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EmergeOrtho’s Clinical Psychology Department: Harnessing The Power of the Mind to Control The Body’s Reaction to Pain

Coastal Region / 13 Apr 2022

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by EmergeOrtho
EmergeOrtho’s Clinical Psychology Department:  Harnessing The Power of the Mind to Control The Body’s Reaction to Pain

Mind over matter. More than a catchy phrase, it’s the basis of a medical specialty known as clinical psychology.

EmergeOrtho’s Wilmington region has always been committed to offering a wide variety of treatment options to our patients. In 2021, we expanded our services to include a clinical psychology department headed by Don L. Crowder, PhD, a behavior medicine specialist with more than five decades of experience.

Clinical psychology addresses both the psychological (mind) and physiological (body) components of a condition. Behavior medicine specialists use a cognitive behavioral approach to help patients better understand the interaction of their thinking, feelings and behavior. Patients can be taught to recognize and change automatic thoughts and non-helpful core assumptions, which can help them better manage negative feelings, including pain. Techniques, such as relaxed breathing, pacing activity and incorporating pleasure and playfulness into their daily activities, can actually help patients alter their reaction to pain or discomfort and live a more enjoyable and rewarding life.

Part of your healthcare team, your EmergeOrtho clinical psychologist will work with you, your family and your other providers to tailor a plan specific to your situation, and to maximize the treatment’s benefits. Treatment duration is also individualized, lasting from a one-time consultation to a series of four to eight sessions.

Pain and health conditions that can be treated with behavior medicine include:

  • Back pain
  • Neuropathies
  • Neck pain
  • IBS
  • Cancer pain
  • Fibromyalgia and myofascial pain
  • Migraine/tension headache
  • Sleep problems
  • TMJ/oro-facial pain
  • Stress-related illnesses
  • Chest pain

Specialists may use the following methods and techniques:

  • Motivational/rehabilitation counseling
  • Hypnosis/guided imagery/relaxation
  • Mindfulness meditation/breathing techniques
  • Biofeedback (Heart Rate Variability/EMG)
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (effective thinking)
  • Self-monitoring and behavioral desensitization

Additional services provided by EmergeOrtho’s clinical psychology department include:

  • Behavioral health assessment/psychological testing for spinal cord stimulators
  • Pre-surgical behavioral health assessment for surgical outcomes risks
  • Limited course of treatment
  • Pre-surgical treatment for fear of surgery/pain procedures or to improve surgical/ rehabilitation outcomes
  • Help getting unstuck when progress in physical/hand therapy is being limited by the fear of pain or other psychological barriers
  • Evaluations for opioid maintenance treatment

Clinical psychology services are billed under your medical diagnosis and covered by most insurance plans (except Medicaid).

Don L. Crowder, PhD

About Dr. Crowder

Don L. Crowder, PhD, has a long and distinguished career in behavior medicine. He earned his bachelor of science in pre-med from Davidson College, his master of science in clinical psychology from Eastern Kentucky University and his PhD in clinical psychology with an emphasis on medical psychology and neuropsychology from the University of Health Sciences at The Chicago Medical School (now Rosalind Franklin University).

Dr. Crowder has been a university instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and been appointed to numerous task forces, committees and councils on topics ranging from substance abuse to crisis prevention. He has served in various state and national medical board leadership positions, received two prestigious awards for his work in psychology, and has co-authored an article in the Journal of Contemporary Psychology.

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