While Steen and Haugli state that treatment programs do exist that approach chronic pain from a psychological point of view, promoting educational pain programs, as well as cognitive understanding of pain and pain models, in order for behaviors to be modified, has been met with limited success. Steen and Haugli (2001) approach their own pilot project and one-year follow-up with a “phenomenological perspective” where the individual experience of their situation is essential. The basic precept is that the body is not regarded as a material object, but rather as “our centre and carrier of meaning, and we live and experience meaning directly in our bodies.” (Haugli, 2000)
Thus, when assessing pain, we must look at each patient as an individual, taking into account their physical, emotional and mental states. We need to look at all presenting symptoms, including the story behind the parable as well as the chameleon-like the nature of pain and stressors.
We must be guided toward the Plan by a deep understanding and reflection with the patient on the meaning of the symptoms experienced by them. It is the patient who will know in her heart whether she requires knowing the “cause,” and the underpinnings of the “cure” and whether she can stay perplexed, open and curious.