Pathways to Pain Relief ® Practitioner Training Program
Philadelphia, PA

Class Dates 2014: Sept 20, Oct 18, Dec 6
Class Dates 2015: Jan 24, Feb 7, Mar 7, and April 11
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Dr. Frances Sommer Anderson and Dr. Eric Sherman are offering a training program in the treatment of TMS/PPD (Tension Myoneural Syndrome/Psychophysiologic Disorder), based upon their book, Pathways to Pain Relief. The program will address the growing need faced by both medical and mental health professionals to find instruction in the fundamentals of treating TMS/PPD pain, provided in an integrated curriculum. Previously, training has often by necessity resulted in a loose and informal patchwork of self-directed study and peer support groups, and continuing education in the form of conference attendance. As the general public becomes more aware of TMS/PPD, patients with more complex presentations will seek treatment, creating a need for practitioners who have been trained systematically to meet the unique clinical challenges presented by such individuals.

The Pathways to Pain Relief® training includes experientially-based learning, didactic material and individual case consultations based upon the instructors' book, Pathways to Pain Relief (2013). Anderson and Sherman, each with more than 30 years of experience treating TMS/PPD pain, worked closely with John E. Sarno, MD at Rusk Institute-NYU Langone Medical Center until his retirement from private practice in April 2012. Dr. Sarno pioneered the idea that pain symptomatology can be a mindbody disorder, rather than a sign of structural abnormalities or physical damage from injury, disease, or aging.

The Pathways to Pain Relief® training program for the 2014-2015 academic year will consist of seven 4-hour classes on selected Saturday afternoons, hosted by the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis (PSP). The training, which offers a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic perspective on treatment, will be open to participants affiliated with PSP (with completed master's or doctoral degrees) and all other mental health clinicians who are currently licensed in their professional discipline. This training is not recommended for individuals who are not familiar with basic psychoanalytic theory and principles of treatment. Classes are held at PSP's instructional space located at 340 South 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.


Dr. Anderson will teach the first three classes. Using Experiencing the Pain Matrix®, her experiential teaching process, participants will learn about the complex subjective experience of "pain," which is comprised of sensations, emotions, and cognitions/beliefs. The significant impact of early experiences of being in physical pain will be explored through silent guided meditation exercises. Discussion following these exercises will integrate contemporary research on the neurobiology of pain, elucidating the concept of "learned neural pathways."

  • Dr. Sherman's component will be the following classes:

    1. Definition and description of TMS/PPD; distinguishing TMS/PPD from malingering, hypochondriasis, and other conditions; why TMS/PPD expertise is a unique and critical subspecialty; TMS/PPD personality and psychodynamics.

    2. Different presentations of TMS/PPD; technical/ treatment considerations based upon personality characteristics and psychodynamics.

    3. Common clinical pitfalls: Use of pain medication, participation in adjunctive treatments, contacts with physicians, use of psychoactive medications, recurrent pain, worsening pain, no improvement, extreme somatic preoccupation, unsupportive network, patients who should not be treated.

  • The seventh class, taught by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Sherman, will provide an opportunity for participants to integrate the material they have studied.

    Participation in the class through discussion of didactic and clinical material is encouraged. Brief written assignments may be required. A list of readings will be provided.

    Consultation Requirement:

    Each participant is required to schedule two individual case consultations, one each with Dr. Anderson and Dr. Sherman. These consultations can either take place by telephone with Dr. Sherman, by telephone/Skype/FaceTime with Dr. Anderson, or in Dr. Anderson's and Dr. Sherman's private offices in New York City.

    CE Credits:

    Continuing education (CE) credits for participation in this training program are available through PSP's relationship with the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and a total of 26.5 clock hours will be granted for completion of the program. The fee for processing CE credits is $10 and is paid directly to PSP. Please check with your licensing body to ensure that NBCC CEs are accepted for your education requirements.

    Certificate of Completion:

    Upon completion of the training program requirements - seven classes and two individual case consultations - a certificate of completion will be awarded by Drs. Anderson and Sherman. The certificate of completion will be awarded only to those participants who have attended all classes and have completed all course requirements. The Pathways to Pain Relief® training is solely the responsibility of Anderson and Sherman and is separate and distinct from PSP's training program.


    Tuition for PSP candidates is $725; tuition for all other members of the PSP Community (faculty, graduates, etc.) will be $825. Tuition for participants unaffiliated with the PSP Community will be $925.

    The fee for individual case consultations is $100/session for all members of the PSP Community (candidates, faculty, graduates, etc.). For those participants unaffiliated with the PSP Community, the fee will be $125/session.

    Fees for processing CE credits are $10 and are paid to PSP directly.

    The policy for withdrawing from class and refunds are as follows:

    • Withdrawal prior to first class: 80%

    • Withdrawal after first class: 75%

    • Withdrawal after second class: 50%

    • Withdrawal after third class: No refund


    Contact Nicole M. Seitz, LPC for details relating to registration. She can be reached at (267) 971-5729 or Credit card payments will be accepted through an on-line registration process for tuition. Fees for consultation appointments will be paid directly to Drs. Sherman and Anderson at the time of the appointment.