Course Description

Learn how to successfully diagnose and treat chronic functional syndromes, medically unexplained symptoms and the psychosocial factors in chronic pain (collectively known as Psychophysiologic Disorders or PPD). This trauma-informed approach can transform these patients from among the most frustrating to the most rewarding and help them have a far better chance at a full recovery.

  • Assess for current stresses, limitations in self-care skills, the long-term impact of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) and somatic presentations of Depression, PTSD and Anxiety

  • Develop empathy skills that enable understanding of issues that patients struggle to articulate

  • Apply treatment measures that meet the specific needs of each patient

These concepts are based on published research and detailed interviews with over 7000 patients suffering from PPD. The course was developed through 30+ years of presentations to physicians, mental health professionals, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, behavioral health consultants and psychology graduate students throughout North America and Europe. While the course is designed for health professionals, jargon is minimized so patients will also find this material very helpful toward their recovery.

Instructors

Learn from an expert clinician and a patient advocate

David Clarke, MD

President & Co-Founder

David Clarke, MD

Dr. Clarke is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology Emeritus and Assistant Director at the Center for Ethics at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) where he teaches PPD to Internal Medicine Residents. He is a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University and at the Cummings Graduate Institute (both in Arizona) where he teaches candidates for the Doctor of Behavioral Health degree. He is a Clinical Lecturer in the Physician Assistant school at Pacific University in Oregon. Dr. Clarke is board-certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine and practiced Gastroenterology in Portland, Oregon from 1984 to 2009. During that time he diagnosed and treated over 7000 PPD patients. His book for patients with PPD, They Can’t Find Anything Wrong!, was praised as "truly remarkable" by a past president of the American Psychosomatic Society and described as "wonderful" by the founder of the Gastroenterology Dept at Yale University. (All royalties are donated to the PPDA.) He has received numerous awards for patient care and is a member of the American Psychosomatic Society, the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association where he co-Chairs the Special Interest Group on Medically Unexplained Symptoms. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane, Australia and at Oxford University in England. He was also the Ethics Director for his medical group from 2005-2008. Dr. Clarke lectures on PPD frequently throughout North America and Europe and he has appeared on over 100 TV and radio broadcasts. His website is StressIllness.com.
Jessica Shahinian

Executive Director

Jessica Shahinian

Jessica is a passionate patient advocate and creator of GotPainCure, an educational web series on mindbody disorders (PPD). She overcame years of mindbody symptoms that threatened to end not only her dance career but also her life. She’s a real-life example of how effective the PPDA’s approach is in curing chronic symptoms, and her personal recovery story fuels her passion for helping others recover around the world. Her GotPainCure videos have been viewed in 33 countries by health professionals and the public, and is used as a recovery resource for PPD patients. She continues to study various continued education courses, including medical neuroscience and health care innovation, in order to grow her knowledge and skillsets and increase the impact of her work. She is based in New York City.

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Learn the evidence-based, safe, affordable and effective treatment for chronic pain and medically unexplained symptoms that you didn't learn in medical school

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About the PPDA

Health Education Nonprofit

About the PPDA

The Psychophysiologic Disorders Association is a 501(c)(3) health education nonprofit with a mission to end the chronic pain epidemic and opioid crisis. By advancing the diagnosis and treatment of stress-induced medical conditions suffered by millions worldwide, their work provides a new approach to relieve or even CURE chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, irritable bowel, chronic fatigue, pelvic pain and much more. Their evidence-based treatment approach is demonstrably safer, more affordable and more effective than traditional methods or alternative medicine. Aside from supporting clinical pain and neuroscience research, the PPDA educates health professionals and the public about the mind-body connection and the brain's powerful ability to generate real physical symptoms. In doing so, they increase the number of professionals around the world who can skillfully diagnose and treat chronic pain and medically unexplained symptoms, and they provide many resources to patients to recover without opioids. These resources can be found on their website: PPDAssociation.org

What is PPD & how do you treat it?

Psychophysiologic Disorders consist of pain and other symptoms not caused by organ disease or structural abnormalities. Instead, they are caused by neural circuits in the brain that activate the fight or flight response to create painful sensations that are very real. People with high levels of current and past life stress are more likely to develop this but it is through no fault of their own. Most people have experienced a psychophysiologic response when their face turns red with embarrassment or they feel a 'knot' in their abdomen in a tense situation. When this normal reaction becomes strong enough it can cause pain or other symptoms that can be as severe and long-lasting as any other form of illness. Treatment is usually successful and consists of education about how symptoms originate in the brain, reducing fear about the body being damaged, gradually increasing activity that has been avoided, increasing awareness of emotions linked to past or present stresses or traumas and improving communication skills with key people in their lives who are responsible for conflicts.