Ground Rules for Q&A Sessions


11:50 to noon - Informal discussion / catching up
12:00 to 12:05 - Relaxation exercise
12:05 to 12:15 -  Didactic session / sharing successes and challenges
12:15 to 12:30 -  Open discussion and questions
12:30 to 12:50 - Small group discussion - discussion will be based on that day's topic or what may have been brought up in the sharing session.
12:50 to 1:00 -   Closing discussion

We will stop the didactic session promptly between 12:15 and 12:20.  Please email me at with questions you'd like addressed or if you would like to share some insights.  You don't have to be pain free to share.  Small victories are the key to all of this.  We would like to find out what approaches you have found useful.  

Rules of Engagement


The Q&A format is a powerful force in creating change. Much of the effect is simply spending time with other people. Human connection is essential for health and that being socially isolated has a detrimental impact on your health. The effects are estimated to be equivalent to smoking 3/4 of a pack of cigarettes per day.  

One of the core principles of The DOC Journey is the stimulation of new circuits in your brain that bypass those associated with pain. Since your brain will develop wherever you place your attention, it is important to NEVER discuss your pain with ANYONE except your medical providers. So, the cardinal rule of participating in this group is to never discuss your pain or medical care – even if asked.

Here are some other requests:
  • Ask yourself how you might support others on the Q&A.  Please be mindful that each person in the small group breakouts of 3-4 has a chance to share.

  • Your mood has a mirror neuron effect on others.  The term is called "co-regulation." Corresponding neurons in other people's brains are directly stimulated.  If you are upset for any reason before the session, consider using some of your tools to calm down such as: 1) slow breathing, 2) humming, 3) active meditation, 4) expressive writing, 5) awareness, 6) taking a walk outside.  If you are still agitated, that is fine but please consider just listening and relax.  You can be clear that you are in that state of mind.

  • Although your participation with comments and questions is welcomed, please don't feel obligated.  We want you to feel comfortable with the group.

  • The sessions are intended to deepen your skills and answer questions.  Reading my book, Back in Control: A Surgeon's Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain will provide a framework for better understanding of the nature of chronic pain.
  • At no point, in any of the sessions with any facilitator will medical advice be given or implied.  These are strictly educational, sharing, and coaching groups.  Your medical care is between you and your providers.

In line with the above concepts, please honor these additional requests.

Do not discuss or give your opinion on:
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Current events

Don't complain - about anything.  If you are having a problem with any aspect of the process, please contact us directly.

Feel free to share your insights, but don't give specific advice.

If a given person persists in discussing these topics or is agitated, please gently ask them to stop or calm down.  Feel free to leave the breakout session and relax.

I do eventually find out if a given person persists on not following these guidelines and I occasionally have to ask them to not participate in the sessions until they are able to thoughtfully and respectively engage.  We also understand that when you have been in pain for so long, these patterns are deep.  Breaking up and reprogramming them is one of the intentions of The DOC Journey.

We are looking forward to spending some time with you.