-Body therapy, vaginal pain can be a thing of the past.

I Get It

From my own experiences with Mind Body Syndrome/ Tension Myositis Syndrome, I truly get what you are experiencing. My mind-body symptoms and healing led me on my path to become a mind-body therapist.

These syndromes isolate us, cause strain on our relationships and our professional lives. Ultimately, they cause anxiety, sadness, and fear; fear that we may be stuck with these syndromes for the rest of our lives. Importantly, these symptoms are very real and not a figment of your imagination. I want to give you HOPE! Many people with these syndromes HEAL. Pain Reprocessing Therapy and other mind-body techniques have helped me on my own healing journey. Overall, your mind-body symptoms do not have to be a life sentence.


How long do I need to be in therapy?

Some of my clients feel better within a few sessions. And some of my clients need a bit longer to discuss traumatic life events and dysfunctional patterns. Some of my clients take the tools I give them and schedule sessions bi-weekly. Basically, each client is different. The aim is to feel better and not continue therapy indefinitely!

Can’t I just read a book on this?

Possibly! However, my experience with Mind Body Syndromes goes back over ten years and I offer you tons of knowledge, information, and tools. Therapy will give you new life perspectives and new views on your symptoms. Importantly, right in the first session I will give you tools to start rewiring your brain. It’s not necessary to spend weeks reading different literature although it can support your healing.

I am nervous to start this therapy. I am not sure I’m ready to go deep into my emotions or my past. Will it really help?

I will be right there with you along the way! Yes, talking about tough stuff isn’t easy and might bring up some hard memories, but it’s important for healing. I offer you my nonjudgmental attention and support. Yes, this therapy does work. I believe you can HEAL! Above all, chronic pain and other Mind Body Syndromes can get better.

My Personal View On Mind Body Syndromes and The Medical Community

These disorders are brain/ nervous system based. I cannot wait for the day for a pill to come, or a simple surgery to be discovered that fix all of these terrible problems. Sadly, the medical community is just not there yet. However, there are pills/medications and surgeries. But, these do not come with any guarantees and often create powerful side effects. I like to stay abreast of new treatments and studies being done in the medical community and do hope that one day there will be any easy fix. Importantly, I always recommend having a good doctor/specialist while utilizing the mind/body therapy techniques.

From my own personal experience with Mind Body Syndromes/ Tension Myositis Syndrome, I know this specialized therapy can help and often be curative. I went years spending thousands of dollars on treatments, and not gaining any answers. Over all, this powerful work is what has helped me and so many others.

Reach Out

To sum up, if you are still questioning if this specialized mind-body therapy is right for you, I offer a complementary 20 minute phone call. I see clients in person and online all over California. My office is located in Ventura, California (close to Ojai, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks). I also see many clients from Los Angeles County.


Latest Blog Posts
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    Misophonia The Beast. Misophonia Treatment.   Misophonia is a beast! Misophonia is a selective sound sensitivity that that can cause anger, anxiety, disgust, panic, and other tough emotions. Anyone with Misophonia who is reading this definitely knows the monster that is Misophonia. Finding treatment for Misophonia can be a struggle. I personally (and unfortunately) have first-hand experience with the monster. We met after a  traumatic event I had in college, many years ago.  Importantly, I know my sound sensitivity began at an earlier age but it wasn’t a major problem then. Subsequently, I saw my fair share of therapists as a young adult, trying to get help. One therapist told me to “tolerate” the noise. I did my very best to not curse that therapist out! Another therapist told me that I need to live in quiet apartments (but how does that happen when you live in New York City). Another therapist attempted to trigger me by knocking on the wall in her office- it did not work. After moving to Los Angeles and studying to become a therapist, I thought to myself- what’s the deal with current Misophonia treatment? While treatment and therapy options were scarce, I did meet some fascinating people researching, treating, and diving into the Misophonia monster.   Full Disclosure   Full disclosure, I have been treating Misophonia for a little over a year but I’ve been exploring Misophonia treatments and working with therapy clients for many years. And in this time, wow, have I learned a lot! I guess I fit well into the Misophonia personality type that some professionals talk about- Type A, perfectionistic, rigid, etc. When I have an interest in something, I will learn all I can. Basically, I strive to help my clients one hundred percent. Interestingly, that Miso personality type is similar to the chronic pain personality type. I will discuss my thoughts on chronic pain and Misophonia a few paragraphs down! Overall, I have a passion about learning all things Misophonia.   Highly Sensitive People   Something that I am realizing is that many people with Misophonia are sensitive people. We are sensitive people with sensitive nervous systems. Could we be Highly Sensitive People? The term “Highly Sensitive People” became popular because of the work of Dr. Elaine Aron. You can take the Highly Sensitive Person quiz HERE.  Dr. Aron found out that HSPs have greater depth of processing, become over stimulated, have emotional reactivity, are empathetic, and sense the subtle in the environment. Sound familiar? Being a Highly Sensitive Person is not a sensory disorder. It is a sensory sensitivity.   Highly Sensitive People, Misophonia & The Brain   What really piqued my interest on how HSP relates to Misophonia was the research on the brain. Research has shown that Highly Sensitive People have more activation in the Insula (knowledge of inner states and emotions- love, trust, fear, sexual arousal and the awareness of bodily position in space and the awareness of outer events). Also, HSPs have more active mirror neurons. If you are a Misophonia nerd like me, you would have seen the latest research around the Insula and over active mirror neurons. If I had more time, I would get into the scientific info but I trust your ability in using google! Misophonia can arrive in a person’s life for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes trauma plays a role and sometimes it does not. But I feel when you are born a sensitive person, have the genetic susceptibility to Misophonia, and then throw in some trauma or parental attachment ruptures, the Misophonia monster rears it’s ugly head.   Chronic Pain & Neural Pathways   Before I dove into learning about Misophonia, I dove into Mind-Body Syndromes (also known as Tension Myositis Syndrome & Psychophysiologic Disorders) over ten years ago. Mind-Body Syndromes are classified as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, pelvic pain, irritable bowl and more. Mind-Body Syndromes became popular from the work of Dr. John Sarno. He wrote the book famous book Healing Back Back Pain-The Mind-Body Connection. Sarno’s work has been expanded on by doctors such as Howard Schubiner. Similarly to Misophonia, many people with Mind-Body Syndromes also have sensitive brains/ nervous systems. Interestingly, some people with Mind-Body Syndromes fit into the category of Central Sensitization Syndrome. From my multiple professional trainings on Mind-Body Syndromes over the years (trainings with Dr. Howard Scubiner & Alan Gordon LCSW), I have learned that a large part of these syndromes are ruled by neural pathways. Basically, neural pathways are learned networks in our brain.  For example, when you learn to ride a bike, your brain learns to ride (and not) forget through neural networks. An excellent video on neural networks and bike riding is HERE. In chronic pain and other Mind-Body Syndromes the symptoms get stuck in a feedback loop and a large reason they get stuck is from the fear over symptoms. From my training in Somatic Experiencing, I have learned that many people with Mind-Body Syndromes (and I believe Misophonia people) are living in a state of sympathetic activation. Basically, people’s nervous systems are so sensitized, which wreaks havoc on the body and mind. Please note, I am sensitive to the fact that the Mind-Body symptoms are real and not in a person’s mind. Thank goodness the medical community is studying this, but in my belief and many other professionals belief, these symptoms are perpetuated by brain neural networks and a sensitized nervous system.   Neural Pathways, The Nervous System & Misophonia   From studying the work of Tom Dozier, Dr Ezra Cowan, Marsha Johnson, and more recently Chris Pearson, I see a lot of similarities between Mind-Body Syndromes and Misophonia.   Here’s what I’ve learned and pondered: Misophonia has a somatic component. The body reacts to a sound. The brain and the body are connected. When the body tenses and recoils, this sends messages to the brain that there is danger.   Avoiding the sound, running away, reinforces the fear.   Ruminating on preceptory anxiety Read More

  • healing visualizations

    Healing Visualizations We all know what it’s like to close our eyes and visualize ourselves sitting or lying on a warm beach, with white sand, listening to the sounds of a blue green ocean crashing softly. A slight smile might appear on our face, our shoulders might drop down, a calming exhale releases from our lips. Then, we might start to melt into the couch we are sitting or lying on! If we can get really deep into the visualization, it’s almost like actually being on that beach. After that, when we open our eyes, we are a little bit calmer and centered. Utilizing Healing Visualizations are an amazing way that we can turn on our relaxation response, come to a place of calmness, away from the hecticness of daily life.   The Science Behind Healing Visualizations But what else can Healing Visualizations do to enhance our lives? What can they do to combat our fears, phobias, and anxieties? A 1995 study led by Harvard Medical School Neuroscientist Alvaro Pascual-Leone looked at two groups of people practicing the piano. Both groups were brand new to learning the piano. One group was able to physically play the piano over 5 days and the other group only mentally rehearsed themselves playing the piano over 5 days, meaning they visualized themselves playing the piano. After, researchers then mapped the brains of all the participants. The piano players that only visualized playing, had nearly the same amount of brain map changes as the people that physically played the piano. Pretty cool stuff! So just by using visualization and other mental rehearsal techniques, real brain changes took place. “When people close their eyes and visualize a simple object, such as the letter A, the primary visual cortex lights up, just as it would if the subjects were actually looking at the letter A.”- The Brain That Changes Itself, Doidge.   Using Daily Visualizations Mental rehearsal techniques such as visualization are used by sports players, surgeons, people with phobias and more. The visualizations help them prepare and subsequently succeed at what they are trying to accomplish. But how can Healing Visualizations help you? Firstly, what fears have been holding you back? What would it look like if you overcame your fears? How would your life look? Maybe you just need a boost in preparing for a big event that’s causing some stress. Why not take a few minutes and imagine yourself going through the motions of the thing/event you’ve been putting off but imagine doing it in a confident, at ease manner? See what shifts take place….   Reach Out To sum up, if you are looking for support and guidance on your healing journey, reach out! I see clients for therapy online all over California, and in person in Ventura.   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7500130/ https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1993-03757-001 Photo Credit: “White Beach” by Trent Strohm is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

  • Pain During Sex Vulvodynia

    Pain During Sex With Vulvodynia. 7 Tips For Success.   Are you experiencing vaginal pain during sex? Either during sex or after? People with vulvodynia (vaginal pain syndrome) can experience a multitude of uncomfortable symptoms. Anything from, burning, to stabbing, throbbing, soreness, and even itching can cause distress. In addition, painful sex not only is stressful for the person with vulvodynia but also for their partner. Partners often don’t understand the complexity of vulvodynia or they believe their partner is just avoiding them. When a person experiences painful sex, they become nervous and stressed and their muscles become tense. They most likely avoid intercourse. The stress-pain cycle then only continues and possibly gets worse. Mind-body cognitive techniques along with a slow penetration practice with a dilator and your sexual partner can be extremely helpful to rid the pain.   Here’s some tips that you can use to ease yourself back into enjoyable sex.   Lube, Lube, Lube! When we are stressed (anticipating pain) we inhibit making our own natural vaginal secretions. There are so many varieties of lubrication. Experiment with what works best for you. Many women with vaginal pain like natural non-chemical lubes like coconut oil. But be wary that coconut oil can make condoms break down and not work well. In my own journey with vulvodynia, I liked silicone based. Do your own research.   Often when we have pain during sex, our brains start to remember that sex = pain. One way to begin to unravel this connection is masturbation. Masturbation allows you to go at your own speed without the pressure of having a partner there. It’s so important to remember what it feels like to have pleasure! You can be creative and see what’s enjoyable without bringing on any pain.   Talk with your partner. Not discussing what you are experiencing only confuses your partner and causes resentment and anger. How else can you create intimacy without penetration? Thinking about this is the first way to start bringing intimacy back into your relationship again.   Use Dilators. Dilators are vaginal inserts that gradually get bigger in size. Start with the smallest, use lube, and practice relaxing your body and vaginal muscles while using the dilator. Fun Fact: Do you know that the pelvis is connected to the jaw? See what happens when you release your jaw muscles while using the dilatator.   Visualize having sex. Visualization is a powerful practice that can prepare you for having enjoyable sex. Sports players visualize themselves going through the movements of their sport because it prepares their brain for the actual game. Can you visualize your body relaxed, feeling pleasure and having fun during sex?   Practice with your partner. Allowing your partner be part of your recovery opens up clear communication and gets you both on the same page. Have your partner slowly insert one finger. If that feels ok, add in another finger. Increase the fingers as long as you feel good. After, move on to your partners penis (if penis penetration is your thing). Go slow. Make sure that your communication is clear and assertive.   Practice diaphragmatic breathing before, during, and after penetration. Often when we are under stress, we hold our breath. Belly breathing is an excellent way to calm your body and ease your mind.   Pain during sex can be a thing of the past. Always work with an understanding doctor who know about vulvodynia. A physical therapist can also be extremely helpful. And of course, a therapist who specializes in chronic pain along with TMS can be extremely beneficial.   Reach Out! I am a Mind-Body therapist in Ventura, California and see clients in person and all over for online therapy. My office is close to Ojai, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks. Send me an email HERE to set up a free 20 minute call.  

  • From personal experience, I know how horrific Vulvodynia can be. The pain, the shame, going from doctor to doctor and not getting any answers, trying all types of treatments with no relief. I have heard of so many remedies from going keto/paleo, vegan, medical medium, putting garlic and other remedies up there. I even saw in one online group that some women were doing urine therapy (aka drinking their urine). Please don’t drink your urine. It is not necessary! Now I am not stating that there aren’t many paths to healing and I honor whatever healing method works for you. But viewing Vulvodynia as a mind body disorder (neural circuit issue) has helped numerous women to heal, including myself. And now, in my therapy/coaching practice, I am specializing in chronic pelvic pain. When it comes to pelvic pain, it IS important to have a knowledgeable doctor, and in a lot of cases physical therapy and medications can be helpful too. Definitely go to your doctor and get checked out for medical causes. But when the tests are continually negative, it’s time to stop searching for outside answers. It’s time start looking within, and accept Vulvodynia as a mind body disorder. This is when the shifts will take place and the healing can finally begin. I suffered with pretty bad Vulvodynia for about two years and I treated it as a mind body syndrome using techniques such as, brain neuroplasticty, nervous system regulation, and how the symptoms were distracting me from what was really going on in my hectic/stressful life. I was free from Vulvodynia for about a good year or two and then suddenly another strange symptom popped up. I went to my gyn and once again every test came back negative, but I was sure that I had some hidden infection, some hidden yeast infection, virus, etc. I then went on to an infectious disease doctor and a skin specialist who was close to taking a biopsy down there (ouch!). Right before scheduling the biopsy, I read online that my new symptom was a classic symptom of Vulvodynia! The bell went off in my head, I had my aha moment, and I accepted the symptom as Vulvodynia (and again treated it as a mind body syndrome). As soon as I had that acceptance that the Vulvodynia symptom was a mind body disorder, the symptom went away. From what I remember, it actually went away within a few days. A lot of effort, stress, and anxiety go into trying to get answers from the medical system or woohoo modalities. It’s draining, it’s tiring and it keeps your symptoms perpetuating. There’s a lot of info on the web and books written about treating mind body syndromes also known as TMS. I suggest you start there on your healing journey. And if you need more help, feel free to reach out to me. For more info: http://ppdassociation.org

Get In Touch 




5550 Telegraph Rd. Ventura, California 93003
Located near Ojai, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks.

Also seeing clients for online therapy all over.




5550 Telegraph Rd. Ventura, California 93003

Located near Ojai, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks.

Also seeing clients for online therapy all over.