Starting out

Loch Lommond

Starting out

Welcome to The Pain Coach Programme

~ the science of pain & strengths based coaching

This introductory page provides you with important resources to clarify what you want to achieve and to start understanding your pain.

Clarify your picture of success

What are the real results that you want to achieve? Write this down in positive terms. Your picture of success is your direction and reference point: what steps can I take towards my picture of success?

You may have a number of things you want to achieve: personal, sporting, family, work etc. In this case you can prioritise.

In your life, what is important to you?

These are your values. Common examples include relationships, fitness and health, family, career. Making a list of your values and choosing your top 4 helps you to make best decisions. For each, you can identify 4 goals that you can work towards.

Value-based decisions are those we make that are in line with our deepest beliefs. Sometimes we try to meet other needs with quick fixes although they are not in line with our picture of success. For example, to be fit and well we must be active each day. Remembering that this is important, we can then decide to exercise rather than sit on the couch, despite a draw towards the latter.

Your strengths

These are your characteristics that help you to deliver results. When you are using your strengths each day, you will feel alive, in flow and often energised.

One way to clarify your strengths is to think of an example of a time when you successfully delivered or overcame a challenge. What strengths did you use? For example, focus, determination, courage, empathy. There are many. Notice how you feel as you go through this exercise.

Of the strengths you have identified in you, which will be useful here to overcome this challenge.


A simple way to become attuned to your picture of success, your values and your daily wins is to journal. Some people choose to write a few sentences whilst others expand and draw. It is yours to use as you wish, but always in a positive way. At the front is your picture of success, which each morning you can review and prioritise certain steps to take (your programme of practices and coping skills that we will expand).

Each day we experience little wins. Recognising and acknowledging these wins is important as they motivate further actions.

You can also choose to write down 3 good things that have happened that day. We know that the more we notice positive feelings, the more we notice. There is an upward spiral that boost our wellness. The importance of building wellness is that this is one of our greatest buffers to life’s inevitable challenges. We cannot avoid the ups and downs, but we can learn to roll with what happens by learning about our responses and expanding our repertoire of choices.

Other useful questions
  • Why is it important to you to get better and improve your life?
  • How prepared and committed are you to do what you need to do to get better?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • Are you ready to start?
Pain Points

Here is a series of blogs written to help you understand your pain. They appear on the Understand Pain (UP) social enterprise page. I co-founded UP in 2015 with a patient so that we could study and deliver ways of helping people understand their pain and move on to live better, healthier lives.

Visit the Pain Points page here

Thought fuel
Some useful videos & links to help you deepen your understanding:

Richmond appearing on various podcasts >> Pain Talking (Understand Pain social enterprise website)

Dr Mick Thacker on Pain as a perception >>

Anil Seth TED Talk >> How your brain hallucinates your conscious reality or listen here 

Anil Seth TED podcast

Lisa Feldman Barrett TED Talk >> You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions. Your brain creates them

Andy Clark, a leading philosopher on predictive processing & consciousness ~ click here

Karl Friston on embodied cognition


Brene Brown on shame & vulnerability

Dr Kristin Neff on self-compassion >> practices


**You only need complete these if asked**

We will measure you success by the real results you achieve. There are also some validated tools that we can use.

Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia — This is a list of phrases which other patients have used to express how the view their condition. Please circle the number that best describes how you feel about each statement. Make a note of your score and email it to me: [email protected]

Short Form-36 >> please click link below, complete and email me your form (a photo is fine)


Pain Catastrophising Scale

What’s next?

The Pain Coach Programme (PCP) >> we work together to develop and grow your understanding of your pain in the context of your life, and expand your repertoire of practices, exercises and coping skills as you progress towards your picture of success. Many of these skills you will take forward and be able to apply to other areas of your life to achieve results.

Based on the science and art of performance, pain and coaching, the PCP focuses upon the real results you want to achieve and how to get there. Read more here.



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