Dr. Melissa Farmer will share her thoughts on the role of learning and brain plasticity in establishing—and ultimately treating—the emotional memories that underlie chronic pain. As a form of emotional memory, chronic pain is perpetuated by counterintuitive physiological rules that distort how an individual perceives and interacts with the environment. Every individual creates a different “pain logic” to make sense of these experiences, and uncovering this logic is key in challenging these pain memories. Dr. Farmer will discuss the relationship between pain perception and the quirky mechanisms that establish chronic pain, how this learned association can drive maladaptive behaviors and beliefs, and how the controlled, therapeutic manipulation of emotional memory may potentially alleviate chronic pain.
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