Making Sense: Regaining Self-Coherence

  • Bronwyn Lennox ThompsonEmail author


Chronic pain is a perplexing and confusing experience for both the individual and the clinician. As meaning-making beings, people struggle to make sense of an experience that disrupts the sense of coherence and assumptions about who they are and what they can do. Individuals who successfully make sense of their pain, and can integrate this new reality into their self-concept are able to move forward in life. Findings from a classical grounded theory are used in this chapter to show the importance of making sense of pain as part of a process of regaining self-coherence. The overall process shows that a critical aspect of accepting chronic pain is learning to re-occupy a self-concept that integrates the impact of chronic pain while allowing the individual to express important values through activities in daily life. Clinicians are encouraged to place emphasis on creating a space where being present, listening and explaining can occur so that people living with pain can begin to feel that the world, and their place in it, makes sense.


Chronic Pain Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Persistent Pain Illness Representation Diagnostic Label 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal MedicineUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand

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