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Psychological Therapy

Psychological Counseling is available if a client is having difficulty dealing with problems related to a work injury. These issues might include financial hardship, loss of independence, pain, domestic challenges, etc. In short-term counseling, a licensed psychologist will help the client understand and cope with these difficulties in either a private or group setting.

The pain management program at The Donley Center is based upon a behavioral approach. The goal is to learn effective coping strategies and behavioral skills to function safely, given objective medical findings, and to reduce the distress associated with having a pain problem. In this context, pain management does not mean pain relief. Therapy may entail a variety of strategies including

> Pain Management Workshop
> Stress Management Workshop

A brief description of each workshop follows, along with information on dates and times of workshops, as well as how to register. Also, see our pamphlet about these services.

Please call the Donley Center at (401) 243-1200 with any questions you may have regarding these Workshops. Explore the links to a number of other relevant websites that share our focus on rehabilitation health.


Pain Management Workshop
Joanne Fowler, PhD

Ways of undertaking chores, tasks, and activities that may have worked well prior to a work injury may not be as effective when challenged by the experience of pain. For example, maybe one is accustomed to doing a task to completion. Now when attempting to complete washing the dishes, mowing or raking the lawn, or vacuuming the house, the injured person may find that they end up suffering from pain for days and cannot undertake any tasks. Patients suffering from pain may be in a vicious cycle of overexerting themselves and then paying the price with days of incapacity.

  Man with a headache

The skills and techniques learned in this workshop will help break this vicious cycle. A person recovering from injury can become more active and involved in their life again by reducing pain and the distress of having a pain problem.

The Donley Center staff psychologists have strategies that are effective in helping an injured worker manage their pain. It is possible to train one's system not to feel the pain as much as when beginning to recover from injury. This will provide the freedom to be more functional despite the experience of pain.

This workshop will enable an understanding of what chronic pain is. More importantly, it will help one learn how to undertake tasks in a way that will not aggravate one's pain experience. In addition, the patient will learn strategies that studies have shown will reduce the pain experience, such as relaxation techniques.

What each individual does about their pain may be as helpful as anything that is done to or for them. The patient is truly part of their own solution. By participating in this workshop, a client can get more out of their ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation program.

This workshop is offered as two sessions of 1½ hours each on Mondays from 11:30 am to 1 pm. The workshop is also offered in Spanish and will be separately scheduled. Patients should contact their Patient Care Coordinator/Case Manager to sign up.


Stress Management Workshop
Joanne Fowler, PhD

Injured workers face a significant amount of stress, including financial problems, frustration over the inability to undertake activities the same as before the injury, and changes in relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. Unmanaged stress can lead to feelings of tension, anxiety, and depression. When feeling emotionally distressed, a person's physical muscles tense up. In turn, one then feels an increase in their experience of pain. Increased pain leads to decreased capacity to do things, which then causes increased distress.


Woman showing signs of stress

The Stress Management Workshop aims to help a client break this cycle by changing their reactions to stress, so that they:

  • Feel more relaxed
  • Interact with others in more effective ways
  • Are better able to manage crisis situations including pain flare-ups
  • Are better able to deal with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, sadness

No one is able to entirely eliminate stress. However, managed stress makes people more productive and positive. If one fails to resolve the problem, they end up feeling distressed and unproductive.

Specifically, the goals of the workshop are to help clients use adaptive coping strategies such as:

  • Eliminating or modifying the source of stress through problem-solving
  • Changing one's attitude or view of a situation by trying to look at it in a new light
  • Changing one's physical reaction to a stressful situation by implementing a relaxation response

This workshop is offered as two sessions of 1½ hours each on Fridays from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Patients should contact their Patient Care Coordinator/Case Manager to sign up.


Anger Management Workshop
Joanne Fowler, PhD

An injury at work may contribute to one's feelings of anger or frustration. Maybe the injured person's co-workers are treating him/her differently due to their work injury. One may also be feeling frustrated and angry with oneself because of injury-induced limitations.

Surprisingly, anger is usually a healthy emotion. It is a natural, adaptive response to threats. A certain amount of anger is necessary for survival. It can be a signal to begin problem-solving.

  An angry woman

Anger is only an emotion. How one acts when feeling angry is a choice made. Anger can lead to problems when it gets out of control and turns destructive. Anger that leads to hostility, threats, and violence is not healthy.

One cannot entirely get rid of or always avoid the things or people that cause anger, and one cannot change other people or things. However, one can learn to change one's reactions to them. Dealing effectively with anger helps increase one's sense of personal power and freedom.

The goal of the Anger Management Workshop is to help the participant:

  • Understand the effects of anger
  • Identify anger triggers
  • Learn strategies to deal with anger

This workshop is offered as two sessions of 1½ hours each on Tuesdays from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Patients should contact their Patient Care Coordinator/Case Manager to sign up.

RI Department of Labor and Training
Dr. John E. Donley Rehabilitation Center
249 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI 02906

Phone: (401) 243-1200
Fax (401) 222-3887
TTY via RI Relay: 711
5/16/17 MDF
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  DLT is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services available upon request