Christmas in the Park

This tree was decorated by graduates of the Functional Restoration Program (FRP) at the Bay Area Pain and Wellness Center. These graduates are injured workers who participated in a six week outpatient program at our clinic.

The Functional Restoration Program is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to managing pain. The FRP is an intensive group process of education and cognitive behavioral therapy, combined with exercise, functional activities, and medication optimization. The goal of this program is to have participants obtain increased levels of emotional health and physical wellbeing. The FRP teaches techniques to educate patients to independently managing their pain and return to a productive and satisfying life.

During these six weeks, program participants participate in group art therapy as part of their treatment. This process is highly effective in helping our participants have a creative outlet for the pain and despair. It bridges gaps in communication and give insight to past and present experiences. Often art therapy fosters increased insight and self-expression when words are not enough.

After graduating from the program participants often realize the therapeutic value that art making has in their life. Program participants are encouraged to participate in open studio, and other graduate program activities. Christmas in the Park is one of the events we sponsor to get graduates together for the holidays.

This years tree theme is “Hopeful Hearts.” It represents the hope for good health, and hope for the future.

This year we participated because we saw the benefits of bringing graduates together for a social activity of creating ornaments as a way to distract themselves from pain. It is also an opportunity for the patients to stay connected to the clinic. Graduates new and old come together and share their experiences through the program while being creative. Many people who suffer from chronic pain have the tendency to isolate. Getting involved in making ornaments and decorating the tree allows an opportunity for graduates to socialize and meet others who have chronic pain. It creates a sense of support and community.

This is the second year that we have participated in Christmas in the Park. Last year we decorated a tree with the theme, “Tree of Transformation.” It had a blue theme with white butterflies. With presents around the tree that said “Joy”, “Hope” and “Health”. This tree represented the mental and physical transformation that patients made during the program.